Specialty retail Jun, 30 2011

Grow like bamboo with a bamboo biz!!

Bamboo, once considered as a poor man's timber now enjoys great commercial value as a substitute for other timber. It is one of the untapped avenue which promises economic growth, profitable and sustainable business opportunity to the aspiring entrepren

By Ramanjit Kaur
Feature Writer
Grow like bamboo with a bamboo biz!!

Traditionally, bamboo was used as a low cost source for house construction, ornaments, tools, food, furniture, fencing and so on. But thanks to the advanced technology, bamboo is now used to manufacture products like planks, tiles, balusters, mats, veneer, plywood and boards. It also has applications in terms of bamboo flooring, laminated board, mat board, paper and pulp, corrugated roofing sheet and incense stick. It is one of the finest woods to manufacture the various cheap, durable and easily renewable products. This is a highly untapped segment wherein young entrepreneurs can start with bamboo designer furniture, which is a trend in the hospitality, corporate and new housing sectors. Because of its wide applicability, it offers immense potential and lucrative business opportunities to the aspiring entrepreneurs to get started with a bamboo business. This article offers an insight to an untapped market which can be a rewarding option for the aspirants.

Bamboo commercialisation in India

The growing awareness and rising demands for the renewable and sustainable bamboo products, players dealing with bamboo are now weighing their options to take up the franchise route to expand across India. As says Arun Mehandru, Proprietor, Bamboo Greens, “We have one retail outlet in New Delhi and we have opted for the exhibition model to sell our products across the nation. But because the products have been established in the market, we need to have more sales outlet in the country. So, we are thinking of taking up the franchise model for selling the product towards the end of this fiscal year.” Whereas for players who are dealing with other timbers as well and bamboo is just a part of their businesses, distributorship model works the best for them. As per Avtar Bhat, Director, Lotus Kaleen Pvt. Ltd, “Being a wholesaler, we cannot reach each and every market of the nation, therefore, we have appointed distributors and work in close contact with them to generate profits and simultaneously expanding ourselves successfully across the nation.”

Though the sector is not a prominent one as yet, still there are few players who are doing great across the nation through distributors and dealers. For instance, Bamboo Greens, Lotus Kaleen Pvt. Ltd, Bamboo House India, Kuruvilla and Sons, and many more.

Franchising in Bamboo industry

Most of the players in this segment do not exercise franchising. They prefer distributorship model over franchising because of the lack of prominent brand names. As Bhat says, “Bamboo flooring is a very small segment of flooring solutions in the industry and as far as our business is concerned, it contributes just a minuscule per cent to our total business. Therefore, it is difficult to create a brand out of one species of wood, which is bamboo wood. This is why; we have opted for distributorship model that works the best for us over franchising.”

Although, the franchise take up in this emerging sector will increase in the near future as the franchise model offers lucrative benefits such as a professionally structures franchise business model, a strong lead generation with the help of nationwide ad campaigns, full support and ongoing training from a professional team, leverage the access to existing suppliers and save money as an aspirant does not have to keep the inventory, and a branded outlet with alluring ambience and designer products on display.

Turning the bamboo into an organised industry

The growing demand and increasing applicability of the bamboo in the domestic as well as industrial purposes, the bamboo industry in India has started to attain a definite contour. Unlike China where Bamboo makes a huge industry that is source of livelihood for crore of families, India still accommodate Bamboo as a highly unorganised and limited business. Taking this into account, the Govt. of India is afoot to aid the industry in becoming an organised sector to support aspiring entrepreneurs because as of now, many companies import products from China, which are not available here.

In short, bamboo is a good and lucrative business to get started with. Anybody who is interested in wood and wooden products should go for bamboo businesses because of wide applications.

Related: Personalisation is the key to profits

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