An Inclusive Approach to Franchising
Q&A with Bedshed’s Gavin Culmsee
Bedshed is one of Australia’s largest specialist mattress, bedding and bedroom furniture franchises with a network of 37 stores across the country. The very first Bedshed store was opened in Western Australia in 1980, and the network now has stores across Queensland, ACT and Victoria and is currently expanding further into NSW.
The Bedshed business is built on innovation, from product selection of well-known and exclusive brands to a unique inventory model which reduces costs for franchisees and tailored design and fit-out specific to each store.
Business Franchise magazine spoke with Gavin Culmsee, General Manager at Bedshed about becoming a successful franchisee, the Bedshed strategy and how their franchise model differs from other franchisors.
Talk to us about the Bedshed’s franchise model’s point of difference
“Our inclusive approach to franchising means that franchisees are involved at a strategic level of the business,” explains Culmsee. “We invite our franchisees in the network to travel overseas and get involved in the buying process, selecting and fine-tuning product choices and keeping an eye on pricing.”
“We might have 20 people on a trip going to visit factories, which means they are working on the design of the product they are selling and agree on that design and the costings for the product.”
“The buying trips allow the team to get inspiration from around trade shows on what to source and sell and provides real transparency in terms of product negotiations which means better decision making and no hidden costs.”
"For us at Bedshed, we feel our franchisees are very much aligned with the businesses strategy and are very much a part of the strategy because of our inclusive approach.”
What other advantages are there to the Bedshed franchise business model?
“A couple of years ago, we embarked on a full refurbishment of our network of stores, and we call this our evolution fit-out.”
“In our opinion, they’re the best-looking stores in the country. We see this as a positive and new approach to bedding retailing, keeping us at the forefront of the industry.”
“The evolution store design is based on consumer buying behaviours and aims to promote the feeling of trust and comfort within the customer promoting higher sales. The store design highlights the product instore and showcases it as it would look in a customer’s home, creating a positive space which allows customers to see all the products on offer.”
“Our other major competitive advantage is that we import directly, cutting shipping costs," says Culmsee, “we order direct from the manufacturer and import directly to the franchise partner; giving us control over stock availability and cutting out any middle man expenses.”
How does the Bedshed franchise model support its franchisees?
“While we endeavour to offer valuable guidance as a franchisor, we seek a great deal of input and feedback from our franchisees. Our franchisees can contribute to valuable marketing and product purchasing decisions through our traditional Franchise Advisory Council and the Merchandise Advisory Council, which is made up of elected representatives from our stores.”
“Both of our Councils meet regularly and the meetings are an opportunity for franchisees to get involved and share their opinions and feedback. Members of our Merchandise Advisory Council are invited to attend our twice-yearly overseas buying trips, to observe trends, select product ranges and provide input.”
"We feel that if you are involved from the start, and have helped to make decisions, then you are not only invested but are responsible and accountable for those decisions, and this aligns the whole team behind what we are trying to achieve as a business.”
Why should someone consider making a move to a franchise?
“One of the benefits of franchising is enjoying the financial and lifestyle benefits of owning a business with the support of an established brand,” explains Culmsee.
“Bedshed is committed to partnering with franchisees to help them achieve business success while offering flexible hours and a fulfilling lifestyle.”
“If you’re prepared to put in the work in the initial stages, you can expect to reap the rewards later.”
“Independent research shows our franchisees are more financially satisfied than 84 per cent of the franchising sector. Our mix of industry knowledge and specialised advice and training, mean greater success for our franchisees.”
What does it take to be a successful franchisee?
“Many of the skills required to run a successful business can be learned on the job and franchisees don’t need to have specific retail experience. We find franchisees with the right attitude, who are driven to succeed, are the ones who produce the best results,” explains Culmsee.
“A franchisee’s ability to interact with customers will determine the trust and loyalty that is built. Equally important is how a franchisee interacts with their staff. A franchise store is only as good as the people who work in it, so it’s integral that staff feel happy and motivated,” he adds.
Taking the next step
If you’re the sort of person who’s excited by a challenge and is driven to succeed, franchising could be a smart career move. It offers the right balance between exciting and challenging opportunities, and a steady, safe and secure investment.
Have a question? Just want to have an initial conversation? Contact Bedshed’s National Business Development Manager, Greg Prussia 0447 891 158.
Or visit bedshedfranchise.com.au