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Interview 2016-05-02

We aim to expand 100 to 120 studios in alliance with Talwalkars: Zorba CEO

Offering 16 exotic forms of yoga which includes paddle and aerial yoga, but Zorba has also dance fitness regimes like Zumba along with 112 forms of meditation therapies coupled with pranayama and physical rehab and meditational facilities on offer.

We aim to expand 100 to 120 studios in alliance with Talwalkars:  Zorba CEO

Yoga and wellness segment has boomed into one of the most revenue generating businesses, and currently it is a $3.2trillion global industry. Yoga is one of the most practiced physical and mental workout globally and itself witnessed a $6billion increase last fiscal. Currently, the yoga and wellness industry in India is measured at Rs490 billion and is speculated to rise by 20 per cent in the next five years.

Aiming to capture these growth factors, and to further spread yoga wellness in India, the premium Zorba chain has joined hands with fitness market leader Talwalkars Better Value Fitness Limited (TBVFL). Together the brand aims to expand its current market presence upto 100 to 120 studios in India as well as in overseas markets like Dubai, London, New York and more.In an exclusive conversation with Sarvesh Shashi, CEO, Zorba – A renaissance studio, Wellness India find what’s more in the action plan ahead. Here is edited excerpts:

What are the major challenges of being a potent player in this space? How did you overcome those challenges with other existing market challenges like competitors, availability of resources, revenue generation?

Zorba – A renaissance studio is a premium chain of yoga and wellness studios. We provide a holistic approach to the various issues faced by our clientele and promote the concept of a wholesome lifestyle. A lifestyle that stems out of happiness. There are many studio chains or fitness centres that offer yoga, but rarely does anyone offer a lifestyle revolving around it. So, we have not majorly faced competition in this sphere yet. Other major challenge is that of space specially when you are in expansion mode. We overcame this challenge with our alliance with TBVFL. With this alliance, we have already announced an enrollment spree in 33 studios across 25 cities and we plan to reach a target of 100 – 120 studios in span of 18 months. In terms of revenue generation, we have a target of about 300 – 400 active clients a year. Our business model is low on overheads and high in margin, so revenue generation is not exactly a challenge currently. Availability of resources and finding the right fit of people is definitely a challenge. We connect and build our resource pool through active social media handles and I am a strong believer of personal testimonials and word of mouth through my reliable resources, who have professionally studied yoga and fitness.

What is the current turnover of your company? Being a part of gradually picking up wellness sector, how you plan to cash in on growing opportunities in this sector for your brand?

Before Talwalkars stepped in, we were a chain of studios out of which two were franchise models. Also, we were then relatively young of about 13 to 14 months in the business and would have crossed a turnover of approximately Rs70 lakh. Cashing on growing opportunities in this sector is very simple. Concentrate on quality, keep it high with no compromises. Zorba is the most expensive studio in Bengaluru and Chennai, we keep our fixed cost low and play on the variable cost that help us cash on pretty well with our financially viable model.

Which other therapeutic areas are you planning to enter next and why?

We want to offer our patrons a ‘Zorba lifestyle’ inspired from happiness. We already offer 6 courses and 8 alternative therapies that helps in the overall wellness of body, mind and soul. We not only offer 16 exotic forms like paddle yoga and aerial yoga and more, but also, dance fitness regimes like Zumba along with 112 forms of meditation therapies coupled with pranayama and physical rehab and meditational facilities to tackle health ailments. Zorba merchandise and products are also available to those who sought to further enhance their holistic lifestyle. The Zorba experience knows no bounds of age, we cater to age bracket of 5 to 90 years. 2000 individuals have already benefited from their Zorba experience and now the count aims to reach to over 150 thousand through the 25 city enrollment spree. Our next steps would be to deliver state of the art workshops, workout regimes, meditational therapies by the best of experts and professionals around the world. We want to create a Zorba ecosystem which promotes yoga and happiness living through food, apparel, fitness regime and more.

