Specialty retail Aug, 31 2011

Bouquet of franchise expertise

By Neha Prashar
Bouquet of franchise expertise

Pioneering the concept of flower retail franchising is Ferns N Petals. The brand has been consistently bringing in innovations to make more authentic and interesting flower gifting options. In an interview Pawan Gadia, CEO, Ferns N Petals, talks about the mammoth opportunities the business holds.

Neha Prashar (NP): What is the current scenario of flower retail franchising in India and what percentage of the industry is shared by organised and unorganised players?

Pawan Gadia (PG): Flower retail franchising is presently one of the unique and tremendously growing businesses in India. As per the estimates, the market value of the flower retail franchising industry is approximately 1,000 crore, which contributes only 20 per cent to the organised market. In India, flower gifting culture has been derived by the ‘Nukar Ki Flower Bouquet Ki Dukan’. Ferns N Petals are the pioneers in the industry and have given a new edge to the overall market. We have been clearly observing the market ever since we started off and have been consistently bringing in innovations to make more authentic and interesting flower gifting options for the customers.

NP: Share with us the origin, growth and success of Ferns n Petals? When and what inspired the company to take up franchise route for expansion?

PG: India’s first branded organised flower retail chain - Ferns N Petals tasted immense success in the commerce of perishable product, flower, as I had seen immense opportunities in the most challenging business of flowers, where others see problems.

Incepted with a small 200 sq.ft outlet in Delhi’s popular South Extension area in 1994, Ferns N Petals has now grown to more than 110 stores in the country and abroad, while following the franchise model of expansion. Being the pioneers of florist industry, Ferns N Petals came across infinite challenges in order to establish the trend out of the unorganised market of the most perishable product in India. Conceptualising the process of changing the mindsets from manufacturing to retailing was a challenge. However, we never faced the dilemma for Ferns N Petals growth and expansion, whereas there were various challenges we had successfully overcame and created a benchmark out of them for others to follow. Another prominent challenge was to give a new edge to the art of flowers in the country as there are no special training institutes available for florists. We at Ferns N Petals invited experts from various internationally located florist training institutes and created a platform for potential and aspiring Indian florists to flourish.

NP: The company presently has more than 110 stores pan India. What is the ratio of franchised and company owned stores?

PG: 20 per cent is company owned and rest is upgraded by franchise. However, FNP Tahilini is wholly operated by the company.

NP: What kind of investment is required by the franchisee to open Ferns N Petals franchised outlet in terms of money, area and time?

PG: Required Money: Rs 8 to 10 lakh depending on store size and location along with the franchise fee of Rs 300,000/- (one-time non-refundable fee)

Size of Property has to be 200 to 300 sq.ft of usable area. Ground floor of good quality building is preferred, minimum frontage 10 to 15 ft. Also it has to be located in the prime retail location of a city/town/colony, should have good visibility. Required cost of interiors is Rs 400-500 per sq. ft, with music system and AC, initial marketing and operating support.

NP: What is the eligibility criterion for selecting the right franchise partners? Is it essential to have a similar background?

PG: It’s not essential to have a similar background. However, franchisors have to be young, enthusiastic and intellectual minds that can actually understand and follow the protocol of operations, and obviously who can further drive the work force to understand and materialise the same. We expect franchisees to expand the horizon of brand while expanding the brand in terms of physical presence and also in terms of delivering the authorised brand value to its consumers. We want our franchisees to have good educational and a sound financial background. We look for young, professional, intelligent entrepreneurs with a good knowledge of the market that will help them to operate the business.

NP: What is the USP, expected ROI and the break even period of your brand?

PG: The USP is to offer exclusive variety of flowers brought in from myriad parts of the country and abroad and to deliver them to the customer’s doorsteps. Today Ferns N Petals is the largest florist in the country. While possessing the annual turnover of 100 crore, India’s fastest growing retail brand is growing at the CAGR of 30 per cent since past three years. Expected ROI is 30 to 35 percent.

NP: The company has announced the launch of an academy to train florists. Elaborate on the franchise concept of these academies?

PG: The idea behind the foundation of FNP Academy is to promote the art of floral designing for amongst different sets of consumers. The Academy is open for all whether it is an amateur, who would want to try it as a hobby or an aspiring professional who would want to take this up as a vocation or may be housewives, who would simply be interested in learning the art of flower designing and decoration.

Being the front runner in the space, we always aim on evolving the flower gifting and decoration culture in the country. Now, through FNP academy we would want to spread the culture vividly by training them on premium designing and creativity.

NP: Are you planning for overseas expansion?

PG: No

NP: Do you face competition from unorganised players in the industry?

PG: No, not at all. Ferns N Petals is altogether a premium product on its own. We do not see any competition to it. As I said organised flower retailing market is 20 per cent, which is wholly dominated by Ferns N Petals in the country.

Related: Storing success via Howards Storage World

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