Cellairis’ success comes from knowing that people love to make everything — including their phones and tablets — look unique.
In business for 14 years, the mobile device accessory retailer and repair shop has been franchising for all but one of those years.
Its franchising family, which started off slowly, now numbers approximately 700 stores, kiosks and carts, mainly located in shopping malls, plus several standalone stores. Many of the stores also provide repairs for mobile devices.
“Most of the company’s 200 franchisees within the continental U.S. have multiple units, which sell cases and accessories for the most popular brands and models of mobile devices,” Jim Thornton, Vice-President of Cellairis Franchise Operations said in an interview from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta recently. “While it would be impossible to fix every single device, Cellairis can repair about 90 percent of the phones people
have,” he said.
In addition to locations throughout most of the United States, Cellairis has operations in the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Chile and Jamaica. Thornton, who has experience as a franchising manager at 7-Eleven, Blockbuster and Papa John’s Pizza, said the most important quality that he looks for in a potential franchisee is that they like people. Because most of Cellairis’ business is mall based, he explained, franchisees have a relatively short amount of time to interact with customers and establish a rapport with them.
In addition to liking people, franchisees should be technically savvy and have an interest in keeping up with the latest in mobile technologies. “Cellairis franchisees are all ages,” Thornton said, “and represent a good cross section of the population.”
The company is constantly looking to expand its footprint, the VP of Franchising added. “As new malls go up, as they are developed, as they are built, we are always cognizant of what’s happening and making sure our presence is in the best locations,” Thornton said. “And the demand for mobile accessories continues to grow. More and more people either have a smartphone or tablet or are in a position to get one, and they all want to protect their devices and individualize them. Mobile device accessories have become almost mandatory for people nowadays,” Thornton said.
“It is an extension of personality and, in many cases, it is an extension of how you accessorize your person,” he noted.
“On the other side, the repair component of the business is increasingly necessary,” Thornton said, “because people are handing their phones and other devices down to younger generations in the family and often those phones need a new screen or will have some water damage that needs to be repaired. People in general are becoming more aware of the convenience of having their phones repaired rather than replacing them when they get damaged.” “What makes Cellairis different from its competition,” Thornton said, “is that Cellairis develops its own branded products so the company doesn’t have to rely on purchasing products from outside vendors.
The Cellairis brand represents quality that’s cutting edge,” he said, “and customers know it will be around for along time, which provides comfort to them.
Training and Support
New franchisees are required to come to Atlanta where they go through Cellairis’ training regimen. That includes a full week of classroom and practical training. They then take over their unit and receive continual training through webinars and videos and through a field team that visits franchisees and helps with merchandising, sales techniques and purchasing. The field team offers advice, direction and best practices to help grow the business. “Because everything is constantly changing in the world of electronic devices,” Thornton said, “it’s important to stay attuned to what’s developing in the marketplace and provide what is current.”
“This organization is nimble in a space where you need to be nimble,” he pointed out.
With about 58 corporate stores to its name, the company is continuing to expand both domestically and internationally and Thornton sees international expansion as a real growth opportunity. As long as people keep buying mobile devices and keep wanting to protect and customize them, Cellairis will continue to have a strong market base.
For more information visit: www.cellairis.com