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Sep, 16 2010

Diversity of design

Raghavendra Rathore is a multi-faceted man. Besides clothes, the designer is into designing interiors, jewellery and uniforms. Trained in Manhattan, at the Parsons School of Design, Rathore worked at DKNY and Oscar de la Renta before launching his own lab

How much successful is franchising in the designer wear market?

We are engaging investors in our growth who have ironed out the bumps generally associated with the Indian designer brands. We propose to bring to the market fantastic products with logical price points.

In the last few years, many international brands have forayed into India. Did it affect the growth of your label?

Competition is good as it educates the market regarding new possibilities. Also, our product is unique and demands quantum servicing. The indigenousness of the story behind the Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur brand does not cast a generic picture, therefore preserves this segment.

Do you have any plans to expand internationally?

Yes, we are looking at appropriate global hot spots for the flavour of products that we create rather than taking the conventional route.

How many outlets do you have now?

We have been consolidating for the past year and suspended two outlets. In the new initiative, we hope to open few stores. We have started with two new stores in New Delhi, one is DLF Emporio and another one is opening shortly in Khan Market.

Which cities are you targeting?

Apart from metros like Delhi and Mumbai, we plan to expand in tier II cities as they have been showing a lot of potential, both in terms of awareness and increasing fashion quotient. Most importantly, in tier II cities, investors are keen on investing in real estate due to easy availability of locations and affordable prices. We are also looking at expanding outside India.

Are all your stores company-owned? Do you have any plans to expand through the franchise model?

Yes, both our stores are company-owned. Now we are looking at restructuring our current model. We plan to open all our new stores through the franchise plan. Hence, we are on a lookout for any such opportunity that comes our way.

What qualities do you seek in a prospective franchisee?

We are looking at someone who can deliver personal attention to the customers and ensure full satisfaction in terms of service. The franchisee should also take care of the store activities. Apart from some basic requisites, we are quite open and flexible in terms of operating through the franchise model. We have tendered invitation through word of mouth to potential franchisees, who we will work on, as we plan to work on mutually beneficial and long-term plans.

What kind of training and support do you offer to your franchisees?

Besides making them understand the supply-demand chain logistics, software handling and visual merchandising, our main training lies in the area of calibration with the design cell. Our back-end design studio and manufacturing set up is not complicated, hence a franchisee would not face any problems regarding that. But we would like our franchisees to cater to our clients with utmost importance.

What kind of background is necessary for securing the franchise of your company?

We are looking at the following factors before selecting a franchisee: pedigree in the market, financial muscle, adaptability and importantly, the gusto to grow in the upper segment of the market with a long-term vision.

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