To welcome new clients, conveying thanks to existing ones, and to impress upon potential clients, large organisations opt for corporate gifting culture. Supporting this exclusive idea is Sparket, launched in 2000. In an interview Anil Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Sparket Marketing Pvt. Ltd shares the origin and growth of the brand
Neha Gohil (NG): Share with us the origin, growth and success of ‘Sparket’?
Anil Kumar Gupta (AKG): Sparket will be completing 25 years on 29th October, 2011. The journey has been full of learning and has helped us to become better as the years pass by. We have been able to retain our team and most of our members are over 10 years old, and some being with us for over 15 to 20 years also. We started without any products and then worked as a trader (middle man) and since 2000 were looking for a viable business opportunity to create our own destiny. About five years back we came in corporate gifts business. We aim to be the world leader in turning this unorganised fragmented industry in to an organised one.
NG: What is the USP of ‘Sparket’?
AKG: Right is might and synergy can create wonders. Growth through profitable relationships is our motto.
NG: When and why did you plan to expand via franchising? How significant is this model for your expansion?
AKG: In May 2008, we realised that the best way to scale up is through franchising. The challenge was how to make it work when market itself is so fragmented and why a franchisee would continue with us after learning the game. This model will allow us to increase our market share and thereby profit share both at the same time.
NG: How many total outlets do you have in India and in which cities? How many of these are franchise and company owned?
AKG: We are currently present in Bengaluru, and Kolkata via owned outlet. We have three franchise stores one each in Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi. As we work with exclusive territory rights with our franchisee partners so there are only five offices.
NG: What are your future expansion plans?
AKG: We are focusing currently on remaining four metros, state capitals and few big towns, apart from Master Franchisees in English speaking countries.
NG: What are the eligibility criteria for a prospective franchisee? What are the requirements from the franchisees in terms of area and investment?
AKG: We have refused many pure investors from various cities as our sole criteria is that one has to operate the business himself and gradually should increase the team size. Better if he has a four / two wheeler and is computer savvy. We ask for franchisee fee of Rs two lakh for non metro and Rs five lakh for metro cities. One should be prepared for another four lakh over time for samples, laptop, training expenses on travelling and working capital. The franchisee fee for territory rights can be earned back with bonus when one retires by selling his territory rights.
NG: Sparket offers franchisee to business from home option. Please elaborate.
AKG: We have learned in last 25 years that how much business you generate is not important but how much you have earned after expenses is crucial. So our business model starts with minimal expenses to ensure maximum earning potential. Our Mumbai franchisee is seriously considering moving out of home after 17 months as one can always increase his expenses as one becomes more confident of regular earnings.
NG: What kind of training and support do you provide to your franchisees?
AKG: We believe in the job training and thus they visit clients with us in field during initial training for a week. Subsequently, regular periodical training is in field in their city in front of their customers. Gradually the combined room learning takes place as we all share our experiences during annual meets. On very large orders we invest on behalf of franchisees. Further we support them with all back office work including accounts.