Monthly Archives: July 2017

boutique franchise training

Get the Training You Need with Apricot Lane

The beauty of investing in an Apricot Lane boutique franchise is that you are going into business for yourself but not by yourself. Our top priority is seeing our franchisees thrive in their new role, which is why we emphasize training and support over virtually anything else. Making quality training our number one goal has allowed us to prepare and empower our franchisees to run strong businesses.

Training Is #1

In order to help you get your store up and running, our priority is training. The Apricot Lane training program leads the industry; we have 25 years of experience teaching our franchisees everything they need to know about opening and operating a boutique franchise.

Learn the Boutique Franchise Industry

Whether you are a long-time retail veteran or a new convert, there is a lot to learn to own a fashion boutique. Fashion and retail are fast-paced, and Apricot Lane franchisees have to keep up with today’s shopper who is always looking for a hot new look. Your store needs to keep up with the fashion bloggers and Instagram accounts in addition to what’s on seasonal runways and our training helps you accomplish that.

Part of your classroom training in California includes a trip to meet our onsite buyer in the Los Angeles Fashion District. Here you will get some insight into how our buyer works to find the beautiful and trendy styles that you can sell in your stores.

Additionally, training covers some important tasks that you will do as an owner, including:

  • Selecting styles
  • Managing your inventory
  • Merchandising and displaying goods

Learn the Brand

In our years in business, we have carefully cultivated our brand. Apricot Lane is a stylish brand that caters to women of all ages and tastes, and we have built a presence in major shopping areas throughout the country. As a boutique franchise, we are known for apparel, shoes, and accessories that customers love, in part because we carry limited runs of each item. That means that our shoppers will not see women all over town wearing the same styles as them like they do when they shop at mass-produced brand stores.

In addition to our exclusive feeling for customers, our franchisees get the benefit of working with an experienced brand. We have gone through the work of researching and testing software, point of sale systems, a company-wide intranet, and so much more. Your investment includes training and access to all of these things that help your business run smoothly.

Learn the Business

If you have never owned a business before, you can still be an Apricot Lane franchisee. A key part of our training program covers the ins and outs of owning a business, including all the hats you wear as a business owner. Throughout our self-guided classroom and on-site training programs, you will learn things like:

  • Managing personnel
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Providing good customer service
  • Training staff
  • Making sales
  • Much more

Taking the time to help our franchisees learn the basics of business ownership is one of our biggest strengths. Apricot Lane franchisees open their businesses with confidence. Even better, our training program is just one of the many ways that we support our franchise owners. Contact us to learn more about investing in Apricot Lane!

  • July 26, 2017
  • Blog
franchise opportunities

Why Stop at One? The Key to Opening Multiple Franchises

Multi-unit franchise ownership is an increasingly popular avenue that many investors are taking. It’s not hard to see the appeal of multi-unit franchise opportunities; owners get all the benefits of the franchise system, in addition to higher income and growth potential. Owning multiple franchise units comes with many benefits, including:

  • Additional revenue streams
  • Shared resources between units
  • Potential for higher income
  • Economy of scale advantages

But how does one go about opening multiple units? This venture is not for the faint of heart, but it has the potential to pay off in the long run. Take a look at these tips for owning and opening multiple franchise units, and think about how this strategy may work for you.

Use the Tools Available to You

The goal of a franchisor is to have strong franchisees who, in turn, help keep the business and the brand strong. In keeping with that goal, franchisors have a variety of tools available to franchisees and utilizing these tools will make franchising much easier. They are made available because they have been proven time and again to be effective with other franchisees.

An extra bonus that Apricot Lane multi-unit franchisees get is discounted franchise fees on all additional units. The franchise fee for your first unit is $34,500, which is standard for all of our franchisees. After that, each subsequent franchise fee is just $15,000. This substantial discount makes it even simpler to open multiple stores!

Find the Right Locations for Your Franchise Opportunities

Franchise opportunities that rely on customers coming to them cannot underestimate the value of the old saying “location, location, location.” This becomes even more critical when you add more stores to your portfolio, because each location needs to offer good visibility, adequate parking, and a handful of other factors that you look for in a perfect site.

As you are researching franchise opportunities, look for one that offers assistance with site selection and real estate. Franchises like Apricot Lane that have dedicated teams who help franchisees find the optimal locations are ideal for multi-unit owners.

Know Your Customers

With virtually all franchise opportunities, knowing your customers is the most important factor that influences your success. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so being able to cater to them and connect with them will make all the difference. Just like your location, knowing your customers becomes more and more important as you open more units.

The good news? At Apricot Lane, we know our customers and we give our franchisees valuable insight into the people who shop at our stores. Our training and experience helps you know your customer before you get started. Then, as you open more stores and your knowledge grows, you can benefit from your own experience meeting your customers’ needs.

Keep Things in Perspective

Remember that investing in multiple units takes time. This is a larger scale investment than just opening one franchise, so keep your eye on the bigger picture throughout this process. Here are some encouraging things to remember about multi-unit franchising while you are doing all the work to get your businesses going:

  • Franchisors like to work with one owner of multiple units more than several owners of one unit each
  • There are nearly half a million franchises in the United States, and 53% of them are owned by multi-unit operators
  • Multi-unit business owners are among the wealthiest people in the small business category
  • As time goes on, the process of opening a store becomes easier as you gain more familiarity—training employees, marketing, and connecting with customers all come easier with every store

Keeping your long-term goals in mind will help you as you go over some of the smaller hurdles. As we said, multi-unit franchising isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you are willing to put in the work and the investment it can be an amazing strategy.

