Heralded as India's biggest and best-known fashion house, Kimaya has always provided a retail experience that goes beyond the obvious. In an interview Pradeep Hirani, Founder Chairman, Kimaya Fashions Pvt. Ltd, elaborate on the company’s franchise venture.
Pallavi Majha(PM): When and how Kimaya opted for franchise route for the expansion and what was the inspiration behind it?
Pradeep Hirani(PH): Having revolutionised fashion luxury retail business and imprinted the fashion scene with its chain of ritzy stores across Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon, and Dubai, Kimaya wished to have its staggering presence in the southern terrain as well.
However, what we had in mind this time was an innovative concept that did more than silenced skeptics. Kimaya introduced a unique concept called the ‘Avenue’. The first of its kind was launched as a franchised store in January, 2009 in Chennai. Distinguishing characteristics of the ‘Avenue’ are the size of the format and the retail offering. Kimaya Avenue is all about luxury in fashion, occupying a prime space in the lifestyle arena. South India was a new market for us and wished for it to be managed by a person who knows the market like the back of his hand. Our franchisee was strong with the demographic and socio-cultural end of the city and with Kimaya’s assortment of the choicest of labels and designs, teamed with impeccable standards of service, the equation was perfect.
PM: Shed some light on the growth of the company over a decade and kindly share the company’s expansion plans in terms of franchising and company owned outlets?
PH: A pioneer in the Indian fashion industry, Kimaya delivers umber-luxurious fashion experience, with its choicest of labels and designs and now boasts of a strong designer label collection of over 150 designers from all over the world. The aim is to create a fashion store that brings the best synthesis of national and international couture lines under one roof.
Kimaya has a range of collection ranging from Indian, western, luxury prêt, couture and bridal. The brand specialises in adding a different dimension to fashion, unveiling designer’s edited collections with launches and soiree’s that bring the best to luxury and couture to its discerning client base; the crème de la crème of society.
Kimaya has been spreading its magic throughout the luxury fashion industry since the founding of its flagship company, Kimaya Fashions Pvt. Ltd in 2002 and today has 16 stores across Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Dubai. The Company is now set to introduce couture culture to new hotspots like Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Surat, Kolkata and Chandigarh.
As part of our growth plans, a prominent part of our upcoming stores will work on the franchising model where we will cherry pick the franchisees who we believe have the drive and passion to take our business to excelling heights. Also, a few more company own stores with different formats like airport retail etc are being considered.
PM: What kind of training and support does your company provide to its franchisees? What would be the role and responsibilities of franchisees?
PH: All kind of support is given to the franchisee may be in terms of the start up, interiors, merchandising and operations. An orientation program for the franchisee and his team is provided where a demonstration of all the processes involved in the running of the store is given. The staff that is recruited is given 'on the job training' in either an existing store or in the new store under the supervision of our retail operation head. Kimaya provides detailed manuals on operations, sales, visual merchandising, merchandising as well as client management. The skills and knowledge acquired from the demo, OJT and manuals is then put to test with role plays, mystery shopper audits and strong back end support in terms of MIS reporting on a fortnightly basis is also provided to the franchisee.
On a periodic basis, motivational workshops are provided to the franchisee and his team. As and when there are advancements or amendments in our process, training for the same is provided.
We as franchisors are a shadow to our franchisees and are made approachable and available for advice/queries/feedback etc.
PM: What challenges did a franchisee face in setting up a franchised retail outlet?
PH: Kimaya commissions a dedicated team of its members to assist the franchisee in the set up of a store. The team of experts eliminates the probability of any difficulties that a person might face, especially if the franchisee is new to the industry.
Thus, our franchisee’s get all the support from the start to the end, including: preliminary research, operations, merchandising, marketing and advertising.
PM: How would you compare the growth and success of your franchised and company owned outlets?
PH: We do use a few strategies to maintain the standards as well as monitor all our stores including the company owned and the franchisee stores. They include: CCTV, Video Conferencing Service, Mystery Shopper Audits, Quality Audits and Management Visits. Thus, Kimaya gives equal importance to its franchisee store with respect to staff motivational programs, training, visual merchandising, client service etc. Therefore, the success and growth of both the formats are at par without taking into consideration the market conditions and competition.
PM: What is the range of investment required to take a franchise of Kimaya?
PH: Approximately between Rs Two to Three crore which includes