Leading florist, Ferns N Petals has redefined the concept of flower retailing. The company has gained a strong foothold in India via franchise route. In an interview, Pawan Gadia, CEO, Fern N Petals shares the franchise venture of the company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Could you please shed some light on the inception of Ferns N Petals?
Pawan Gadia (PG): We started in 1995 with a single flower shop. Today, we have spread in 45 cities nationwide with 105 shops. We have franchisees with more than one shop. So, our business model is highly successful in terms of franchisees realising the opportunity in it. This is the reason why they are not satisfied with one shop rather they are operating through multiple shops.
Whatever business we generate through the online activity of the company, we share it with our franchisees. We are the biggest flower portal in the country. So, whatever orders we get from the online activity are given to the local franchisees to execute the deliveries at the local level.
RK: What inspired the company to take the franchise route?
PG: Franchising for us happened by accident. We never planned to franchise our business. We started expanding through the company owned outlets. But when people started approaching us with the idea to start a similar business with similar kind of layouts and infrastructure, then we thought of taking the franchise route. So, we started franchising in the year 2000.
RK: What initiatives and practices have you introduced in the company after becoming the CEO?
PG: We have now introduced a team for the franchisees. Now our franchisees can call us any time of the day regarding the support and training. This team of people helps our franchisees in advising them about how they can run the franchised outlet on a day-to-day basis, or how they can improve their performances and so on. With this, we now ensure a regular support and service to our various franchisees. Besides this, we have magnified our portal also in terms of the online orders.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting your franchisees?
PG: First of all, the prospective franchisee should have the knowledge of the local area where he is planning to open the outlet. He should have a similar background as that of a flower retailer. He should be able to communicate in English with the customers, his financial capability in terms of his investment into this project, along with the capital to sustain his presence in the market for the next two to three months.
The franchisee should have an area of 400 sq. ft on the ground floor in the building market with an investment that varies between Rs seven lakh to nine lakh.
RK: What kind of support and service do you offer to the franchisees?
PG: We help our franchisees in identifying the location. Thereafter, we assist them in doing the interiors of the outlet, supplying the merchandising needs, providing them trained man-power, along with the stand by man-power in case of emergency. We also keep them up dated with the new trends in the floriculture industry. We also let them deal with the online orders too. New ideas and products are introduced regularly.
RK: How many franchised outlets do the company presently have?
PG: We are presently operating through 105 outlets in 45 cities nationwide, out of which 95 are franchised and rest are company owned.
RK: What kind of challenges you have faced while establishing this business?
PG: Primarily, we had to prove to the world that flower retail shop is a profitable business. Then finding real estate was another problem. A shop at the right place or location is quite challenging. On the e-commerce front, technology is the biggest challenge. Convincing people that whatever order they are placing online will be delivered to them on time with quality product.
RK: What are your future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
PG: On an average, we are opening two to three outlets on monthly basis. We are planning to participate in all major exhibitions we will have franchisees becoming our spokesperson who will tell the world about the profitability of joining hands with us. We are thinking of opening around five to six outlets for the coming financial year.