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Aug, 10 2013

Wealthy options for enterprising women

The retail industry is a kaleidoscope of numerous sectors, starting from the footwear industry, imitation jewellery industry to consumer durables, the scope is unending. Women entrepreneurs, raring to make it big, have great opportunities in this industry

Gone are the days when women were confined to household chores and were assumed not fit to work and become financially independent. With women earning big bucks not only working from home but also in the retail industry running franchises and companies successfully.

The Indian retail industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India. As much as 40 per cent of the industry is organised and is covered under specialty retail. The retail industry as a whole right now is in the growth phase and for the next three years the annual growth rate is going to be about 35  40 per cent. The growth rate of specialty retail would be between 40 -50 per cent. Some of the factors which contribute to the growth of specialty retail are higher purchasing power, exclusivity, higher margins, low or almost no competition from unorganised players, brand consciousness, customisation and awareness. The Indian retail industry is growing with brands like Gitanjali, Titan, Raymonds, Beautycare products, Presto, TTK Prestige and Ferns N Petals among others.

Retailing in India accounts for 14- 15 per cent of its GDP. The Indian retail market is estimated to be $ 450 billion and one of the top five retail markets in the world. India is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world. India\'s retailing industry, essentially owner- manned small shops, account for more than 90 per cent of the industry. In 2010, larger format convenience stores and supermarkets accounted for about 4 per cent of the industry and these were present only in large urban centres.

Rise of women as franchisees

Sharing the numbers, almost all brands agree that the figures of women entrepreneurs have increased over the years. Elaborating on it, KG George, Senior Vice President, Retail, TTK Prestige, says that many of the franchisees of TTK Prestige are housewives. “As TTK Prestige is a kitchenware brand it interests women as a major portion of their lives is spent slogging in the kitchen preparing sumptuous recipes for their child and family. The preferred franchisee for exclusive store of the brand, Prestige, which is a kitchenware brand, is a housewife who is also their target audience. So, the fit is perfect,” adds George.

While Presto's, a personalised and corporate gifting brand, Anurag Poddar has a large number of women entrepreneurs. He believes that Presto is the perfect business for women. He says: “Presto is a perfect business format for women as it offers flexible working hours, ample scope for creativity and best platform for interpersonal skills. Presto, being a personalised gifts format, women make one of our best franchisees as they are richly endowed with all these personality traits. The Presto format is so flexible that one can regulate one's level of involvement and working hours on a continuous basis.”

On women entrepreneurs, Pawan Gadia, CEO, Retail and Online, Ferns N Petals, says: “We are proud to share with you that 40 per cent of the entire network of 153 retail outlets pan-India, are being managed and successfully operated by women. Women are more passionate and emotionally attached to the concept of gifting. This line of business involves carrying emotions for others and calls for utmost sincerity and responsibility, and most suitable person to take up this task are women entrepreneur.”

Opportunity on offer

Ferns N Petals offers optimum franchising opportunity to women franchisees in the following: FNP Retail, FNP Express and Floral Touch. FNP Express: For people who do not have a high budget to open a floral boutique, FNP has introduced FNP Express. It is a small scale franchise model introduced to provide an opportunity to people who would like to join hands and become a part of the FNP success with low investment option of Rs 4-5lakh and 100sq ft of usable area. Floral Touch Franchise: When the brand\'s business partners started growing and opening more franchise outlets, they wanted to grow more. Therefore, the brand decided to give them franchise of weddings wherein they can be trained to do small budget weddings in their own towns and cities. The brand has a detailed training programme for all their business partners wherein the intricacies of running flower business/ wedding and decor are taught to them. Besides, the brand also provides trained and skilled manpower that help them in day- to- day operations. They also help their business partners by transferring business generated through their website.

The other kinds of support  provided by them pertain to use of brand name; FNP website support; help in selecting the right location; trained technical manpower support ; assured monthly E-commerce business;, comprehensive franchisee training programme;  FNP exclusive merchandise at below wholesale price along with attractive exchange policy of 90 days and credit policy of 30 days; merchandise distribution hubs (FNP Select) in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata for convenient and faster replenishment; infrastructure and design support for small budget décor work; regular support of innovative designs of car decoration; jaimala, bouquets and various theme- based designs round the year; media coverage on the date of launch; revamp team support; quality control team for upkeep of store; customer loyalty programme; and daily camera supervision report of the outlet.

TTK Prestige provides optimum training to the franchisees shares George, “We train the franchisees regularly on all aspects of the business and over a period of time transform them from a housewife to a pushy businesswomen - training includes product training, software training, training on managing a store and soft selling skills training.”

Hurdles on way

A woman has a wide set of roles to play. From being a daughter, sister, wife to a mother, it's a journey which holds lots of expectations and demands. Moreover, today managing every affair for an independent working woman has become very challenging. George feels that a woman entrepreneur has a very demanding life as she has to manage both home and business, which is a big challenge. To help such women cope up, TTK Prestige extends them a lot of support to overcome problems on the domestic front.  However, Poddar says that the challenges common to businesses are faced by all of their franchisees, irrespective of the gender. The women do face additional challenges in balancing their family and business commitments. Presto's format being flexible, it becomes a lot easier for women franchisees. Gadia firmly believes that being a woman entrepreneur is always a challenging role as one has to juggle between work and family responsibilities and it leads to a conflict between both commitments.

Growing & expanding

It is pertinent for every organisation to grow and expand. Likewise, TTK Prestige is planning to add 100 stores this fiscal. Presto, on the other hand, plans to grow to 500 stores by the end of 2015. Similarly, Ferns N Petals is planning to reach a target of 200 shops by the end of 2014.

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