Aiming to take art and craft experience to the next level, the unique format of retail store Pidilite Hobby Ideas was conceptualised. In an interview Rahul Sinha, President – Sales & Marketing, CPASF division, Pidilite speak about the brand’s expansion plans.
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us the conception, growth and success of Pidilite Hobby Ideas.
Rahul Sinha (RS): Hobby Ideas was envisioned by the MD of Pidilite Industries, MB Parekh as a one stop shop for arts, crafts and hobby enthusiasts. Meant for those, who want to do something creative and worthwhile during spare time, this concept is very new and first of its kind in India. From the very first day of its launch, it has been very well received by consumers across the country.
AG: When did you start this venture? How did you conceptualise such a unique business idea?
RS: The first store was opened in 2007. In India, arts and crafts have strong roots but it lacked a one stop destination for servicing consumer needs pertaining to crafts and hobbies. Pidilite had a strong presence in the arts and crafts market with a robust understanding of the consumers, through its brand Fevicryl. Hence the idea to take arts and crafts experience to the next level by opening this unique format of retail store was conceived. Second important source of inspiration was the overseas market, especially countries like USA, where hobby retailing is really large. We saw a great potential of this category growing in India as well, with the growing consuming class and their exposure to newer concepts and ideas.
AG: When and why did you adopt the franchise route for expansion of Pidilite Hobby Ideas? How has been the franchise experience so far?
RS: After achieving success with the company owned stores, we knew the concept and model is well sustainable and the idea of aggressive expansion started taking shape. We realised then itself that we needed to partner our way to growth through the franchisee route. We had always received enquiries expressing in interest to partner us through franchise route since the beginning itself. And with our announcement of adopting the franchise route; we have continued to receive an overwhelming response. The interest has been shown by prospective franchise partners from all parts of the country, to partner with us, is heartening.
AG: What can you say about the scope of your business concept? What is its USP? Where do you see the brand in next five years?
RS: We see tremendous potential in this concept and as with all brands and solutions Pidilite has ventured into, we want to back it up with full strength. Hobby Ideas as a concept scores really high, because of a host of allied experiences it provides to the consumers like in store workshops, birthday parties, hobby classes etc.
Hence, it is not just a retail outlet but a complete experience zone for different types of consumers ranging from serious hobbyists to kids.
AG: What according to you is the scope for aspiring franchisees in this business?
RS: We have always looked at long term associations with our partners and believe in growing the business together, taking them along.
AG: How many franchisees do you have presently in India? What are your plans for the year 2012?
RS: We have just begun recruiting franchisees with two operational in Jaipur and many more on its way. However, we can say there is a robust pipeline of prospective franchisees.
AG: What are the qualities and qualifications that you seek for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?
RS: We believe an entrepreneurial streak, high energy to excel combined with passion for arts and crafts can do wonders in making the venture grow. There is a lot that can be contributed by franchisees to drive the business beyond the confines of a store.
AG: Share with us the challenges that can be faced by your franchisees? How can these be overcome?
RS: Many franchisees do not have experience to manage a retail business. Also a lot of prospective franchisees want to act as dormant investors. We encourage partners who are passionate and can devote their time to the business in some way. We also assist our franchisees with required guidance, training etc., so that they can easily handle the store operations and achieve profitability.