Business services Oct, 31 2011

Polished profits with shoe laundry

Conceptualised on the popular saying of Man’s personality is reflected by the shoes he wear, is the unique business opportunity of shoe laundry. Realising the significance and need for organised shoe cleaning and maintenance brand is ‘The Shoe Laundry

By Neha Gohil
Feature Writer
Polished profits with shoe laundry

Till a few years back only roadside cobblers were available to mend shoes and make them wearable once they got old. These road side cobblers can repair a broken pair of shoe but cannot make it as good as new. There were no services available to clean expensive and commonly used sports shoes and sneakers which were old and dirty. Moreover such expensive shoes require more care and special services for giving them a long life. Keeping this in mind, organised players are coming in this field taking the franchise route for expansion. These players are known for providing all shoe services under one roof. The article would show the potential and need of organised shoe services in the Indian markets in years to come.

Inspiring factors

The concept of shoe laundry is quire recent. This unique concept was started with the need for hygiene in shoes and obvious lack of a specialised footwear laundry, repair and refurbishing services. People have become more aware of wearing good and branded shoes, which are quite highly priced. Spending so much on footwear has also made people wish for a long life of their shoes. This has given organised shoe players an insight to the mode of business. The major factors responsible for the growing popularity of the unique concept of shoe laundry are:

Hygiene in shoes: Cleanliness is an essential thing in terms of clothes and shoes. Sandeep Gajakas, Founder and Owner, The Shoe Laundry shares: “The Shoe Laundry, has and always will be a service that enables our customers to lead a clean and hygienic lifestyle and allow them to use a pair of shoes for the full life that it is meant to last. We don’t and will never advice people to keep using a pair beyond the point they are comfortable and healthy. Several of our customers wear shoes for health reasons and we are extremely mindful of our responsibility towards their personal well being”

Lack of specialised service: Indian market always lacked the specialised service for shoes. Expensive shoes like sneaker and sports shoes require special service which was not available in the country. The only thing available was roadside cobbler who can only repair it with primitive tools and methods. A specialised service was required badly to fulfill the requisites of people from repairing to cleaning.

Lifestyle and convenience: In the fast moving world people don’t have time to go to a cobbler and to clean there shoes themselves. Gajakas shares, “The height of convenience that was bought about by The Shoe Laundry. One phone call or a message and your foot wear are collected from your home and even before you realise they have been collected, they are back looking as good as they possibly can, with all the repairs attended to and that too at a nominal price.”

Emergence of organised players

Till date the only organised player in the industry in India is The Shoe Laundry, established in 2003 in Mumbai, by Sandeep Gajakas. Regarding the conception of the brand Gajakas shares: “The service was born out as I always wanted to do something different that nobody had done earlier and the realisation that I was extremely good with my hands, with tools and was great at solving all sorts of problems. So I came out with this unique concept.” People have realised the importance of shoe laundry and have absorbed the new service very well. Gajakas tells, “Even though it was a new and unique service when started, the masses immediately realised that it was an essential and necessary service that ought to be available in a footwear wearing culture. People thank us for starting this service.”

The brand presently has one franchise outlet in Bhutan and one in Mumbai and soon will be opening in Surat. Low cost investment is required from the franchisee.

Unique franchise opportunity

The Shoe laundry is a unique business concept which is in its nascent stage and has lots of hidden potential. It is a low-cost and high return business opportunity with added franchise value for many aspiring entrepreneurs. Gajakas shares, “Franchising is the best possible way for the successful expansion of our brand. To convert this service into a viable and profitable franchise model, we have invested considerable amount of time and efforts in fine tuning all the process to make it cost effective, efficient, and franchiseable system.”

Guidance for a franchisee

Before stepping into a profession everyone requires training and basic knowledge of the concept. while explaining about the training programme Gajakas says, “We will enable our partners to achieve the same quality by providing them full range of knowledge, training, inventory and support. The franchisee gets business of a service with a potential of limitless demand, a systematic franchising program, personalised training for its staff, an exclusive territory to operate. We provide our partners an easily scalable business with great profit margins for early break even and profitability.”

Requisites for franchisees

Shoe laundry can interest those who always wanted to do something out of the box. People who always wanted to start something different and would like to introduce and provide such a unique service. Gajakas said: “Our franchise model is not based on the philosophy that, we need to make a partner to commit huge investments to lock him into a business venture and contractually bind him to do all the sourcing through us. Rather we look to keep the business simple, easy to operate, and profitable.”

Why shoe laundry franchise?

Being a unique concept shoe laundry is a promising business opportunity. Gajakas shares, “The Shoe Laundry is one of the most unique service and business today. Due to the overwhelming demand for our franchise across India, we have developed one of the best franchise opportunities available anywhere today. Low start-up investment compared to other businesses with similar returns.”

After discussing all the inspiring factors about the exclusive business concept of shoe laundry it is very well predicted that the business has a promising future for aspirants. It just needs some more organised brands to join the race.

Related: Profitable prospects overseas

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