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Jul, 14 2016

The Wow Mom in Business

we present to our readers some of the master achievers who have not just raised their own kids but has also nurtured their businesses that has helped generate employability, promote entrepreneurship and set examples.

Just being a woman is a God’s gift. And an even bigger privilege is to become a mom. Entrepreneurship is not something that a woman needs to learn. She is born with it. She is a champion in people’s skill, a master executor, a team player and a team leader all rolled into one. She can do anything she puts her mind to. Testifying these claims, we present to our readers some of the master achievers who have not just raised their own kids but has also nurtured their businesses that have helped to generate employability, promoted entrepreneurship and set examples for generations to follow.

Vandana Luthra, Founder & Vice Chairperson, VLCC Health Care Limited started in 1989 with a simple dream to create an environment where people felt supported and nurtured. Being a women entrepreneur in the late-eighties was an uphill journey, the main challenges pertaining to raising capital and developing an unique business concept with a clear differentiator in the then unorganised industry in India.

VLCC offers franchising opportunities in beauty and slimming centers and vocational education institutes. The brand has three models of franchising- master franchise, unit franchise and multi-unit franchise. Beauty and wellness being a woman friendly industry, VLCC has been instrumental in promoting woman entrepreneurship to a large extent. For franchisee, they look for leadership and demonstrating excellent people skills.

VLCC is present across 321 locations in 149 cities and 11 countries in South Asia, South East Asia, the GCC Region and East Africa. Currently, the company has an aggressive growth plans in tier II and tier III cities.

Sudha Gupta, Director, Mothers Pride was looking for a playschool for her child when she realized the dire need of quality preschool in the country. Established in 1996, Mother’s Pride aimed at identifying the innate talents and interests of children, nurturing them to become leaders of tomorrow. Invariably, Mother’s Pride turned out to be the most favoured preschool for kids and their parents alike. Taking the baton forward, Gupta established Presidium Senior Secondary School in 2006.

Mother’s Pride has the JV model (they invest, we operate, share profits) and franchisee model (owned by franchisee, operated by franchisee; central control). As the education industry is recession proof, and the profitability does not depend on the vagaries of the economy. Therefore, establishing and owning a school is a noble thing to do that wins you the admiration and respect of society.

Nina Lekhi, Founder, Baggit got stung by the entrepreneurial bug when she could not find enough funky and contemporary bags in her wardrobe. She started with a humble beginning by selling her designed bags at exhibitions and exclusively through few retail stores in South Mumbai. Her designs and commitment of not using leather was well received by the Indian woman. Her first milestone was opening her first store in Atria, Mumbai. Despite being a complete novice in the trade, her never-say-die spirit helped her to swim through.

Baggit is continuously in the process to add more stores and franchisees play an important role in that. At present, Baggit is retailing through all channels viz large format stores, online stores, MBO’s, EBO’s (Both franchised and company run) and also through exports. Baggit is currently operating through 47 stores out of which 50 per cent is franchised. They are open for both COFO and FOFO model.

Lina Ashar, Founder of Kangaroo Kids Preschool & Billabong High International School has done her schooling in England before moving to Australia for further education. In 1991, she came to India on a year-long sabbatical from college. Her stint as a teacher at a prestigious heritage school in suburban Mumbai changed her life and led to a burning question “How can I bring back the joy of childhood for the children in India?”

She started with a preschool in Bandra (Mumbai) in the year 1993 with 25 students. And thus began the journey from one Kangaroo Kids Preschool to a network of Kangaroo Kids Preschools and Billabong High International Schools across 29 different cities in India as well as in Dubai, Maldives and Qatar.

Franchising has helped her to share her core competency with other like-minded business enthusiasts like her. Lina has supported mothers who wanted to be a part of her mission of creating a child centric developmental education system. The insights from her experience are the basis of her franchise model. It is built for the Mompreneurs as it provides them with a complete turnkey solution right from taking them through the terms of the franchise to day-to-day operations and every other nitty gritty of the business.

Anita Dongre, a fashion designer founded House of Anita Dongre Limited (formerly known as And Designs India Limited) in 1995 with Meena Sehra and Mukesh Sawlani. The brand comprises a portfolio of brands namely AND (western wear brand for women), Global Desi (boho chic brand for women) and the luxury brand Anita Dongre offering bespoke bridal, couture, luxury prêt (Grassroot), menswear and handcrafted gold jadau jewellery (Pinkcity).

Today, House of Anita Dongre has a widespread reach that extends not just across the country, but beyond the borders as well. Within India, the network includes well above 700 points of sale with more than 185 exclusive brand stores and over 596 multi-brand large format stores in 84 cities. Globally, the company marked its presence in Mauritius with the launch of its first international Global Desi store in 2013, followed by a flagship store housing all 3 brands in November 2014.The brand has also established its international presence, but also became the first fashion house in India to be invested in by General Atlantic, a leading global growth investment firm.

Veena Kumaravel, Founder at Naturals Beauty Salon India Pvt Ltd wanted to do a business that is free from MNC competition, which could be handled single handedly. She was looking at a business that was scalable, so she narrowed down on beauty salons. As there is a scope of good quality, affordable beauty salons, then she saw that she has as an opportunity and established Naturals.

With an investment of Rs.30 lakhs the launch happened at Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Chennai. A substantial part of that amount was spent in buying imported equipment and setting up the shop. The first three years were hard, as the company incurred losses of Rs.10 lakh, 5 lakh and 2 lakh in successive years. But she was focused on promotions and marketing- right from placing ads in the dailies to distributing gift vouchers. She did everything to bring her salon into the limelight. From the fourth year, the venture became profitable and there was no looking back. The Naturals was the first brand which started to give away gift vouchers for a beauty salon. They were the first to launch the concept of dial a beautician which is now re-launched as Naturals @ Home! They were the first to come up with Mobile Van Services for beauty too. Their offers and promotional actives are done salon specific or centralized across all franchisees depending on what the need of the hour. Even their franchisees also run their own promotional offers.

In terms of selecting franchisee, they target fresh minds with no prior entrepreneur experience. They support every franchisee with the framework and guidelines. They help them with loans, finding a space, procuring products and offer them trained beauticians from the Naturals Training Academy. They provide franchisees all the time for any support required. The brand has created 250 woman entrepreneurs and 3000 woman employees so far and is targeting 1000 women entrepreneurs by 2017.

Adhuna Bhabani, Founder & Creative Director, B Blunt, debutedas thefirst Bollywood hairstylist in Dil Chahta Hai. The primary goal had always been to create an army of hair dressers who are open and honest in the work that they do. The bigger and more challenging dream was of Adhuna and her two brothers Osh and Avan was to create the line of products customized for Indian hair and Indian weather.

The brand has two concepts in franchising that is BBLUNT mini and BBLUNT Style Bar. BBLUNT Style Bar is a “Retail shop with a salon in it” and it is preferred to be located in high footfall malls. This concept is a hybrid of retail and salon and will change the way people buy hair products in India. Recently, they have launched this model in Bangalore in association with Studio west. BBLUNT mini caters to the mass-premium segment offering beauty services at reasonable prices. The preferred location for this format would ideally be an upbeat residential area or high street to start with a BBLUNT mini.

Preference is given to female franchisees. They provide exhaustive training for the technical team and also give a dedicated number of days to polish their skills and update the teams with latest, global trends in the hair industry.

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