Former accountant Agron Llupa knows better than most when everything adds up – and that’s why he leapt at the chance to be home interiors company Schmidt’s franchisee in Beaconsfield.
After 15 years among the spreadsheets, he’d already changed career once, moving into property development. When the fitters he used to install kitchens in his properties raved about Schmidt, he took notice of it.
“They really liked the quality and the made-to-measure aspect of the products,” he says, “so I got to know a little bit more about Schmidt and what it offered. It was a natural move to look into the home furniture business.”
As he found out more about the franchise opportunity, he knew it felt right.
“Schmidt came across to me as not just a manufacturer but as a retailer as well,” he says.
“I looked at quite a few other brands but Schmidt ticked the boxes for me. it’s a good business to be involved in. If you look at the home improvement industry, it’s very much growing at the moment. It’s a good time to join.”
Support and Sustainability
Like all new franchisees, he received a huge amount of support from Schmidt on finding and acquiring a site for his showroom, then designing and fitting it out to the company’s very high standards.
He was impressed with the eight weeks of training, too, which covered everything from how to run the business to IT, design trends and styles and what the competition were offering, not just in Beaconsfield but in the UK.
“Schmidt goes beyond a lot of other high-end competitors,” he says. “We have a lot of flexibility for doing the sizes we want, and a wider range of options.
“The company is also run in a very sustainable way. The chipboard and the wood and raw materials come from an area an hour away from the factory.
“It’s a very sustainable, natural product, and all those factors put it above a lot of competitors in the industry.”
Drawing on his accountancy background to forecast how the business will develop, he is very happy with everything so far, just a couple of weeks after opening his showroom.
“It’s been good. We’ve had a decent amount of footfall coming in, we’ve had quite a lot of leads coming in as well and we had our first sale last week with hopefully another two this week.
“We’ve done a few discoveries and presentations on top, so it’s looking promising. And it makes you feel you’ve achieved something.
“You come into the showroom and everything you see on display is something you’ve had an input on. I feel at home. It’s fantastic.
“I can’t explain how happy everyone was at our first sale. They saw all the effort and time that had been put in, and to realise our first sale was really something.
“It’s been a great experience, developing not just the business but me as an individual as well.”