Inspiring furniture maker, BoConcept, continues to grow and expand as a business around the world. It is always looking for passionate and dynamic owners. Jamie Brown investigates BoConcept franchise owner, Mireille Baumgart, who is thriving in a working environment where customer focus, persistence, hard work and creativity are handsomely rewarded.
Rarely has someone matched the criteria for ideal franchise owner as closely as Mireille Baumgart - having spent more than 24 years in the furniture industry it would seem the perfect fit. “I had another multi store furniture business which I sold before coming across BoConcept.” Mireille describes the moment when she became part of the BoConcept team: “I was approached ten years ago, by a shareholder from BoConcept to join them in the UK as their Commercial Director to help develop the brand and the franchise structure. After six months in this position I saw the opportunities the brand had on offer. I liked the brand, the BoConcept approach and the people and decided I wanted to open my own stores.”
For any franchise owner to succeed it’s vital that the training and support the franchisor supplies is high quality and even though Mireille, due to her past experience, didn't need much of the personal training, she was keen to compliment the brand for the support she does require. “As far as training in retailing and furniture, I didn't really need this, but what I have really appreciated and still do today is the great support the franchise operation brings you in all areas of the business. I always use the BoConcept university all year long to get my team members, in any position of the business, to be trained either on sales and products, data system, customer service, marketing and store presentation.”
Mireille was eager to tell us about the most enjoyable parts of being a BoConcept franchise owner: “The most enjoyable aspects of running a BoConcept business is for me, by order of priority. Running a profitable business, working with an established and respected worldwide brand, working in a segment of the market which is healthy and solid. The protection that the branded products can only be sold within franchised stores and with clear geographical areas of exclusivity for each franchise owner. The constant creative approach the brand has to products, marketing and shop presentation. As for challenges: Compared to an independent business the challenges are a lot smaller as many solutions are part of the franchise tool box.” Like many within the franchise industry, Mireille has been encouraged to capitalize on the success of her first unit and expand into multi-unit franchise owners. This development is exactly what Mireille is planning as she explains: “I’m looking into opening more stores in London and the extending Greater London area.”
Mireille has clearly found what she was looking for, not only in terms of return of investment but as a career that has given her exactly what she wanted. Mireille concluded by telling us whom she felt the international furniture brand would suit: “I would strongly recommend to anyone who is interested in becoming a BoConcept franchise owner to be highly motivated to create a successful business, the people management skills to build relationships with customers and importantly to understand that even if all the tools are there, the franchisee is the day to day artisan. There is no magic key to success, only personal hard work, drive and passion.”