Carsten Pedersen of BoConcept
Carsten Pedersen is the President of BoConcept USA, Inc. and covering the Americas. BoConcept USA, Inc. is a subsidiary of BoConcept A/S, a Danish Company and the franchisor of BoConcept a Danish Urban Contemporary Furniture concept with 250+ stores globally in 64 countries.
Carsten established the BoConcept in the Americas, and has over the past 20+ years developed and expanded the BoConcept brand. Today, BoConcept the Americas operate stores in 12 countries in the US, Canada and Latin America.
Having been 30 years in the furniture business, Carsten is unique in the way that he started as a sales representative and later owned his own company. In 1994, he became the President of BoConcept, the Americas, and has acquired a detailed knowledge of all aspects of the franchise business both nationally and internationally. His extensive experience in franchise operations, sales, legal matters as well as the financial side makes him valuable to anyone wanting to open a franchise. Furthermore, his emphasis on training and supporting the franchisee and his/her associates in providing customers an exceptional shopping experience is an important element to increase Same Store Sales.
1. Tell us about BoConcept
The company was founded in 1952 in Denmark and today BoConcept is Denmark’s most global retail furniture chain.
BoConcept is more than a franchise. It’s a concept for creating outstanding modern and sophisticated living spaces at affordable prices.
The first BoConcept brand store was opened in Paris, France in 1993 and today BoConcept has more than 250+ stores around the world specializing in furniture and accessories. The BoConcept stores provide a unique shopping experience and pride themselves on exceptional customer service and interior design service. With 23 years’ experience as a franchisor, BoConcept is an established and proven franchise model.
2. How and when did you become involved with BoConcept?
I started as an independent representative for BoConcept and sales grew to a point where a company was formed in the US.
3. What was your background prior to join BoConcept?
I owned and operated my own company which represented several Scandinavian furniture manufacturers among others BoConcept in the US and Canada.
4. What are some of the advantages of being a BoConcept Franchisee?
There are many advantages, just to mention a few:
- Profitable business model
- Partnership with a solid franchisor
- Strong support in every aspect of running a BoConcept store(s)
- No Royalty fee
5. Who is BoConcept’s ideal franchisee?
- Financially solid – must have a minimum of $500,000 in liquidity to invest.
- Vision & capability to achieve expansion plan after opening
- Age 30 – 55
- Involved and hard working
- Result seeker
- Min. 3 – 5 year’s management experience.
- Strong leadership skills, motivational and a great communicator
- Retail experience
- Understanding the franchise concept
- Identifies with BoConcept’s values
- Service minded
- Passion and eye for design
- Well connected in the community
- Calculated risk taker
6. Tell us a little about the furniture market.
Over the past couple of years the furniture market has grown significantly to over $ 100 billion a year and sales are expected to continue to increase.
In general the buying pattern has changed. Most consumers look on line and educate themselves as well as finding a style that suit them before they visit a furniture store. Most customers are style conscious but not style confident. They expect the sales associate to be knowledgeable about the furniture they sell as well as the furniture sold by the competition. The customer’s attitude toward their homes, the places they shop and how they spend their money are undergoing a fresh round of evaluation. BoConcept’s ability to identify those changes and align our organization with them determine whether or not you are the place the customer will spend their discretionary money.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing BoConcept?
- Make sure you engage in a long term partnership with the franchisee.
- Making sure the franchisee understands and agree with the business model.
- The franchisee must be financially solid to open.
- Stay focused on the business.
- Ability to execute.
- Challenge the potential franchisee to make sure BoConcept is right fit for them.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
As we live in an ever changing world, I have a network of co-workers whom I spare with and who inspire me and give me different perspectives. Sometimes you just need to go back to basics instead of complicating things. Reading and listening to life and business coaches is also a great way to get inspired and always educate myself.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
I would tell them the following:
- A Franchisee must understand it is a franchise concept that needs to be followed and must be okay with the fact that the franchisor sets the parameters for the business.
- They need to know that it is long term and a partnership
- The franchisee must have enough capital to invest and working capital for the first couple months until the business gets off the ground.
- The franchisee must be clear on the specific reasons why they want to buy a particular franchise.
- How much income they need to make a living
- They need to have passion for the franchise
- They need to have the gut feeling that the business, they are about to purchase is right for them.
10. In your opinion why do you think BoConcept would be a great opportunity for someone?
- It is a great opportunity for someone with good business skills and an eye and passion for design
- BoConcept provides a profitable business model, an exceptional support system and a nice return on the investment.