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Beauty & Wellness 2011-05-18

Wealthy profits with healthy franchise

In alliance with Kerala Vaidyashala, the Yash Birla Group aims to create a naturally healthy world through mind and body enriching spas. Here is the snapshot of the journey of Kerala Vaidyashala to Birla Kerala Vaidyashala (BKV).

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

It all begins in the Calicut (Kozhikode) district of Kerala where Kunhirama Kurup ventured out to open the first spa of Kerala Vaidyashala (KV) branched at Aluva near Kochi. In late nineties, his grandsons Harshajeet and Vishwajith Kurup took charge and set up a chain of therapy centres across the nation. These centres were opened via franchising, which is considered as the best channel for accelerated growth to reach the geographical diversity and cater to the huge population. Specialists in therapeutic massages and treatments for lifestyle disorders, KV has gained much prominence in 2008, when Yash Birla Group zeroed in on the company to enter into a Joint Venture. This is how a new entity named Birla Kerala Vaidyashala came into being.

The Yash Birla Group, which is a global conglomerate of over 20 diversified companies has chartered out a long term strategy to focus on healthcare and wellness industry based on the study conducted by E&Y (Ernst & Young). According to Yashovardhan Birla, Chairman, The Yash Birla Group, “We plan to have its presence in three major growth segments of wellness industry like Dermatology and Cosmetology, Ayurvedic spas and Ayurvedic medicines and personal care products. After scrutinising various proposals, YBG has finalised on Kerala Vaidyashala to enter into a Joint Venture.”

This Joint Venture has benefited the Yash Birla Group in terms of:

  • Leveraging the existing franchised centres of Kerala Vaidyashala (KV)
  • A business experience of more than 15 years in the health and wellness field
  • A good market presence

Taking full control

Today, the Yash Birla Group (YBG) is aggressively eyeing to strengthen its presence in the health and wellness segment via franchise model to capitalise on the demand for quality solutions on mental and bodily wellness. For which, the Yash Birla Group has successfully acquired the remaining 48 per cent stakes in BKV leaving one per cent for Kurup family. Earlier the Group was into a 51:49 JV with Birla Kerala Vaidyashala (BKV). On this, N Venkat, CEO, Birla Wellness of the Yash Birla Group says, “This acquisition marks yet another milestone in our foray into the Ayurvedic healthcare and wellness industry.” He also added that the balance stake acquisition of BKV will not only allow BKV to create a niche within the industry and expand its current portfolio but also showcase its absolute commitment to the project.

Future plans

Birla Kerala Vaidyashala, which currently operates through more than 40 Ayurvedic Spa Centres across key cities in India, is now aiming to grow its healthcare arm through a strategic phase wise plan. To start with, the Group is planning to expand its centres through franchise route in major cities of India followed by strengthening of its medical and clinical Ayurveda treatment. Besides the domestic expansion, BKV is also planning to go international by launching Ayurvedic Medspa Centres in UAE, Gulf region, South East Asia. As Venkat says, “We plan to have 100 centers in India as well abroad over the next three years. On the domestic front, the expansion will be fueled via franchising while on international grounds, we will start with our own centres and will take the franchise route later.”

Join hands with BKV

This acquisition and strategic franchise expansion plans have created ample franchise opportunities for the aspiring entrepreneurs who want to get started with their own business in health and wellness industry. The Group is looking to tie up with franchisees who own/lease a space of around 850/1000 sq. ft and must be capable to afford an investment of Rs six lakh. As per Birla, “We want our franchisees to believe in our concept and align their interest with the interest of the company. They should have an entrepreneurial mindset and committed to the business for a long term relation.”

Get benefited

When join hands with a company like BKV, a franchisee leverages all the technical staff and support, which is required to get started with a business and run it smoothly. According to Birla, “Continuous training programmes are arranged to upgrade therapist skill sets of our franchisees. We also provide full marketing, promotional support through print and electronic media, branding and signage for the location.” Besides this, continuous product/service up-gradation is undertaken by the company itself.

In nutshell, the announcement of acquiring near 100 per cent stakes in Birla Kerala Vaidyashala JV and the aggressive franchise expansion plans can prove to be a golden opportunity for potential franchisees. Association with Birlas is akin to discovering a pot of Gold under the rainbow.

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