Oakleaf moulds its success through franchising

With almost a decade of franchising experience notched up by period moulding manufacturer Oakleaf, Tiffany Brooking talks to Managing Director Jonathan Banister about the story so far.

Established in 1969, Oakleaf has become one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of decorative and period mouldings, offering a wide range of unique and high quality products.

The company launched its franchise opportunity in October 2001 at the National Franchise Exhibition after recognising the importance of providing customers throughout the country with easy access to its niche products and services. Most importantly by using the franchising route, Oakleaf could achieve its goals of allowing customers the facility to appreciate first hand the quality of its products and sharing its success with its franchise owners.

“Despite our then 30 plus successful years’ trading,” says Jonathan. ”we wanted to provide a better service to the homeowner, a market from which we were enjoying steadily increasing demand. Franchising had been recommended to us by consultants hired to assess our marketing strategy and I believe for two key reasons.

“Firstly, it would allow potential customers throughout the country easy access to product information and sampling via the personal service offered by a local franchise owner, as previously all enquiries had been handled rather remotely from the factory’s sales office.

“Secondly, being a small owner-operated business, there was obvious synergy between our own identity and that of our franchise owners, creating a comfortable partnership with clearly defined roles.”

Oakleaf is proud to offer its franchise owners a unique and profitable business, which differs from other franchises. “With an Oakleaf franchise, exclusive territory means just that! There is no other company offering such a product range, so our franchise owners need have no concern that a competitor would encroach on their territory,” explains Jonathan.

“However, unique, niche products such as ours require a greater effort to promote than mass-market everyday items, and Oakleaf franchise owners have to invest a lot of time and effort creating local awareness in the products and services they have to offer. Once sown though, a seed can deliver high-margin repeat business as the reward for the franchise owners hard work.”

In 2009 Oakleaf launched its new opportunity, offering much larger territories, so that it could build strong relationships with fewer, more successful individuals. In addition, a variety of new ‘tools’ were introduced, proven successfully over the years since the franchise began. These include a mobile showroom/ exhibition trailer, where franchise owners have access to the company trailer or can commission their own.

The Oakleaf franchise is truly unique, and should appeal to those with an eye for quality and an interest in aesthetics in general, and period buildings in particular, and who wish to establish an easy-going long-term relationship with a dependable and well-established firm.