Zuni a fashion jewellery brand was conceptualised to pay homage to the skillful American Indian tribe who are skilled artisians. Kkashyap Punjabi, CEO, Zuni, talks about the brand and the its journey to success so far
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us the inception, growth and success of Zuni, as a brand?
Kkashyap Punjabi (KP): Punjabi Accessoriezz Pvt. Ltd (PAPL) was established in September, 2007 to set up a chain of retail stores to carry on the business of fashion jewellery and accessories in India. Since its inception, PAPL is one of the fastest growing retail company in India and has presence across 22 cities already. PAPL has been associated with the major players of the retail industry such as Landmark Group, Dubai (Lifestyle Stores), Tata Group (Westside & Star Bazaar), JDS Apparels Group (Biglife), etc. It is no surprise that today; we are recognised as a reputable brand offering consumers the quintessential look of glamour, vogue and seduction.
Understanding the contemporary requirements of boutiques, designers as well as market in general ‘ZUNI’ came into existence. We believe, it is not the looks but how you carry yourself that matters.
AG: How and from where was the brand name Zuni originate? Why did you opt for the franchise route for its expansion?
KP: The brand ‘Zuni’ is named after an American Indian tribe, a Native American tribe known for their elaborate jewellery. The shared passion for jewellery making inspired the founders to pay homage to the very skillful tribe by embracing the Brand Name ‘ZUNI’. We decided to expand via franchise route because it offers quick and sustainable growth and also typically franchisees are owners as well as managers who have a greater appetite for growth. Also, investors are attracted to the idea of offering the entire portfolio under one roof.
AG: How is Zuni different from others? What is the USP of Zuni?
KP: ‘Zuni’ is a one stop jewellery shop, with a wide range of accessories to cater to different clientele and fashion enthusiasts. Zuni jewellery has something distinctive to offer to all kinds of budget thereby giving prominence to all the classes. Our products bear the stamp of distinction and precedence. Every Zuni product comes with high end craftsmanship and superior quality to its credit. The innovative creations of our designers are construed into substance by our artisans.
AG: What strategies have you developed to take on future competition in this sector?
KP: We have been in this field for the last 40 years. Being one of the pioneers of the fashion jewellery market our experience and vast knowledge gives us the competitive edge over the other players in this domain. Our core values have been innovation, efficiency and continuous improvements. We are committed to customer satisfaction and, hence, have a customer-oriented approach.
AG: How many franchise retail centres have you opened this year? What target have you set by the end of year?
KP: At present, we have one franchised store in Bhatinda. We are looking at such markets, which have potential buying power. We have set a target of opening five franchise stores by the end of this year.
AG: What are your future plans in terms of expansion through franchising? Where do you see the company after five years?
KP: We do have certain strategies and plans in place to take our franchising model ahead. Zuni aspires to be the leading fashion jewellery retailer of India. We plan to open 100 stores (30 company-owned and 70 franchisee-owned) across the country by the year 2015.
AG: What is the scope for aspiring franchisees in this business? Is the future bright in the years to come?
KP: There is still a lot of untapped potential in the organised retail sector of fashion jewellery. There is a drastic change in the attitude of the consumers towards this section. People from all social and economic backgrounds have turned towards it and would rather prefer to invest in costume jewellery which is sculpted into flawless designs rather than buying original jewellery. Costume jewellery evokes desire, displays superior finish and offers required flexibility at a very reasonable price.
The future is bright in the years to come. Franchising business is gaining a strong hold in India as it provides a complete business package to the aspirants. It is the ‘New Age Success Mantra’ mounting across the nation with its gargantuan impact on each and every postulant’s mind.
AG: What criterion is followed for the selection of your prospective franchisees? How much investment is required?
KP: Franchisees who are financially sound, mentally inclined and passionate about retail are the ideal choice. Prior experience in jewellery industry would serve as an extra edge but is not an essential factor, as Zuni would provide support and adequate training to all its franchisees. Investment may range from Rs 5 – 10 lakh, depending on the store size and city. Besides this, the prospective franchisee must own a store in a good location preferably in high street or a shopping mall
AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by a franchisee in this business? How can they overcome these challenges?
KP: One of the challenges for the franchisee is to manage the stocks well and ensure customers revisit the store consistently. The company helps them in stock management and staff grooming, which will enable franchisee to operate the store efficiently. Our philosophy is one of collaboration. The company believes in mutual growth and our business model is truly a win-win proposition. We are confident of exponential growth for franchisees. We also realise our responsibilities as franchisor and will continue to support our collaborators in their growth and prosperity.