Retail franchise Jan, 03 2012

Social retailing profitably

By Neha Gohil
Social retailing profitably

A social brand, Mother Earth offers consumers the best of the Indian natural hand crafted products while simultaneously providing livelihoods to the rural artisans and labourers of India. Piyush Deogirikar, Chief Operating Officer, Mother Earth share the brand’s philosophy and ideas

Neha Gohil (NG): Share with us the foundation, expansion and success of Mother Earth? When and what encouraged the group to take up the franchise route for expansion?

Piyush Deogirikar (PD): Mother Earth is a brand with a deeper essence. To the customer it is not just about merchandise, but a promise that the brand offerings are natural and healthy and hence safe and good for customer, society as well as for the planet Earth. Under the personal mentorship of Future Group Chairperson, Kishore Biyani, the brand saw its true potential, which in-turn reflected in customer appreciation. The franchisee route is the best medium to reach out to a wider customer base which is why we wish to take it up for expansion.

NG: Mother Earth is planning for expansion in the south India. Give us a general picture of your company’s expansion plan?

PD: Currently, our head-office is in Bangalore hence the logical starting is South India. In future, we are looking at pan India expansion, and our presence in Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai is just the beginning.

NG: Out of the current seven mother earth stores across India, how many are franchised and how many are company owned?

PD: Currently all are stores are company owned.

NG:  What type of investment is requisite by the entrepreneur to open a Mother Earth franchise store in terms of money, area and time?

PD: Start-up investment cost varies between 30-45 lakh depending on the size of the store. Store size would be preferably around 1,500-2,000 sq. ft (carpet), either in a mall or in main market places. The approximate store operational time is 45 days from the signing of the contract.

NG:  What is the eligibility criterion for selecting the right franchise partner?

PD: We need a business partner who shares the same vision and passion for retail and social cause like we do. And who also believes in triple bottom-line concept ‘Planet, People and Profit’, not just profit alone.

NG:  What is the USP, expected ROI and the break even period of your brand?

PD: Our USP is that we have a right amalgamation of ‘social retailing’ and ‘main stream retailing’. Based on our experience, break even period is between 2.5 to 3 years and expected ROI is between 30 to 35 per cent.

NG:  The company mainly caters to the metro cities in India. Are you looking for expansion in the Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities in the near future?

PD: Till now our presence was mainly in metros; with a store in Mysore, we are entering Tier II cities this month. With franchising, we expect to expand our reach in Tier II towns.

NG:  The brand is also recognised for giving livelihood to rural artisans and labourers in India. How did this idea come into existence and how is it helping the brand to grow?

PD: India has a big institution of traditional occupation, expert in the production of everyday use products. It is only natural that this talent base needs to be explored further to produce modern day products such as food, fashion and home. Mother Earth creates an ecosystem to make this possible

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