With the vision to create a profitable retail endeavour, Monica Laliwala, MD, Xsis Promotions India Pvt. Ltd started her commercial journey in 1993 by taking the franchise of Benetton. Now she is successfully handling five leading international retail brands in India. In an interview, she shares the success of her company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): How does it feel to own an outlet of your own?
Monica Laliwala (ML): It feels good to own a company that supports major international brands like adidas Performance, adidas Originals, Levi’s, Levi’s Signature, Crossword and few more. More than an outlet, it is something we are very proud of as we have created it for the first time in the organised retail market in India. The feeling is more like an achievement.
RK: Do you believe that taking a franchise is a better option than starting a business independently?
ML: Yes, to a great extent. However, there are two aspects of starting a business. First, is through franchising, which is an excellent mode of starting a business especially in terms of the organised output and investment. Moreover, the entrepreneurship skills required for the same could be minimal and a franchisee needs to have a lot of discipline. However, starting a business on your own involves great risks as one is risking everything that s/he has in the process of the business establishment.
RK: When did you enter the business of franchising? What inspired you to be a franchisee for international brands?
ML: We entered in the business of franchising in the year 1993. We started it by taking the franchise of Benetton in India. We set up our first store in Ahmedabad. Our love and preference for Benetton clothes has inspired us to start a Benetton store in Ahmedabad as there was no Benetton store at that time. But we have not recognised that it would be our first foray to organised retail, but taking the franchise of Benetton has helped us a lot. Through this, we have developed the expertise of standalone brand management and learned all the aspects of brand retailing. In 2003, we took over as a shop management agent for two adidas stores in Bengaluru and became their franchise partners in 2005. Simultaneously, we have also worked with Pepe Jeans and Spykar Jeans and are currently the retail franchising partner for Levi’s Signature and Levi’s.
RK: What initiatives and practices have you introduced in your franchised outlet?
ML: We initiated a huge amount of discipline in terms of forecasting and bringing in the right merchandise for every particular store that we have. We have brought in the variance of the stock depending upon the local needs.
RK: What kind of support and services does the franchisor provide you to run the franchise efficiently?
ML: We have a company called Xsis Promotions India Pvt. Ltd and we operate under four verticals. These four verticals are:
The franchising vertical has four brands under it. The second vertical is owned stores. It is the SPORTXS that we have launched recently. It is our own brand and our own concept. For this brand, we buy merchandise from various suppliers. The third vertical is licensing vertical where we are the licensee for an international brand. The fourth vertical is shop management agency, under which we used to handle few numbers of brands earlier. But presently we are working under three verticals only.
RK: What are your future plans?
ML: Our future plan is to take our own brand SportsXS ahead. We think that SPORTXS as a format is having an extremely good potential. Currently we are carrying 5, 000 SKUs (Stock keeping units) across 38 brands. We want to make it the largest organised retail destination for sports gear in India. We are very keen to take it forward and we are looking for right business partners to create location catering to customers’ delight.
RK: Any advice for the aspiring entrepreneur?
ML: As an aspirant, you have to be very careful and informed as investing money into a business is a risky affair. Therefore, you need to consult and discuss the opportunity with few experienced and trust worthy people. Besides, you need to have at least some experience in the similar field, which will help you in to understand better the business concept and its smooth operations.