More women than ever are taking their careers into their own hands, by owning and operating a franchise business. According to FranNet, a company that connects people with franchise opportunities, female franchise ownership jumped by 83 percent between 2011 and 2017. For married women, that can mean navigating a new relationship with a spouse who may or may not be active in the daily business operation. Fortunately for women who own an NTY Franchise Company brand, there is a solid business model to help them balance work, family and personal time.
ANGIE AND JEFF GELDERT WORK THE NUMBERS
Fifty-two-year-old Angie Geldert left her long-time teaching career to purchase a Children’s Orchard kids clothing franchise in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, two years ago. She knew she needed a change, and had the luxury of being married to an accountant who could help her keep track of the store’s finances. Angie says the business model of her NTY Franchise Company brand allows her to spend more time with her family, and work with them to grow her new business.
“My daughter is an accounting major and she is the store manager while she continues to study for her degree,” Angie explains. “She’s a great partner.”
Angie also enjoys her new business relationship with her husband, Jeff. “There are different stressors now,” she allows, “but it’s something we have done together.” Jeff does the books for the store, and Angie says he’s always willing to lend a hand whenever she needs it. “He helps with purchases, with storage… and it’s nice to have someone around who can lift more than I can,” she laughs. “We like bouncing ideas off each other.”
Jeff agrees, saying he appreciates how his wife took on the challenge of operating her upscale resale franchise. “It’s great — she’s put a lot of effort into it. At first we were nervous, but we’re much happier now that things are catching on. I’m proud of her; she’s worked very hard.”
And the numbers bear that out: Jeff says the sales growth is ahead of schedule. “We were expecting it to be slow to begin with, but in the middle of last year, sales started to show double-digit increases. We are seeing monthly growth in sales of 17 to 30 percent (over the same period last year).”
THE BARNETTS’ LEAP OF FAITH
When Chris Barnett purchased her Clothes Mentor women’s fashion franchise in Pennsylvania five years ago, she knew it was a leap of faith. She and her husband Stephen jettisoned their corporate careers and plunged into operating their franchise. They wanted to have more control over their lives, and teach their values to their 10-year-old daughter, Eliza. They still work long hours, but they’re in charge of their time.
“We are in the store most days, but we are working on the business every day,” Chris said. Still, they are able to spend quality time with their daughter while they work. “Eliza comes into the store every weekend, and two to four times during the week.”
The business model has proved to be a winner for the Barnetts. Just 18 months after opening their store, they bought a second Clothes Mentor franchise. “Having multiple locations allows us to have economy of scale,” Chris says. Even so, she says, they couldn’t have done it without the support they received from the NTY Franchise Company corporate team.
“They give us the tools and as much hand-holding as we need. They have great regional advisors who help us with marketing. What gets scary, though, is… it’s your business, your baby. They give you a strong foundation, but you have to take care of the rest of your house.” With a five-year track record, the Barnetts’ house appears to be in great shape.
THE CHERNEYS’ JOURNEY
Thirty-three-year-old Sadie Cherney earned her master’s degree, married her husband Bill three months later, and moved across the country to open a Clothes Mentor franchise in South Carolina soon afterward. This dynamic duo are also parents of two sons under the age of 3. They now own three Clothes Mentor women’s resale stores, and they credit the NTY Franchise Company business model with helping them achieve career success at a young age.
“The best part is the wealth of data from the point of sales system,” Sadie acknowledges. “They are always crunching numbers and that helps franchise owners. Back-of-the-house data is always available to franchisees. The company is wonderful, supportive and communicative.”
Bill was an English teacher when Sadie opened her first location. A year later, they were starting their family so Bill quit his job to make sure there wasn’t a loss in leadership during Sadie’s maternity leave. Sadie returned to work after the birth of their son, but shortly thereafter, their child suffered a health scare. The NTY Franchise business model made it possible for Sadie to be with their toddler when he needed her most.
“Our two-year-old son was hospitalized last year with a critical illness, and I basically lived at the hospital,” Sadie confides. “The flexibility we have with this company is incredible. It really makes such a difference when you have a crisis. We have built up a team that’s like a family. They’re there when we need them.”
With their son healthy again, Sadie and Bill are focused on raising their boys and growing their business. “To be successful, we have to work closely together. Sometimes it’s challenging, especially if we need our own space after work, but we go home together. What works best for us is that we don’t try to be in charge at the same time,” Sadie chuckles.
“MOORE” SUCCESS IN LITTLE ROCK
The Moore family owns two Clothes Mentor women’s resale clothing franchises and a Children’s Orchard kids clothing franchise in Little Rock, Arkansas. Twenty-nine-year-old Jade Moore runs the stores and feels supported by the NTY Franchise Company business model. It has allowed her 31-year-old husband Turner to pursue his calling as Junior High Pastor at their church.
“He is a humble man who is encouraging and motivating to me,” Jade beams. “He is the greatest at lifting my arms up when I am tired or calming me down when I make a rash decision. I’m blessed to have him as my support.”
Jade appreciates the NTY philosophy of offering high-quality clothing at affordable prices to families in her community. She’s also thrilled that unsold clothing is donated to needy families. “It’s part of a new way of living… allowing less-fortunate parents to say they can give to their children.”
The NTY Franchise Company business model works well for all of these female franchisees. The corporate support, with flexibility for local owners, is a winning combination. Franchise owners are able to build a business while staying connected to the people they love. It’s a family-friendly concept that helps working women achieve the balance they crave in their personal and professional lives.