Ready to learn more about multi-unit franchise opportunities with Apricot Lane? Contact us!

  • July 19, 2017
  • Blog
women’s fashion franchise creativity

“Franchising Will Snuff Out My Creativity” and Other Misconceptions

“Franchising Will Snuff Out My Creativity.”

A common myth in franchising—especially among creative people—is that the franchise system will eliminate all individuality and creativity. While it is true that franchisees are required to follow the systems and procedures laid out by the franchisee for general operations, there is still plenty of room to make your own mark on your business.

As a franchisee, you are in charge of personnel, local and regional marketing, and so much more. If you open a women’s fashion franchise like Apricot Lane Boutique, you are also free to choose the styles you carry in your store, the way you display and merchandise products, and sometimes even sales and promotions.

When it comes down to it, most franchisors encourage creativity in their franchisees. For one thing, franchisees are often the source of great ideas—we have all heard that it was a McDonald’s franchisee who invented the Big Mac. Additionally, your success is critical to the greater brand’s success, which motivates the franchisor to allow you to take some risks and try new things.

“The Franchisor Takes All the Profits.”

This common misconception is patently untrue. A franchise that is worth investing in—whether it’s a women’s fashion franchise or an opportunity in any other industry—takes a small percentage as royalties and leaves you with the rest to make your living and pay your overhead. Typical franchise royalties are only 6% of your income; that hardly qualifies as all of the profits.

It is important to remember, too, that one of the reasons to invest in a franchise is to benefit from the support, resources, and experience of the brand. These royalties grant you continued access to things like a company intranet or marketing materials, which make your business run smoothly.

“I’ve Never Owned a Women’s Fashion Franchise Before, So I Don’t Have What It Takes.”

A fear that keeps many people from investigating franchising is that they don’t have experience as a business owner, so they don’t think they have what it takes to own a franchise. It breaks our hearts to think of the talented, hard-working people out there who never gave themselves a chance because this fear is completely unfounded!

Franchising gives an amazing opportunity to unexperienced entrepreneurs, because it allows you to own a business without a lot of the guesswork. Franchises have already done a lot of the work for you, including:

  • Writing operations manuals
  • Choosing a name and products
  • Researching systems and software
  • Testing best practices

All you have to do as a franchisee is learn the system and get to work! The best part? Before you can open for business you will have comprehensive training that shows you the ropes of the brand and the industry, giving you even more knowledge and preparation.

People from a variety of backgrounds do well in franchising. Why? Because the skills you have learned in your life and at your various jobs are transferable. Experience in a corporate world turns into the ability to delegate, manage, market, and sell. Experience in retail turns into amazing customer service skills. Experience as a teacher turns into the ability to communicate well. Transfer your skills into franchise ownership, and we think you’ll be surprised at what you have to offer.

Apricot Lane is a women’s fashion franchise that is currently expanding into territories all over the United States. You can learn more about our opportunity by visiting our website.

  • July 11, 2017
  • Blog
clothing franchises

4 Frequently Asked Questions About Franchising with Apricot Lane

Before you take the leap and invest in an Apricot Lane franchise, we want to help you prepare and learn everything you can about our opportunity. Before investing in a clothing franchise, you need to understand the investment. That’s why we have added the most frequently asked questions to our site (click here for more FAQs).

Read through these 4 commonly asked questions to learn a little bit more about our opportunity.

#1 What Are Some Funding Options for Investing in a Franchise?

Financing a franchise doesn’t have to be a difficult process. There are a variety of financing options for clothing franchises, and finding one that works for you doesn’t need to be difficult. Some of the financing options that franchisees use include:

  • Savings and retirement accounts
  • Friends and family
  • Small Business Administration loan
  • Traditional loan

At Apricot Lane, we have a preferred lender that we recommend our franchisees use, if that is the route they choose to go. This lender, Guidant Financial, works specifically with franchisees and has the expertise to help you through the process.

#2 What if I want to invest the money and have my child run the business?

The trend of parents investing money in franchises for their children is not dying away. Consultants estimate that as many as 20% of franchise sales fit this mold, as it seems to be working for both parties. An Apricot Lane franchise is the perfect fit for this kind of investment strategy, and we work with our franchisees to find the right balance for them.

#3 Do I Get to Retain My Creativity with the Products I Sell and the Displays I Create?

Clothing, style, and fashion are all incredibly creative, and the typical Apricot Lane investor is a creative person. Because of that, we encourage our franchisees to be expressive using their stores as a continuation of themselves.

We have guidelines in place to give our brand continuity, but outside of these you have freedom to pick the styles you sell and display them as you see fit. As long as you are in keeping with the guidelines you will have a higher chance of success. Remember, we have franchisees all over the country who use these guidelines, and we have found that they are the most efficient way to see your store succeed.

#4 Who Is the Ideal Franchisee Candidate for Clothing Franchises?

The beauty of Apricot Lane is that it is an opportunity that works well with a variety of people in a variety of markets. We have franchisees from all backgrounds and they have been able to succeed with our model and their hard work.

Diversity contributes to our strong company, so we do not limit ourselves to franchise candidates from any one background or work experience. Instead, we look for people with a set of characteristics and personality traits that work well in franchising. Some of these include:

  • Willingness to follow proven systems
  • Passion for hard work
  • Ability to make and meet goals
  • Interest in empowering self and community

Learning about a franchise before you invest is a smart idea. That’s the best way to ensure that you are choosing a smart opportunity, because clothing franchises are not all created equal. Check out the Apricot Lane franchise process, and see how we can make your dream of business ownership come true!

  • July 3, 2017
  • Blog

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