A pioneer in the field of branded jewellery, Sparkles, offers an extensive line of intricately designed pieces that range from contemporary to traditional. In an interview, Anil K. Poddar, MD, Poddar Diamond Ltd shares brand’s expansion plans via franchising.
Rita G Chauhan (RGC): How was the idea of ‘Sparkles’ conceptualised? Share with us the growth and success journey of ‘Sparkles’.
Anil K. Poddar (AKP): Poddar Diamond Ltd began its journey in 1985. The company was primarily engaged into manufacturing of rough diamonds, export and import, wholesale and retail marketing of cut and polished diamonds. The first brand under the Poddar Diamonds umbrella was initiated in 1994 by the name of ‘Sparkles’. We became the pioneer, to launch the branded jewellery concept in India. Importing rough diamonds and manufacturing it in our unit in Mumbai, gives us an edge over other brands by providing the best quality of diamonds in the lowest possible price. Presently, we are a professionally managed organisation with globally expanded business that respects and ensures transparent and ethical business dealings.
RGC: How is ‘Sparkles’ different from other jewellery brands? What is its mantra of success?
AKP: Our range of jewellery differentiates our brand in many ways and we offer an extensive line of intricately designed pieces that range from contemporary to traditional. Sparkles is synonymous with trend setting jewellery that blends the grandeur of gold and glitter of diamonds with the legacy of the parent company in manufacturing jewellery. We aspire to provide off-the-shelf diamond jewellery in a wide array of designs, at affordable prices.
RGC: When and what motivated you to expand your business via franchise route?
AKP: Since its inception, Sparkles has been growing rapidly in India. The brand enjoys wide popularity among customers and their positive response has encouraged us to expand our business. We have opted different routes for business expansion and growing interest among investors wanting to associate with us has motivated us to take the franchise route. The franchise business model has enabled Sparkle to establish a strategic presence across India by continuous growth in retail operations and expanding market penetration for branded jewellery.
RGC: Share brand’s current retail presence in India? What are your expansion plans?
AKP: Sparkles has witnessed tremendous growth over the years since we opened our first counter in Shoppers Stop. Individual stores have also been started to attain higher sales, for penetration into all cities and by catering to all strata of society. Presently, the brand has 250 outlets pan-India. We would like to make our affordable jewellery to accessible for every woman. We want to expand to tier II and III cities after an establishing strong presence in all major metros. We have already inaugurated two flagship stores to serve customers in the city of Kolhapur and Bhopal and expecting them to grow six folds in the current fiscal year. Apart from this we also sell our products online through company website.
RGC: What according to you is the scope for aspirants keen on taking the franchise for ‘Sparkles’? How much initial investment and area is required?
AKP: All the people who will be associated as franchisers for Sparkles will have great contentment and satisfaction and will be able to stand in the market with a bright future. Jewellery comes in the luxurious life style items and consumer looks it as a financial investment. As a result in an increasing brand-obsessed market scenario our brand brings huge opportunities. We, at Sparkles, have a wide collection of diamond jewellery that is stylish yet affordable.
A person who is seeking franchisee should have their own store at a key location with high footfalls. The initial investment required by an individual is Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore along with a display area of around 200 sq ft.
RGC: What are the basic qualities you look for in your franchisees wanting to partner with you? What support do you provide to your franchisees?
AKP: We are looking for potential partners who would like to invest their money in assets like Gold and Diamonds. Franchisees do require prior retail experience but it is essential that they are passionate about their work.
‘Sparkles’ believes in giving a complete retailing solution to the potential investor with a wide range of variety ranging from Gold, Diamonds, Shoppers Stop. The basic IT infrastructure and retailing solution with the management know how will be delivered to the franchisee along with the products.
RGC: What are the challenges that can be faced by the franchisee and how can they be overcome?
AKP: A franchisee may face challenge from unorganised local jewellers, and counterfeit designs with poor quality. These challenges can be overcome through our support and outstanding services. Our strong network of supply chain backed by immense support services is capable of offering competitive prices and timely delivery at all times. The company prides itself today with international presence in several nations and strength of experts.
RGC: Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
AKP: Sparkles is already the most leading brand at several metro outlets. We want to take it to the next level. In the next one year, Sparkles aspires to be the top-most leading jewellery brand across India and we would like every woman to associate themselves with 'Sparkles' brand.