Mr Vikas Gutgutia, MD, Ferns N petals in a tête-à-tête with Neha Malhotra talks about his company, its franchise journey and future.
Neha Malhotra (NM): Tell us about the origin, growth and success of FNP as a brand? When, where and how did it originate?
Vikas Gutgutia (VG): FNP originated in 1994 as a single outlet in Delhi, and today it has 95 outlets pan India. FNP is the biggest floral retail chain in India. Ferns N petals has also established itself as a successful online retail service provider also.
NM: When and how did the company decide to opt for franchising? What is the eligibility criterion to be an FNP franchisee?
VG: The company decided to opt for franchising in 2001. A proper franchise structure was made by the company to support its franchisees, which has proved to be a major success and today FNP has approx. 82 franchise outlets present in A, B, and C class cities.
To choose its franchisee Ferns N Petals looks out for the people who want to take up the business as a full time work as there is lot of manpower required to run this business as the product is highly perishable. Apart from this a franchisee should have a monetary back up to maintain the standard of the shop in the initial days, as any business needs time to take of.
NM: How many outlets do you have at present and how many of these are franchised?
VG: We have approx. 95 outlets through out India among which 82 are franchisees and only 13 are company owned.
NM: What all training and support do you provide to the franchisees?
VG: Training is provided to the franchisee to handle clients, training is provided to karigars to make designer floral arrangements, floral jewellery, elegant car decor and thematic wedding decors.
We also support our franchisee by forwarding them orders which the company receives through its online retail service.
NM: What difference you have noticed in the performance of the brand after the company opted for franchising?
VG: There is a humungous growth in the company which can be seen after having so many franchisees. The franchisees are the face of the company and with the growth in franchise outlets FNP has become India's leading flower retail chain. Now the brand has reached the masses and so is popular and for any requirement of flowers people think of Ferns N Petals.
NM: How much investment is required by an aspiring franchisee in terms of money, time, and dedication?
VG: In terms of money a franchisee needs to invest Rs 7lakhs to open a new franchise outlet excluding the cost of the property. In this amount Rs 2 lakh is the non-refundable fee which is paid to the company as the royalty. Rest is used for the interior decor and to procure the raw material for sale.
NM: What is the break even period for an FNP franchisee?
VG: A franchisee may attain break even in six months.
NM: Have you noticed any change in the performance of the brand as a result of the downturn?
VG: No, the downturn did not affect FNP rather the company has witnessed growth during this period as people have turned towards buying flowers than expensive gifts to express their emotions.
NM: What are the company’s future plans in terms of expansion through franchising or through company owned outlets?
VG: The company has plans to expand massively through the franchise outlets and become a neighbourhood brand for the need of flowers and gifts for Indians.