Looking for a children clothing retail franchise?


Children ready-to-wear clothing market in Lithuania is growing. “Akropolis LT” has announced that sales of children related goods grew over 8% in 2015 in their shopping malls. Shopping center “Europa” informed that in 2015 sales volumes of apparel have increased by 19%. It is also interesting that the number of customers shopping for clothes in “Europa” remained almost the same as in 2014, therefore the rise in sales volume was determined by bigger average amount spent by customer. Currently there are around 35 stores partly or entirely dedicated to children in four largest shopping malls in Vilnius. It seems that the children apparel market is far from its saturation and the unfulfilled demand for kid’s clothes is obvious in Lithuania.

“La Compagnie Des Petits”, a famous French children apparel brand, is looking for franchisees to exploit these favorable market conditions together. Today we talk with Ms. Marija Ilina, who is master franchisee of “La Compagnie Des Petits” for Baltic and CIS countries.

Maria, tell us how did you first find out about “La Compagnie Des Petits”?

I have lived in France with my husband and two kids (a boy and a girl, 5 and 10 years old) for more than 5 years already. It has always been a challenge for me to find decent kids clothing for reasonable price. After shopping for kid’s apparel, I ended up either with a poor quality cheap products or designer clothing for ridiculously high price. None of the options was good enough for me before I discovered “La Compagnie Des Petits” store in Grenoble. I was charmed by the style and quality of the garments as well as pleasantly surprised by moderate price tags. Since then I became an addict to this brand and its loyal customer.

Why and how did you started a collaboration with “La Compagnie Des Petits”?   

I have been running my own business related to children goods for more than 15 years already and I have had an experience of dealing with number of French fashion brands. However, I was always looking for new unique, stylish and affordable kids fashion brands. That is why, when I found out that “La Compagnie Des Petits” offers franchises, I approached them immediately with request for opening franchised stores in Russian Federation, my home country. After successful launch of two stores in Moscow and Krasnodar, head office of the company offered me to become a master franchisee. Hereby since middle of 2015 I became responsible not only for running of two stores, but also for expanding brand in Baltics and CIS countries.

How would you briefly describe the competitive advantages of “La Compagnie Des Petits”?

A synergy of five characteristics makes “La Compagnie Des Petits” truly competitive. Our customers all around the world appreciate our large collections, exceptional quality, exclusive style and excellent value for money associated with our brand. They also have adopted and love our innovative "mix and match" approach that is offered in each theme making up our collections.

Can you explain a little bit more about quality and pricing?

Our priority is for every child to feel good in our clothes and for every parent to be convinced of the quality of our products. Comfort and practicality govern our styling and we make sure we choose the right materials with care and consideration, offering little tips to make everyone's life easier - every day! We also understand that it might be costly to satisfy all of the demands of young customers. That is why we designed our prices to be in a bottom part of middle price range in order to provide our clients with the opportunity to make their kids happy without spending a fortune.

Why do you believe that “La Compagnie Des Petits” could be successful in Lithuania?

I strongly believe that parents and their children will appreciate our large assortment of quality clothes that are stylish and fun to wear. “La Compagnie Des Petits” proved to be very successful in such saturated, crowded and over-competitive European markets as Spain, France and Portugal etc. Therefore, I am sure that it has all prerequisites for success in a growing and not-so-overcrowded Lithuanian market. At the same time, our moderate prices makes our goods affordable for vast majority of young parents and fits well with the purchasing power of average Lithuanian citizen. Thus, I am sure that our business model will enable our partners in Lithuania to generate good return on investment in a reasonable period.

So, is it easy to open a “La Compagnie Des Petits” store in Lithuania?