Is it a bootstrapped start-up or you have raised funds from the investors?

We were a self sufficient start up earlier through an unsecured loan. Currently, Zorba is funded by TBVFL. They have a 50 per cent stake in the brand. The alliance was sealed in January 2016.

What factors made you a potential competitor in the wellness industry for the other brands?

Zorba’s wide spectrum of courses and therapies sets it apart. The niche also lies in the experience that we offer. Its not like a regular yoga studio. The ambience and interiors are state of the art and add to the calming factor during our workout training and meditations . Also all our trainers have a masters in yoga. They undergo an intensive 15 day training program in the Zorbian way, focusing on engaging guests. We offer 6 courses and 8 alternative therapies that help in the overall wellness of body, mind and soul. We not only offer 16 exotic forms like paddle yoga and aerial yoga, but also, dance fitness regimes like Zumba along with 112 forms of meditation therapies coupled with pranayama and physical rehab and meditational facilities to tackle health ailments.

We are also a brand that believes in happiness through our initiatives on special days and regularly through our wellness services. All these factors make us fierce competition in the wellness category.

Which all regions has been covered by your brand in India? Which other markets you are eyeing and why? How much revenue are you generating from your business currently?

We are currently present in Chennai and Bengaluru with 3 and 4 studios, respectively. We also recently announced launch of 33 studios across 25 cities through our alliance with TBVFL. Through this expansion, we will spread our footprints in other metros and cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Gujarat, Cochin, Kolkata, Lucknow, Amritsar, Kolhapur and more. The idea of expansion is to reach out to maximum people and spread the lifestyle of Zorba which is a lifestyle of happiness. It is to reach countless number of people, irrespective of locations. Statistically, we plan to reach a studio count of 100 to 120 in India as well as in overseas markets like Dubai, London, New York in span of 18 months.

Before Talwalkars stepped in, we were a chain of studios out of which two were franchise models. Also, we were then relatively young of about 13 to 14 months in the business and would have crossed a turnover of approximately Rs70 lakh.

What kind of assistance do you offer to the international brands; Franchising, Licensing, Joint Venture or any other?

We are into franchising in India but not in any international associations as of now. It is definitely on the radar but too early to comment as of now.

Are you bringing any new brand to India?

We are absolutely in talks with great quality brands from overseas, but it is too early to comment as of now.

What are your future plans with the growth and expansion of your brand? Do you have plans to touch tier II and III cities in future?

The idea of expansion is to reach out to maximum people and spread the lifestyle of Zorba, which is a lifestyle of happiness. It is to reach countless number of people irrespective of locations. We recently announced launch of 33 studios across 25 cities through our alliance with Talwalkars Better Value Fitness Limited. Through this expansion we will have footprints in other metros and cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Gujarat, Cochin, Kolkata, Lucknow, Amritsar, Kolhapur, Sangli, Nasik, Jodhpur, Kota, Bareily, Surat, Bilaspur, Ambala, Vijaywada, Guwahati and more.

What about online presence? Have you entered on e-tailing format as well, what are your targets and expectations with eCommerce?

Too early to comment wait for June 21.

Have you established your presence in overseas market? If not, any plans to enter in near future?

We plan to reach a studio count of 100 to 120 studios in India as well as in overseas markets like Dubai, London, New York in the span of 18 months.

Please share an elaborate views over ‘Indian Wellness Industry offering Promising Business opportunities’.

Indian Wellness Industry is growing and offering promising business opportunity. Unfortunately there is not much awareness around it. People conceive only spas, salons and ayurveda centres as a part of the wellness industry in India. A commercial yoga space too is a part of the wellness industry provided it creates that peaceful ambience and reflects the wellness aura. We believe in offering wellness through our yoga studios to our ever evolving and well traveled audience. We also plan to tap in the growth by offering what the client needs and by increasing awareness through in house initiatives as well as being a part of major initiatives like World Yoga Day.

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