Business services 2013-12-05

Inking success

By Feature Writer
Inking success

Subsequent to gaining a strong base in India’s cartridge refilling market, Re-feel, the retail printer cartridge refilling and recycling chain, is now all set to tap tier II and III cities for spreading their brand’s foothold. In an interaction with Sakshi Arora, Alkesh Agarwal, CEO, Re-Feel, shares his plans about developing their business by joining hands with franchisees.

Tell us in brief about your brand.

Before establishing Re-feel in February 2007, an extensive research was conducted for more than three years into the cartridge industry on national as well as international grounds. With people increasingly looking for recycled cartridges to cut printing costs, there seemed a great potential to open a series of stores around the nation.

Working dedicatedly on the concept, we now have our presence at more than 120 sites in 83 cities in India. All the stores are franchisee-owned, which ensures outstanding value to our customers. We envision to be technically advanced, while saving printing costs and contributing our bit for the environment.

How has been your brand’s journey?

Like any other business’s initial phase, the journey so far has been really bumpy. A few months were consumed to set the quality standards and educate the customers about recycled cartridges. The business initially was local in nature and the network could not grow amid lack of funds, thus, franchising was what we took as a growth concept. Opening the first store in Kolkata, we have never looked back and only continued to strengthen our foothold in different regions, setting the momentum for growth.

Why you decided to expand via franchise route?

The demand-supply gap was clearly visible to us from where we were at the outset with lack of fund and workforce. The same proved to be the trigger for us to adopt the franchise route. No store at the time was well-known for offering cartridge refilling service. Thus, we could see a higher demand for the same as compared to the footfall at other local shops. We were able to take a ‘leap of faith’ after conducting a thorough research in other nations and Indian cities’ potential. We could provide the services in the best way across the nation via the franchise module.

What according to is the scope for aspiring franchisees in the business?

Going by statistics, the industry today is worth over Rs 2,500 crore each year. A steady growth of 20 per cent has been realised in India. There are numerous talks about going paperless, but despite the same, printing is not supposed to be ceased. In fact, things like use of refilled cartridges can reduce the environmental degradation. Thus, with refilled cartridges at Re-feel ensuring the same quality as original ones, we promise 50-70 per cent reduced price and more awareness to the consumer market in changing times.

The business is ready to grow today and tomorrow and therefore, holds a great scope for prospective franchisees. Being recession-proof, the business is also one of the safest and bags high profitability with low cost of operation. So, we foresee a very bright future for those associated with us.

What are your company’s expansion plans?

Over past five years, Re-feel has made its presence across tier I and some of the tier II cities of India. Since, business and IT are growing in tier II and tier III cities at an increased pace, therefore, we aim to target these areas over coming few years. We see a huge potential for us as well as our franchise partners to operate in smaller cities, alongside making decent profits and delivering values for customers.

Franchise facts:





300 – 400 sq ft.

Rs 6–7 lakh for A cities

Rs 3–5 lakh for B&C cities

Operational break even in 3-4 months. Project break even in 12-18 months.

146%, 135% respectively.

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