Flowers And Franchises

Hindu Business:

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Ferns ‘N Petals has evolved from a simple florist’s shop to a well-known franchise brand, and is even diversifying into food retail.

Say it with flowers, seems to be the axiom Managing Director Vikaas Gutgutia has been following for over a decade. And he seems to be walking the talk, considering that from a nondescript florist shop in New Delhi’s South Extension in 1994, his company Ferns ‘N Petals has been able to transform itself into a brand recognised across the country. With a re-branding exercise under way and a diversification into the unrelated food retail sector, Gutgutia expects the Rs 60-crore company to grow big enough to warrant an initial public offer two years down the line.

” The initial six years were full of struggle. Though I came from a family that was in the flowers business and hence was familiar with the ropes, some litigation and bringing in the right business partners took time. The next six years from 2000 onwards were the growth phase – we became a known brand and the only organised player in the segment. Besides, to expand into different related areas we constantly kept ploughing back profits into the company,” says Gutgutia, making it amply clear that there are two philosophies he follows. He prefers to use internal accruals as against debt or private equity to grow or diversify, and second, he likes to go in alone sans partners.

However, Ferns ‘N Petals has managed to use the franchisee route to its advantage. Apart from some shops, the rest are franchised, so much so that the chain has received awards for its models in both 2003 and 2004. It currently has 50 outlets nationwide with an additional network of 65 strategic alliances for national deliveries and 156 vendor partners overseas for global deliveries.

It successfully introduced the concept of lifestyle flower boutiques in the country, turning them into designed air-conditioned outlets that offer fresh, artificial and dry flowers and a vast range of objets d’art such as scented candles, candle stands, glass vases and gift accessories, among others.

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