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Health & Fitness 2011-02-20

Curvy profits

By Namita Bhagat Feature Writer

Catering specifically to women entrepreneurs, Curves International Inc, the largest fitness franchise in the world offers a complete fitness and nutrition solution globally. In an interview, David Ramadan, CEO, Curves India shares the growth plans of the company in India.

Namita Bhagat (NB): Curves have recently been introduced to Indian markets and is a great concept. Tell us about the motivating factors behind company’s expansion in India?

David Ramadan (DR): Curves for women is present in 85 countries with over 10,000 locations, over four million members worldwide. Curves founders Gary and Diane Heavin always had intention of making affordable, exercise for women worldwide. Coming over to Indian market, India is a great market with growing middle class with quite a bit of health consciousness and awareness but like most of the world today, is facing over weight epidemic. We are happy to be a part of solution of health issues in India particularly for women. Men always had options to exercise in a safe and comfortable environment, not women. We are glad to bring women only exercise revolution to Indian market.

NB:  Curves already have presence in 85 countries. Please enlighten us on company’s expansion plans in terms of franchising and company owned outlets in India?

DR: Our plan is to open 200 to 250 locations within next three years. Our first location opened in Mumbai on Oct 2010, followed by another in India in Hyderabad. We have issued plans for ‘exclusivity to group’ to open up 15 locations in Hyderabad. We are also now getting ready to open one in Bengaluru and issued exclusivity to group to open 15 locations there. We have two models of expansion either exclusivity within the city (certain entrepreneur women owned or partly women owned groups) as we did in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Then they open and operate all others in cities. And we are doing individual franchising in Delhi whereby we have opportunities available for individual entrepreneurs that can open one or two locations at a time.

NB: What products and programs are in the offering for Indian market?

DR: We do not differ from one country to other in terms of products. We have 30 minutes fitness workout for women only. Our exercise regimen or exercise routine is 30 minutes in which a woman can combine strength and cardio exercise. Curves clubs also offer a nutrition program and diet solution that provides permanent results without permanent dieting. Curves provide a complete solution for women to reach their weight loss, fitness, and health goals.

NB: Undoubtedly, you have many people interested in associating with Curves. What do you think are the best reasons you can give someone to invest in your business?

DR: We have a very concentrated vision in Curves which is to strengthen women. We look at franchises that have interest in strengthening women and willing to serve their communities and make a difference through health and exercise.

NB:  Please share the investment required in taking up the franchise of Curves in India.

DR: Franchise in India is for Rs 25 lakh that includes franchise fee, location fee, and equipment ship to India. Franchise need to have another Rs 25 lakh to do set-up, initial marketing, hiring, procuring a location, getting it opened as per our standards and therefore total of approximately Rs 50 lakh depending on the location.

NB:  Ownership of franchise is not for everyone. What traits do you expect in your ideal franchisee?

DR: People, who are entrepreneurial, want to help their communities by introducing health and fitness and are passionate about fitness and business.

NB: What kind of support and training features do you propose to your franchisees and what would be the functions and responsibilities of franchisees?

DR: Curves is the number one fitness franchisor in the world and largest franchisor in all categories not just fitness. We offer great support and full key solutions to our franchisees. Our system includes everything from décor and design, training, expertise in marketing, research and development.

NB: Share the experience of ‘Curves expansion in India to the brands’ expansion in other countries.

DR: We have done great so far in India. We anticipate performing very quickly, just like we have done in other Asian countries and rest of the world. We are coming with a proven brand and proven methods. We have adapted to different cultures and are happy with initial stage.

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