Before you become an Apricot Lane franchise owner, you probably have some questions about how we do things, what we expect from our franchisees, and a host of other topics.
While many of your questions are answered throughout our comprehensive website, we also put together this list of commonly asked questions and an orientation video to help you as you learn about our brand. Watch the video, read through these FAQs, and then contact us to learn even more!
Apricot Lane Discovery Day
How is Apricot Lane Boutique different from the competition?
We stand apart from the competition in our commitment to empowering our customers and offering them the most cutting-edge styles quickly and affordably.
Boutique Philosophy—Unlike the big stores that compete with us for customers, we carry a limited selection of each style, giving our shoppers a unique experience from store to store.
E-Commerce at the Store Level—Even though we are primarily a boutique, customers can still shop online. Finding their favorite styles online is easy, and the other fashion boutique franchises cannot offer online shopping to their customers.
All Seasons Shopping—Shoppers no longer look for big collections at the start of each season. Instead, they want to be able to find the pieces that make a statement NOW, following the trends that they see on Instagram, fashion blogs, and runways. Apricot Lane brings in new items weekly, keeping up to date at all times.
Personalized Experience—Just like our unique clothing pieces, Apricot Lane stores create an intimate, specialized shopping experience that these mass-market retailers cannot compete with in their large stores.
Why should I consider an Apricot Lane Boutique franchise?
Imagine waking up each morning and looking forward to doing something you love. That’s not a dream, but a possibility with Apricot Lane Boutique. When you join the Apricot Lane franchise family, you are investing in more than a fashion franchise; it is also an investment in your future. Check out all the reasons WHY now!
How do I get started?
It all begins by scheduling an “Introduction to Apricot Lane” phone call with our Franchise Development representative. Just click here to schedule your call!
How much does it cost to start an Apricot Lane Boutique franchise?
The typical investment is $225,000 (does not include working capital) for the first-time franchisee, and this includes the initial franchise fee of $34,500, which is paid in two installments—$5,000 when you sign the Franchise Agreement, and the balance ($29,500) is paid when a Letter of Intent is agreed to on a specific location. For ongoing fees, you will pay a continuing royalty fee during the Term equal to 5.5% of gross revenue. Each store also pays into an Advertising Development Fund equal to 1% of gross revenue.
Can I get help with financing?
Most franchise candidates find they can fund their business by accessing capital they already have available through the equity in their home or by accessing qualifying retirement plans such as a 401k without incurring penalties or experiencing tax consequences. Financing options may also include third-party (family, friends, existing business partners) or traditional bank loans. If you are planning to obtain financing from a bank, they will require that you provide 25-30% of the investment from your own resources (about $75,000). Although Apricot Lane Boutique does not provide in-house financing, we can refer you to one of our preferred lender partners.
What are the steps to becoming a franchisee?
Because the right “fit” between you and us is critically important, click on our 10-Step Process to see how all the steps come together for you to become a franchisee.
What kind of support and continuing education will I receive?
Our STRENGTH! We support all our franchisees with the training, products, technology, and marketing assistance that they need to build their businesses with confidence. When you join the Apricot Lane family, you will always have the support you need to accomplish your goals. Take a TOUR through much of the onboarding process, continuing support, resources, and continuing education that we provide.
How much training and mentorship do franchisees receive?
Our training program has been crafted and perfected over the past 25 years of teaching and preparing all our franchisees—those with and without retail backgrounds—all aspects of operating a successful retail store franchise.
Home Training Program:
We start with a Home Training Program where you will go through our manuals and take tests on the content while also learning some of the software we use during your home training. From there, you’ll begin to learn the inventory management software on an Apple® computer that we send you complete with all the required software needed.
Corporate Training - 5-6 Days:
During classroom training in Vacaville, CA, we’ll focus on buying, store management, customer service, marketing, and inventory management. One to two of your days will be a field trip to the Los Angeles Fashion District where you will spend time with our on-site buyer for a big picture introduction to the fashion industry and meet some key suppliers.
On Location Training - 3-5 Days:
This is where you and your staff learn the art of visual merchandising from our merchandiser and store opener. In addition to setting displays, understanding sales systems, and training staff on customer service and product knowledge, you will be assured all the details are handled for a smooth and successful store opening.
Post Opening Training - Bottomless & Forever!
Our goal is to establish a strong foundation of good habits from the very beginning, so over the first 120 days, we will track your operations closely by reviewing reports during scheduled conference calls. During these check-ins, we will provide assistance with reordering, marketing implementation, and stat reviews. We all will never stop learning and our continuing education continues with ongoing webinars, monthly systemwide conference calls reviewing best practices, training conventions, private communications for us all to share within our system, and ongoing support is always just a phone call away.
Click on the link to learn more about our comprehensive Training Program.
What do you look for in a franchisee?
It’s everyone’s dream to go into work and do something they truly enjoy. That describes the day-to-day life of an Apricot Lane franchisee. Even if your prior business experience is limited, you should have a driving interest in learning more about our thriving industry, the fashion world, and staying current on the hottest new trends. Above all else, it’s important to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a determination to work through any obstacles you may encounter during the process.
