Liberty Shoes, a fashionable brand that makes the shopping experience delightful for its consumers by offering a product range that caters to every wish list. In an interview, Anupam Bansal, Director, Liberty Shoes Ltd shares the success journey of his company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Kindly elaborate on the inception of Liberty Shoes Ltd?
Anupam Bansal (AB): It all began a little over 50 years ago in the city of Karnal, Haryana with the emphasis on delivering ‘great products at great prices’. Today it is amongst the ‘World’s top five manufacturers of leather footwear’ with a presence in more than 25 countries including France, Italy, Germany, Finland, UK, USA, Canada, Austria, Czech Rep, Austria, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Qatar and Bangladesh providing the best of quality at the most competitive price. We are known for our wide range of products that are amongst the largest in the industry comprising 10 distinctive sub-brands such as Senorita, Gliders, Tiptop, Coolers, Windsor, Force 10, Footfun, Prefect, and Warrior professional gear.
RK: What inspired the company to take up franchising for the expansion of the brand?
AB: We have started franchising in the year 1990 in order to reach out to our target consumer base and also to offer a fruitful franchise opportunity to the aspiring entrepreneurs, we opted for the franchise route. At present, 65 per cent of our business comes from our franchised outlets.
RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced at Liberty Shoes?
AB: We have taken the initiative to create a retail team for Liberty Shoes. We foresaw that the retailers needed to take a quantum leap forward if footwear shopping was to be turned into a rewarding experience. Re-christening them as channel partners, we have worked towards establishing a very interactive relationship through periodic channel partners meet that gives a big boost to our sales and benefits our partners as well.
We also ensure that the relationship with the partners extends beyond conventional business dealings. We have achieved this by making them all feel like members of a close-knit family who is working together, evolving together and prospering together.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees for your company?
AB: We are looking at aspirants who are willing to invest Rs 15 lakh for stock, Rs 15 lakh for furniture coupled with a franchise fee of Rs two lakh. Besides this, an aspiring franchisee needs to have an area of 600 sq. ft and above in the main market of the city to launch the franchise outlet.
RK: How many franchisees does the company presently have?
AB: Presently, we are operating through 181 franchised outlets and 95 company owned outlets under our four formats, which are Liberty Revolutions (nine), Liberty Exclusive (243), Liberty Factory Outlets (one), and Liberty Shop in Shops (nine).
RK: What are the future plans of the company in terms of expansion through franchising?
AB: We are now expanding our national retail presence to the interiors of the country covering smaller cities and towns in a really big way and will be opening a retail outlet every week. We aim to take the count of our stores to 330 across the nation by December 2011.