What could be better than one business with a positive cashflow from the get-go? The answer is a second revenue stream that offers the same fantastic benefits.
Solomons Flooring has long been the go-to store for all things flooring. Today it is so much more. This iconic flooring chain boosted its product offering a few years ago with window coverings, and since then it’s gone from strength to strength.
The success of the window coverings business encouraged the team at Solomons Flooring to give it its own identity, under the Sultan’s Blinds banner.
This brand within a brand has its own sub-divisions too: Sultan’s Curtains, Sultan’s Shutters and Sultan’s Outdoors (awnings and screens).
Customers love the one-stop-shop concept, and it’s a brilliant business model for franchisees.
Jack McClane, national franchise manager, explains.
“The Sultan’s Blinds offer is part of our Solomons Flooring franchise agreement, and there are no additional fees. The only investment is the cost of displays and samples, so this is a great add on to the flooring business. It is a point of difference.”
Window coverings now integral to Solomons Flooring
Franchisees don’t hold stock and customers pay for their carpet, or hard flooring, or their blinds, curtains or shutters before installation. It’s a cashflow positive situation for the franchisee and can increase the average sale per customer.
What started out as an optional element has become a fundamental part of the Solomons Flooring business.
Franchisees actively promote the window coverings to ensure they are optimising the business potential. This mirrors the national marketing messages that feature both the flooring and window coverings brands.
And an exciting new website with a greater emphasis on window furnishings will be unveiled early in 2024.
Sultan’s Blinds helps to take the retailer to the next level as a home interiors specialist.
“It is another opportunity for customers to call,” says Jack. “Franchisees can create home interior packages with flooring and window furnishing solutions which are ideal for renovation projects and new homes.
“Customers might even choose two coverings – sheer curtains and a block out blind, as an example. So franchisees, can potentially double the amount of sales dressing just one window. And then there is the opportunity for them to add an outdoor awning, so there’s more revenue potential,” says Jack.
Maximising the business potential
The minimal floorspace required for the Sultan’s Blinds offer is another obvious benefit for franchisees.
Customers choose their window solutions from extensive fabric swatches, with up to 30 colour choices per range, as well as patterns and prints.
Franchisees are free to maximise their shopfront window space to display their blinds, shutters and curtains. Some have a dedicated area which might take up 15 per cent of the overall floorspace.
A high proportion of Sultan’s Blinds’ top quality products are Australian-made and custom-made to suit the consumer’s requirements.
“We partner with reputable local suppliers, and our customers like to support Australian made products,” says Jack.
Customers can choose to fit the window coverings themselves, but most opt for the convenient installation service.
“You can’t be 5mm out with windows, the sizing has to be perfect,” points out Jack. “Almost all our customers leave it to the professionals to ensure they get the best job done,” he says.
Sultan’s Blinds is on-trend, and responsive to customer needs, he says.
Customer feedback informs the range
“We’re seeing a huge growth in curtains; 15 years ago there was a trend towards blinds rather than curtains. Now our customers are happy to invest in custom-made, Australian-made curtains, as style trends change.
“We only bought in curtains two years ago, and that was from customer feedback. It is important to adapt to the times and listen to our consumers.
“We’re seeing more outdoor elements influence business,” says Jack. “This is something our customers are asking for.
“Motorisation has added a new element to the window furnishings product ranges and apart from shutters everything can be motorised. In today’s age, we can ask Alexa or Google to close the blinds and it’s a lot easier to manage outdoor awnings.”
This extensive choice for customers delivers multiple revenue streams for franchisees.
On the flip side, the multiple revenue stream model draws in unexpected customers.
Proof is in the pudding for early adopters
Of course the huge growth in window furnishings from Sultan’s Blinds wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of the franchisees.
“Our business partners saw the potential in this important sector very early on and it’s made a massive difference to their businesses,” says Jack.
One of Solomons long term franchisees, Shaun Mihan from Hervey Bay, was an early adopter of window furnishings.
“I had customers calling and asking if we did blinds and shutters and realised I was missing out on a lot of potential sales. Adding window furnishings to my business just made a lot of sense,’ says Shaun. “Because of this I have been able to increase my overall sales and this has been tremendous for improving my profitability and cashflow.”
This sentiment is backed up by Nic Russell from Solomons Flooring Reynella, located south of Adelaide.
“Adding Sultan’s Blinds to my Solomons Flooring franchise was a game-changer for my business. The seamless integration of quality window furnishings alongside the flooring options provided a one-stop solution for my customers. Not only did it enhance the overall shopping experience, but it also boosted sales by offering a comprehensive home improvement package,” says Nic.
“The diverse range of blinds, shutters, curtains and outdoor options complements the Solomons flooring ranges perfectly, giving customers the flexibility to style their homes with a cohesive look. I couldn’t be happier.”