It is quite easy indeed. One of the major advantages of “La Compagnie Des Petits” franchise is that we help franchisee to launch its store as fast and with as small budget as possible. Firstly, we assist our franchisees in choosing right location. Ideally, our store must be present in major shopping malls and high streets. However, as we are “practical” rather than “chic” brand, our stores could be also located in class “B” shopping malls and even in centers of residential districts with high traffic. Secondly, franchisee can freely choose a store concept and size accordingly to available real estate options – it might be either a small store of 60 m2 with up to 15m 2 storage space or a large store of more than 150 m2. Thirdly, we are quite flexible in equipping the store. Franchisee could choose either to order all of the furniture and equipment from our company in a “turnkey” manner or to use his own furniture and equipment if it is decent looking and suits our concept. There are only couple of “must-to-have” interior elements that franchisee will be obliged to order from us – for example, our traditional shelve designed as a “small red car”.

Does a person, who wishes to become your franchisee, need to have experience in retail management?

Experience in retail or business management would definitely not hurt, but, to be honest, it is not necessary. You see, our team is dedicated to assist each franchisee during both the store opening and day-to-day operations. We are going to answer all the questions and provide tips and tricks for various challenges that our franchisee might face. Our experts and I myself will personally visit the store for a number of days before the opening to ensure that it goes smoothly and efficiently. Later on, we will be available for any inquiries from our franchisees via phone, skype or email.

What about franchised store business model?

We believe that our success comes only hand-in-hand with our franchisee’s success. That is why we provide each franchisee with very flexible conditions for running a “La Compagnie Des Petits” store. We believe that by giving our franchisees a conditional freedom to operate we help him or her to achieve business goals faster and more efficiently. For example, we do not force our franchisees to order and pay for all collection before the season starts. We only ask franchisee to pre-order (or book) specific articles and quantities from upcoming collection. Later on franchisee is ordering garments in separate batches and pays only for garments ready to ship. This approach helps franchisee to maintain healthy cash flow that is crucial for any small business.

What about financial part of the business model? How much is it necessary to invest so launch a store?

The amount needed to start a “La Compagnie Des Petits” store might vary in accordance with many of the variables. For example, if one chooses to order all store furniture, equipment and software from us, then it might cost up to 20 000 €. However, if a franchisee will use his own furniture and equipment, then this cost might went down to around 7 000 €. The same pattern applies for cost of construction. If the premises already has a decent look, then the construction works might consist only of refreshing and repainting that would not cost a lot. However, if the premises are in a very poor condition, then the construction works might cost up to 20 000 €. Unlike previously mentioned costs, some other costs are more or less constant for each franchisee. The starter pack fee is 3 000 € and it covers starter pack (racks, hangers, mannequins etc.) for opening of the store. The initial franchise fee, that is 8 000 €, covers rights to open and operate “La Compagnie des Petits” stores withing the country. The initial stock of clothing and accessories will cost approximately from 20 000 € to 28 000 € depending on a size of the store. There is also an annual brand royalty of 2 400 € that applies to each of the franchisees. Therefore, total investment in opening of one store might vary from around 50 000 € to 75 000 €. Each franchisee, of course, will also need some liquid capital to cover his or her operating costs before the business will reach breakeven.

When can one expect to return his or her investment?

The period of 100% return on investment depends very much on each specific business case. As you can imagine, we cannot promise any specific figure of ROI to our franchisees. Nevertheless, we can share with you historical results of our own and franchised stores. On average investment in opening a “La Compagnie des Petits” pays back in around 2 years. If the location of the store is “hot”, then the period might go down to 1.5 years. If the location is slow, then it might prolong to up to 3 years.

Ok, so it seems like a feasible business opportunity. How would you like to finalize this interview?                       

I hope that this interview will mark a beginning of successful development of “La Compagnie des Petits” brand in Lithuania. I am very much looking forward to meet enthusiastic and promising franchisees that would become my partners in bringing values and quality of the “La Compagnie des Petits” brand to Lithuanian people. In the end of the day it is our children’s happiness that matters the most. 

If you want our representatives to contact you regarding acquisition of this franchise, contact us via info@franchisehub.eu


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