A bespoke business opportunity
Jamie Brown discovers how franchise owners Richard Wingfield and Calum McLennan made all the right choices when they opened their first BoConcept store in April 2009.
After completing a degree in interior design from the University of Hull, Richard Wingfield joined BoConcept as a sales consultant in the Glasgow store. “It was described as being a totally different way of buying furniture, and it is,” he explains. “I didn't plan on it, but I just fell completely head over heels for the company.”
In fact, both Richard and Calum McLennan began their BoConcept careers as sales consultants, as Calum recalls: “We both worked for BoConcept as sales consultants on the shop floor before going into the trainee management course. This helped us both develop a great understanding of the brand and the possibilities that were available for BoConcept in the UK.”
Having gained first-hand experience of the BoConcept ideology, Richard and Calum decided to take the next step from Store Manager and Assistant Manager to becoming their own bosses as franchise owners: “BoConcept saw our passion for the company; they told us we should have our own store because we believed in it so much. We sat in a pub one day and just decided we should go for it.”
For any franchise owner, or owners as is the case here, to succeed it’s imperative that they receive adequate training and, although the pair had been part of the BoConcept family for a number of years, they still needed guidance and assistance to make a success of their own store.
“From starting as sales staff to becoming franchise owners, full training has been provided throughout,” they reveal. “From finance assistance to staff development, the head office in Denmark has a department to assist. Neither of us have owned a business previously, but BoConcept are very helpful and they prefer passion and commitment in a potential franchise owner to the experience of running a business.”
The experience the franchisor was able to offer was invaluable to Richard and Calum, as the pair told us some of the techniques that head office suggested to them: “Define the roles within the business, especially when there is more than one franchise owner, so staff and HQ know who deals with what – focusing on the strengths of individuals. Having a relatively small team means everyone within the business has a direct input into what goes well for it. Everyone feels they own a little part of it and this makes for a very strong team.”
After five successful years in business, the pair have set their sights on expansion and, with the phenomenal support that BoConcept offers, it won't be long until The Franchise Magazine is reporting on the opening of their second store.
“With the great support and financing available with BoConcept, we have a five-year plan to extend our franchise further, with potential cities that have still to experience the brand first-hand,” Richard enthuses.
Calum concludes by giving some advice for any prospective franchise owner that might be interested in the international furniture brand. “Start with being part of the business in some way; it’s a great business to be involved with and is an exciting brand in the UK. With a proven track record, it’s a very attractive business opportunity, one that offers healthy margins and fantastic products that we personally love ourselves.”