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Aug, 09 2011

FOR BEAUTY OF WALL & WEALTH

Luxury made affordable, unlike other franchise brands that offer luxury retail products at exorbitant prices, Marshalls has distinguished itself by offering its consumer and franchisees a low-cost opportunity. The top- most wallpaper company is all set to

THE concept of wallpaper has been around for quite some time, but the trend has recently picked up the pace. Gone are the days when wallpapers were only limited to as a last resort option to paints.

Technology has completely revolutionised the wallpaper industry. Wallpapers are now the ‘face lift’ for walls with varied finishes which include metallics, silk, jute, vinyl, mica chips etc and designs and prints in geometrics, florals, stripes, 3D color changing designs etc. The avant-garde quality of wallpapers can reproduce any style.

With mounting middle class and yearn to aspire for better living standards, requirement for extravagant and stylish products are on the rise. Today, spending on interiors has tremendously increased with aspirations to have home interiors like in the West where wallpaper is the most sought-after product in home decor.

To cater to the escalating demands, there is no other organised player in the country except Marshalls. Marshalls specialises in importing and exclusively distributing in India, some of the most renowned brands in the world mainly from Europe and USA. With expertise in wallpapers for more than 36 years, the brand vouches for quality services to its franchisees and customers.

Genuine since 1975

The seeds of brand Marshalls were sown by its Founder and Chairman Baldev Krishan Sharma in 1975. Started as a one-man army, today Marshalls is an organisation of over 200 people with 20 showrooms in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahemdabad, Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Noida, Nashik, Surat, Bellary and Vapi. The success mantra and longevity of the brand lies in the strength of its quality customer services. The company's strong belief of treating customer as God, along with sincerity and honesty towards customers and the industry has eventually transformed Marshalls into the leader in the Indian wallpaper industry.

“The romance and beauty of patterned walls with wallpapers inspired me to take my family business to new heights. Wallpapers bring smile on a customer's face and that gives us immense satisfaction. You can completely transform bland looking walls into something classy and lively. It's like putting a soul into the wall,” says Karan Sharma, Director, Marshalls.

No other concept or wall finish other than wallpaper can transform a wall. Being the leader, the brand offers an array of options with more than 10,000 plus designs and shades. The price range starts from 18 per sq. ft and goes up to 1,000 per sq. ft including installation, giving customers an option to choose as per their budget.

After selection of appropriate wallpaper comes its installation. Installation can make or break the final look of the wall. In India, Marshalls is the only company which runs a detailed monthly training program for inducting new installers and upgrading the knowledge of existing installers in the wallpaper trade. A certificate too is provided at the end of it to all qualified installers. All this helps Marshalls assures all its clients with two years non- peeling installation guarantee for its work.

Partner in profits

Where ever there is a wall, we have our market. This statement holds true for Marshalls, as it's the only organized brand. Being a front-runner in wallpaper industry, Marshalls calls for partners with entrepreneurial zeal, having skills to manage a showroom and not just a mere investor. Unlike other franchise brands, Marshalls does not seek its franchisee from the same background. The brand plans to have its presence in all cities in India and be in proximity of its customers, which is also a prime reason for the brand to spread its wings via franchise.

On choosing franchise as a business model to expand, Mona Menon, Director, Marshalls, avers, “Having an expertise in this sector, we had initially expanded via company-owned showrooms, managed by our employees. This model was not successful and hence we stepped into the world of franchising. We took up franchising in 2006 and since then we have been climbing up the growth ladder. Franchising gives an opportunity to tie-up with dynamic entrepreneurs, helping the growth of both the franchisee and the company.”

The area required to open Marshalls outlet is merely 400-450 sq.ft, whereas in terms of investment, a franchisee needs to invest Rs 8-12 lakhs that includes renovation of the store and the initial purchase of catalogue sets of wallpapers.