It’s also important to remember: you won’t be in it alone. An Apricot Lane fashion boutique franchise offers you a proven business model, built-in brand awareness, and an infrastructure of training and support that is an attractive draw for many trapped in a corporate career. We fully understand that the process can be daunting, so we try to make taking advantage of our fashion franchise opportunity as simple as possible.
Is it realistic to think that someday I could own 4 or 5 locations?
Certainly! A great franchise system is validated by having multiple store franchisees. At Apricot Lane Boutique we have many franchisees who own multiple stores and we help you identify the right timing and in transitioning from one to multiple stores.
What is the term of the Franchise Agreement?
The Agreement has an initial term of ten (10) years plus two (2) five-year options.
What Return on Investment can I expect?
Actual results vary from location to location but we do post high, low, and average sales for our indoor and outdoor locations in Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), March 2018 (Provided to you as you enter our approval process). For example, we post the Average Sales for Top 50% of Stores at $800,248 in Item 19 of our March, 2018 FDD.
What is the typical size of an Apricot Lane Boutique store?
The typical size is between 1,300 to 3,700 square feet.
Can I continue to keep my current job, or do I have to manage the store full time?
We recommend that a franchisee be involved on a full-time basis with the business, but we know that is not always possible. In that case, we will work with you to hire a great fashion retail store manager.
How long will it take to open my store once I secure a location?
It typically takes about 90-120 days to open your store once the location has been secured.
Will I have help in the planning and build-out of my store?
Yes, we’ve done this many times! We outsource to a national architect firm very familiar with our concept who will complete your store plans. They can secure landlord approval, manage the contractor selection process by sending out bids to national contractors that they have years of experience with, negotiate the final price, and then even manage your construction process while you focus on hiring staff and preparing your store for opening.
How is merchandise selected for the store?
Based on your market demographics and local competition, we establish your initial merchandise plan broken down by category, classification, and styles with your input. The engine in our boutique is our customized computer POS (Point of Sale) system that tracks inventory sell through, margins, and turns so that you can react quickly to what your customer wants. Once your store is open, you will have access to our preferred and curated vendor database complete with already-negotiated leveraged discounts and terms to meet our customer needs. In addition, each franchisee has the flexibility to bring in new vendors discovered at different fashion markets, online and locally – so, beyond our corporate buyers, we really do have buyers all over the country…they are called, “franchisees”. We share together these great finds and what is working each month on a system-wide conference call.
YOU know your customer the very best, so YOU are the buyer. We don’t dictate or force products into your store. It is this buying flexibility and sharing that truly sets us apart from anyone else!
Does Apricot Lane Boutique have customer online ordering?
Yes, each store has the opportunity to expand their store sales through online sales. We set up the platforms and guidelines so that your customers can order online through social media or using your approved Apricot Lane Boutique e-Commerce platform powered by Shopify.
Do you help with finding the right location?
Location, Location, Location is so important! So, we answer, YES, YES, YES we help! We do things regarding “location” and “fit” very differently than any other franchise opportunity because the right “fit” between you and us is critically important to us in addition to the finding the right location. Our Founder, President of Retail, or our experienced real estate ambassador actually comes out to meet you in your market, on our dime before a franchise is awarded! All other franchise concepts make you come to them for their “Discovery Day” and they award a franchise requiring you to pay the entire non-refundable franchise fee upfront, before ever really knowing if the market and potential locations are a good fit. We actually research the market and set leasing appointments to SHOW you potential location opportunities during this valuable day of getting to know each other. The right “fit” and right “location” is that important to us! Only after this visit do we consider awarding a franchise and only require a $5,000 deposit toward your franchise fee as you execute our franchise agreement.
Can I speak with existing franchisees?
Of course! An important part of your due diligence process will be speaking with existing franchisees in various stages of growth. We validate very well and could not be growing at our pace if our franchisees were not happy and growing into more stores of their own! That said, we get many inquiries from new prospective franchisees, so, to respect the time of our existing franchisees, this step is typically reserved for prospective franchisees who have completed our application for consideration and have spoken to our Founder, Ken Petersen. However, when the time comes, prospective franchisees can speak to any current Apricot Lane Boutique franchisee. In the meantime, click on the links below to hear from our franchisees now:
When and how was Apricot Lane Boutique established?
Apricot Lane Boutique was launched in 2007 when the three partners of Country Visions, Inc (The franchise company for Apricot Lane) saw there was not a single franchised women’s fashion boutique opportunity available in the huge fashion industry market. They took their previous 15 years of franchise experience and intentionally went after the mom and daughter customer by curating a broad and shallow merchandise mix with price points of $100 or less, shattering the “boutique” stereotype of high prices.
What is the Vision and Mission Statement for Country Visions, the franchise company for Apricot Lane Boutique?
At Country Visions, the partners believe that God is really the Chairman of our Board and that we can’t take any of this with us when we die. It is what you do with what you’ve been blessed with that matters.
Vision Statement: To make a positive difference in the lives of people while being the best in class women’s boutique franchise.
Mission Statement: Do the right thing always.