Conceived in the year 1994 by first generation entrepreneur Naresh Khattar Me N Moms has one aim – to make parenting a joyful journey. From a single store outlet, Me N Moms has mushroomed into a pan India entity with more than 60 outlets and a private label – Mee Mee – to boot. In an exclusive conversation with Images Retail’s Shipra Shrivastava, Khattar – who is Founder & MD of the company – talks about his long but fruitful journey and gives insights on his brand growth…
Give us a brief history of your company including the number of stores and the cities in which they exist.
Me N Moms is spread all across India in Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Goa, Noida, Lucknow, Varanasi, Alwar, Jabalpur, Indore, Gorakhpur, Udaipur, Raipur, Bhubneshwar, Patna, Itanagar, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kurnool and Vizag. We are currently a Rs 200 crore empire, completely home-grown.
Our aim is to make baby and mother care products accessible all across India. The understanding towards the needs of a modern Indian mother while keeping in mind the child’s comfort, overall development of a child has been a catalyst in our brand’s success.
Our private label, Mee Mee, has products on sale not just in our outlet but also 3,000 other stores across India including baby stores, chemists, and hypermarkets. Mee Mee focuses on making high quality products affordable to all parents.
What is your reach in terms of the total number of outlets and cities?
Me N Moms Pvt Ltd is a homegrown entity, which is so far raising funds through internal accruals; we work on COCO and FOFO mode.
We have created 60 landmark outlets and are aiming to create 15 more by end of 2016. Out of the 60, 23 work under COCO and 37 under FOFO model. We will scale up operations but we will be evaluating all available options for future growth.
All the franchisees have one thing in common – they share the same passion for the business that Me N Moms management has. The eligibility includes a minimum store space of 800 sq ft. and a basic franchise fees. Initially, the franchisee is also given 25 per cent inventory by the company and 50 per cent marketing budget is borne by Me N Moms. A franchisee is expected to ensure consumer’s interest is given the highest priority.
How big is the market for the products of the company in India and what is the growth rate?
Well, India is world’s second largest populated country after China and the population is growing at the rate of 17.5 per cent as per the data of 2016. The parenting and baby care industry is a US $20 billion market growing at the pace of India’s population. The awareness to use safe and hygienic products for babies and mothers is very low as compared with international, especially first world, markets.
In India, a mother in a small town is not aware of the benefits of breastfeeding her baby and follows traditional advice in case of problems faced. Also, high prices of specialized products keep them restricted to the upper echelon of the society. With Me N Moms our aim is to ensure that this changes as we are planning more and more stores in every possible city over the next five years and with Mee Mee we are bringing in the premium quality products at affordable prices.
Modern parents are much more aware now. Diapers are now being used more instead of the traditional cloth nappies. We have seen a significant growth in the sale of breast pumps, which proves that mothers are now working along with managing parenthood responsibilities. We have also seen a sales growth of specialized products like food feeders, nappy liners, maternity wear, educational and skill development toys.
What is your market positioning and customer profile? Which is your primary and secondary target group of customers?
Primary are parents who make the buying decision for babies. However, the product user is the baby.
We have pioneered several trends in Indian market. For instance, we are a one-stop-shop for all mothering and baby care needs – the first of its kind in Mumbai. Our products are as good as any international products, at price points way lower than the competitors. We have always believed in providing great service and a good shopping experience for customers.
Now, the brand is undergoing a shift in CRM. We are coming up with many activities for engagement and awareness on various aspects of parenting.
Provide details about brands, product range and services available at your stores. What is the sales split between different brands?
Me N Moms stores are specialized baby care stores where parents can find all the baby care and parenting products under one roof. We provide the customers with a variety of popular Indian and international brands. We also have a private label – Mee Mee – which is across categories like skin care, feeding, diapering etc.
The contribution of Mee Mee to revenue is 70 per cent while the other brands combined contribute to 30 per cent of the sales. Mee Mee is manufactured at factories that are based abroad. We come under our Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, and we also work with factories in India now.
What is the price range of your products?
We provide premium quality at competitive pricing – daily consumption products like diapers, wipes, and skin care range are the most bought. Mee Mee has launched pocket friendly baby wet wipes at Rs. 99 so that all parents can freely use them.
Mee Mee is quite popular among mothers for wipes, skin care and baby care utility products like nail clippers with magnifier, forehead thermometer.
What is the location strategy for your stores – malls or high street? Which locations do you prefer? Are you also looking at shop-in-shops?
For Me N Moms, the location could be a mall or a high street / market place. For Mee Mee, we are covering every point of sales and the products are available in baby stores, chemists, departmental stores, hyper markets and online where the mother needs us.
What is the average size of your stores? And what are your various store formats?
A franchisee requires around 800 -1000 sq. ft carpet area with initial investment budget of Rs 25 lakhs. We offer a lot of support to our franchisees starting from facilitation of property, site survey, store design & layout, staff recruitment, training and much more.
Advantages a franchisee can get by affiliating with us – great products and extensive range, widely recognized brand and products, good sales and returns, dedicated team for 24×7 servicing, and an ROI of approximately 35 per cent per annum.
We have a parent friendly layout. Our products are displayed as per the baby activity i.e. all feeding accessories are placed together and all bath products and accessories are placed together for hassle free buying experience.
Describe your marketing strategy?
Every market is unique and needs a customized promotional plan. For some it could be direct marketing or BTL whereas for others it could be ATL. We don’t believe in having a uniform national campaign as it makes it tougher for a brand to connect with local audiences at times. We thus prefer speaking the language of the audience we are addressing.
What is your expansion strategy?
We are currently a pan India company present across almost all parts of the country. Our aim is to continue geographical expansion and reach out to more and more cities throughout the country. The vision is to ensure each Indian Parent is able to experience the joy of parenting.
With 60 operational stores and almost 15 stores in pipeline, we are targeting 100 stores by this financial year end. With the kind of response and support we are getting from our consumers and partners we think we will achieve this number much before the end of this fiscal.
Which are your top performing stores?
Hyderabad is a major market for us and we have noticed that all our 13 outlets have been performing better than other stores across India. Our Juhu outlet is a flagship store and has been popular enough to be the stepping stone for where we are today.
What is your e-commerce strategy? How are you leveraging the online space to boost your revenues and customer connect?
E-commerce has become an important part of retail these days. Parents are now shopping online for the ease, the convenience that helps them to better take care of their babies at home. The entire range of Mee Mee products is available on all major e-commerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart.
We believe that parenting is a challenging job, so through our social media presence on all platforms like Facebook, Twitter, we try and make this journey more enjoyable and less stressful for parents. We also sell products on our own website meemee.in.