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Mar, 07 2012

Franchising, adding aura to Orra

With private players setting up stores, the world of jewellery retail is no longer the bastion of family jewellers. Players like Orra have gained a strong foothold across India with 34 company-owned outlets. Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra, tells Gina Arora that th

With private players setting up stores, the world of jewellery retail is no longer the bastion of family jewellers. Players like Orra have gained a strong foothold across India with 34 company-owned outlets. Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra, tells Gina Arora that the company is now ready to spread its shimmer via franchising.

Jewellery retail is sensitive yet prospective business domain, which are the best practices to be followed while working in this industry?

From a customer's perspective, trust, transparency in transactions, focus on after sales service, and customer centricity are fundamental in staying ahead of the game. While working internally, security and safety are of paramount importance.

Do you think that customers look for 'brand value' in jewellery too?

Increasingly yes, they look for brand value because brands stand for standardisation, and certification, as the aspirations of the populous have grown. People can now afford diamond jewellery, which was earlier associated only with the rich.

How has franchising helped you in the expansion of your business?

Orra is just about to initiate the development of its franchisees network. The company believed that it first needed to establish a robust business model in terms of store formats, inventory levels, stock turn rations and store level profitability before selling it to a business partner/ franchisee.

What are the requisites in terms of investment, area and location for a franchisee?

We look for high street prime locations either in the jewellery hubs or on high streets where there are other apparel brands. Investment depends on the format of store and market potential. For a diamond store, the investment is in the range of Rs 2.5-3 crore and for both gold and diamond store, it is Rs 6-7 crore. This investment includes capital expenses in terms of store development costs as well. This is for an entry level model.

Tell us what sort of training and support do you offer?

We have a training department that looks after the training of sales staff that is being hired. The focus areas are selling skills, design knowledge, product knowledge, presentation, grooming, etc. We also have a qualified accountant to train the custodian who is responsible for stock and cash handling in tallying and a basic familiarisation with software being used. After one year of completion, company-sponsored polished diamond training cost from International Gemological Institute (IGI) is provided.

Do you feel that the jewellery retail business is an uphill task?

Yes, because in the trade, trust scores above design and product. Hence, it takes time to build a brand. Also, there is huge investment required and the gestation period is also high.

Where do you see jewellery retail market five years down the line?

We believe that the industry will double in terms of size and also the brands will garner a larger share, their growth will be more than double. Brands alone will capture about 25 per cent of the total jewellery industry.

How many stores do you have in India? Where would you like to expand?

We have 34 company-owned stores across 26 cities and one franchise store in Vizag, Visakhapatnam. We would like to expand pan-India via franchise route.

Franchise facts

Break even: Eight months

RoI: 18-20 pc in three years

No. of outlets: 34 company-owned

Year of inception: 1997

Franchise outlets: One

Expansion: Pan-India

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