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Dec, 03 2014

Invest in branded furnishings

Providing total soft furnishing solution under one roof is what sets Skipper Furnishings apart from others. With 30 years of experience in touching numerous lives and enlivening numerous spaces, the brand is going strong

It's Directors Tanay and Shonak Agarwal in an interview with Sandeep Rana shared brand's vision and journey so far.  

Tell us about your brand.

Skipper Furnishings, founded by Kamlesh Agarwal, in Kolkata in 1986 has become one of India's most loved furnishing brand over the years.

Skipper started as a single store carrying just fabrics for drapery and upholstery, but over the years on insistence of our clients we added a lot of other products (Wallpaper, wooden flooring, carpets mattress, bed linen, blinds, and drapery rods) so as to provide a complete solution to them. We not only expanded our product basket but also our presence throughout the country and now have stores in various cities. Skipper products can also be found in all the leading large format stores (Shopper Stop, Pantaloons, Home Town and so on). We have not restricted ourselves to offline presence but have a strong presence online too, keeping in mind the growing popularity of online shopping we have tied up with leaders in this field. Our products can be found in all the leading online portals (Jabong, Flipkart, Amazon, Fab furnish, Pepper Fry, and many more).

Why should a prospective franchisee align with your brand?

We are the largest chain of furnishing stores in India providing the widest range of complimentary soft furnishing products under one roof. We have something for everybody (Kids to grandpas) (25 year old IT professional to 50 year old Chairman of an MNC). We have 30 years of expertise in beautifying homes, hotels, private as well Government offices and any other space that required warmth, luxury, or just a splash of colours. We are also the furnishing licensee of Yash Raj films, diamond comics and Krishh.

What are the challenges in this segment?

This sector is completely unorganized, thus there is a huge shortage of skilled employees. It makes it both time consuming and expensive to train them.  Secondly, this business requires a lot of personal touch with the clients, as we need to help the clients install our products in their homes. This is what we offer apart from our product the additional services and this is what hooks the clients on to us.

E-commerce is a hit among the people. Are you also tapping online sales?

Yes, after releasing the same we decided to tap the online front as well, we are available on all the popular E-commerce portals including Jabong, Flipkart, FabFurnish and others. Even though our online sale is currently just 2% of our turn over, we expect it to increase over the course of time.

What is the total count of present units? Are they all franchisee-centres.

We have 21 Skipper Furnishings stores in the country at present. We are present in cities like Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Kanpur, Nagpur and others.

We have recently launched a new format- Skipper Home and have lined up five stores to be opened soon in malls. This format will have ready-made curtains, bedsheets, cushion cover, shower curtains, doormats etc.

What are your expansion plans?

We want to have 50 stores each of both the brands in the next two years. We will be foraying in cities including Kochi, Coimbatore, Bhopal, Indore and others.

Franchise facts

Skipper Furnishings                         Skipper Home

Area: 1500-2000 sq.ft                     500 sq.ft

Investment: 45 to 55 lakh             10 to 15 lakh

RoI: 30%                                               30%

Breakeven: 2 to 2.5 years             2 to 2.5 years

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