Tapping the not-so-crowded home furnishing segment, Portico has placed itself well in the Indian market. Chandan Savera, Senior General Manager (Retail and Marketing), Creative Portico speaks about his company and its future plans.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Tell me about the origin of Creative Portico.
Chandan Savera (CS): Portico New York, a brand by Creative Portico (India) Pvt. Ltd is a leader in premium bed and bath category in India. Portico New York was launched in April 2004 to address a latent demand in the home textile market, which marketers had not creatively represented. Portico is growing rapidly for last five years and is known and valued for its design and product innovations.
RK: What inspired Creative Portico to take the franchise route? What difference have you noticed in the performance of the company after it opted for franchising?
CS: We spent years in understanding our consumers and their demands. Keeping in mind their needs and demands, we have been offering them innovative design solutions. After succeeding in catering our consumers profitably, we looked forward to transfer our expertise to our channel partners. And this is how we started franchising our brand and business.
RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced in Creative Portico?
CS: Portico New York has been a fashion leader and driven by passion for innovation.
We believe in keeping ourselves up to date thereby offering the latest trendy merchandise to our customers.
Bed linen is a category that needs a lot of selling inputs from the sales staff for which product knowledge is paramount. Therefore, we have invested our time and effort in building one of the best teams of merchandisers and front-end sales team. We have even institutionalised staff training as a practice at various levels of franchise operations.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of your company?
CS: The franchise opportunity for Portico is low on investment and high on returns. We expect our franchisees to have a minimum of 400-600 sq. ft of retail carpet area, preferably on the ground floor with a minimum of 15 feet store frontage. S/he should be capable of investing Rs 15-20 lakh along with other expenses Apart from these basic requirements, we want an active participation of our franchisees to deliver the best to our customers.
RK: How many franchisees do you have and in which all cities?
CS: Portico New York has recently opened its standalone retail stores through the franchise route. Presently, we have a single franchised store at Linking Road, Bandra, Mumbai but we are planning to open more franchised stores this year.
RK: What support do you provide to your franchisees?
CS: We provide our franchisees and their sales team with the best training modules on regular intervals to maintain the benchmark standard of our company. It helps us and our franchisees in attract and retain the customers thereby generating profits.
RK: Have you faced any challenges during the initial phases of business establishment? If yes, what were they? How one can overcome those challenges?
CS: During the initial period of our business, we faced a lot challenges as people were not interested in buying a bed sheet worth Rs 800. So, we worked hard to create awareness among consumers and we did it by offering them with latest designs and superior quality products.
RK: Any advice for the young entrepreneurs?
CS: An aspiring entrepreneur should take extra care for establishing revenue model for their venture before plunging in a franchising business. S/he should be well prepared of the fact that a new venture takes its own time to pick up. Most of the ventures fail because of lack of working capital. If they are able to survive a little longer, only then they can succeed.
RK: What are the company’s future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
CS: We intend to open 10 franchise stores in the next financial year.