Over the years, right from redefining the brand to completely transforming it into a life style brand, he did it all. The man behind Numero Uno denim wear, Narinder Singh, Founder and Managing Director, Numero Uno Clothing Ltd spoke at length to Ekta Sharma Verma about Numero Uno’s franchise network and what is he planning next for the brand.
What are the roots of your entrepreneurial voyage?
After my schooling from St. Columbus and graduation from Delhi University, the natural progression would have been to join my family business of exports. But I was very keen on starting my own venture. My own passion for denims had accelerated me further to procure the fabric from India's biggest manufacturing unit, Arvind Mills. I got it stitched in the form of denims and then displayed the first jeans at a shop in Palika Bazaar, New Delhi just to get the reaction of the buyers. The shopkeeper returned the jeans saying that I need to wash it to get that typical rugged look of denims.
There was lack of infrastructure in those days, so I used pumice stone to wash those to get the desired look and again hung it at the window to check the reaction of the onlookers. Consequently, I started getting enquiries about the denim and some dealers also landed up. They then suggested me to give my products a name, and thus Numero Uno was born. The brand has mushroomed into a complete lifestyle brand, but the denim still remains the core of the brand. Over the years there have been many denim brands that came and disappeared but Numero Uno not just survived the test of time but also gave tough competition to international players. We were quick enough to get on to the e-commerce space, which immediately gave us a pan-India presence.
When did you launch the brand?
I started off as a manufacturer of denims which gradually became a brand. It has been 27 years since I launched the brand.
Three skills for a successful franchise relationship.
For a franchisee to be successful it is important to understand the vision and goals of the brand they are associated with. Imbibe them and ensure you are doing same things as the brand.
Any stumbling blocks while building your franchise network.
The major stumbling block has been the sky rocketing rentals across cities, which results in longer gestation periods. This discourages most of the franchisees from investing in expensive properties. We are now exploring untapped markets in tier I, II and III cities and have built a good presence in such locations. Franchise development in a newer market calls for excessive spends on marketing in order to create brand awareness and recall. From our past experiences we have learnt that building franchise network in places where the brand is already established is more sustainable as compared to newer markets.
Your leadership mantra
The business is by the people and for the people, so the team/people are very important in being successful. Encourage your team to deliver and stand with them.
Brand’s expansion plans.
In 2014-15, we plan to open 35 new stores out of which 10 will be franchise. Our franchise network is already bigger than our network of company owned stores. We intend to simultaneously expand both the networks.