According to Karan, having multiple retail points is an essential requirement for growth of the wallpaper industry. People have various misconceptions about the product and when they have the facility of seeing it installed beautifully in our showrooms, it gives them confidence of installing it at their place as well. Moreover, every area within a city is getting self sufficient and a localized showroom has become a must.

A pillar of support

A customer who visits Marshalls store in Vapi, Gujarat, must receive similar services and feel of its store in Mumbai. To make this happen, Marshalls provides extensive training and support to its franchisee from day one. As per Marshalls' franchise model which is a risk free one, a franchisee is free from all administrative and infrastructure hassles and is only required to concentrate on the marketing aspect of the product.

To maintain uniformity in all its franchised outlets, brand's entire network runs on self-developed software that connects all its showrooms with the head office. Everything in the company is well connected, including stocks that can be accessed on their website. All showrooms are interconnected in such a way that it helps the brand to understand the quality of client presentations in all its showrooms.

Speaking about their portfolio proliferation, Mona adds, “We have witnessed that all our franchisees are able to generate more income year-on-year and are growing further. Recently, we introduced furnishings to our franchise concept and floorings will be added soon to further increase the turnover of a franchisee.”

At Marshalls, all franchisees and their staff are given training for a week to begin with. The initial training covers product knowledge as well as software training. They also update their franchisees every quarter with the latest enhancements. The company believes in personal involvement of its partners in running the business to bring in personalized services and dynamism to add to its sales.

Strengthening the wall

There is a huge increase in consumers' spending on interiors, leaving a big room for wallpaper industry. To fill this void, Marshalls leads from the front to strengthen its presence pan-India. Presently, they have 10 outlets in Mumbai, one each in Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahemdabad, Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Nashik, Bellary, Noida, Surat and Vapi. The company aims expansion via franchising by opening 15 new stores in the current financial year. They also plan to open 3 more outlets in Mumbai, 4 in Delhi, 3 in Bengaluru and 3 in Pune. In two years the company aims to have 50 stores and by 2016 the brand wants to make it to 100.

The stable and steady expansion of the brand is because of franchisor's belief that they don't have to just make numbers but also see to it that each franchisee earns good profits and is successful and hence makes it a great product to sell and progress.

“Unless they succeed, we can't proceed”

Growing from two to over 200 employees was not a cake walk. In a candid conversation with TFW, Karan Sharma, Director, Marshalls, discusses in detail about his personal and professional journey

How do you see wallpaper industry 10 years from now?

With increasing disposable incomes and awareness about interiors, people nowadays are quite open to the idea of spending. 10 years from now, the wallpaper market will grow 50 times. With such a pace, I see Marshalls growing 30-40 % annually.

What kind of returns a franchisee can expect?

From the first year itself profits can be generated. Average profit would range between Rs 1 lakh and 3 lakhs per month depending upon the city and location. There is no maximum limit to which one can earn and will completely depend and be directly proportional to the efforts of the franchisee in promoting the product.

Tell us in detail about the franchise milestones achieved.

Our first franchise Lalit Manwani, who opened a store in 2006 in Vile Parle, Mumbai, has grown by leaps and bounds. His success inspired us and made us confident and motivated us to go further. Out of the 20 showrooms we have currently, 13 of them are franchisee-run. I also believe in franchisees' satisfaction and success, simply because until they succeed, we can't...

Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey?

Marshalls today is a family owned private limited company but run in a very professional way.  In fact recently we have also been certified as a ISO 9001 organization which shows the solidity of our company. Ever since completing my graduation in commerce 12 years ago, I have been in Marshalls and having been brought up looking at the growth and success of our brand I along with my sister Mona Menon were further stirred to take our business to another level. We are the second generation in our business and highly motivated to take our brand and company to new heights.

Franchise Facts

Annual turnover: Rs 25 crore

Genuine since: 1975

Franchising since: 2006

Franchised units: 13

Company owned units: 7

Total Investment: Rs 6-12 lakh

Area Required: 450 sq. ft carpet area

Expected break-even: Within one year

Average business: Rs 4-10 lakh (depends on city, location)

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