Beauty lies in the hands of biz holder
What prompted you to adopt franchise business model for expansion?
Having started company owned and operated outlets in 1989, we started franchising of our beauty & wellness centres relatively late, in 2007. The franchising of our VLCC Institutes for Beauty & Nutrition started a couple of years later. The move into franchising was driven by the realisation that there was a latent demand for quality beauty & wellness services in tier- II and III cities, but growth has been limited owing to a limited presence of established and organised brands. With the digital and print media boom, the awareness levels today are high in these cities, which not just wants the best service, but also product and service offerings which are at par with larger cities. We chose the franchise model to partner with local people who understood the consumers from that region.
Share with us the current market trends of your industry.
The beauty and wellness industry in India for product and services jointly estimated at Rs 1,200-1,300 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 according to a Frost & Sullivan report. The industry in India has been on a growth trajectory, growing at a CAGR of 18-20% in the past three to five years and according to a KPMG-NSDC report, is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18.6% over the next few years. There is an increasing focus on preventive healthcare for physical and emotional wellbeing given the rise of lifestyle related diseases. Resilience in consumer spending on wellness products and services is a reflection of increasing consumer awareness and acceptance of wellness as an integral part of one’s lifestyle. Expansion into tier- II and III cities has also been the key growth drivers for the industry.
Is there any selection criterion for the potential franchisee? Do you seek partners with prior experience?
As one of the leading brands in the wellness industry, we follow astringent selection processfor appointing ourfranchisees. Just like hiring an employee, franchisee has to go through multiple interactions and discussions before we sign the franchise agreement. We also do a detailed background and reference check. We believe that the success of a service business lies in leadership and demonstrating excellent people skills. So as a leader a franchisee is expected to lead from front. While a growth-oriented attitude is important, we do not encourage people who look at this as merely an investment, but those who are passionate about the industry and about making a difference in people’s lives. Also, we have witnessed that efficiency and results are better where owners are running the franchisee units themselves.
How is training and support important for a franchise brand to grow?
As part of the service industry which thrives on knowledge and training, VLCC provides both pre-operational and operational support to enhance and measure its franchisee’s performance. We regularly upgrade and train franchisee staff to uplift and maintain their service delivery standards. We also provide marketing support to our franchisee, whether digital or print.
What are your growth plans?
At VLCC we have very aggressive growth plans. We are entering tier- II and III towns where the real estate cost is low and youth aspiration is high, in order to give best returns to our franchise. We are also targeting countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as GCC and Africa, where obesity is posing to be a health crisis. VLCC is committed to raising awareness about this epidemic and offer solutions through our weight management solutions. We are actively seeking franchise partners in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda and Ghana for our wellness centres and vocational education institutes. We would like to associate with entrepreneurs from business backgrounds and SMEs.
Master franchisees: 1
Unit franchisees: 60
Multi-unit franchisees: 6