The Scout & Molly’s franchise is a rare find in both franchise concepts and boutique chic storefronts. After only franchising for just two years at the beginning of 2016, they’ve grown to 60 stores and are expanding nationwide! Powered by the Franchise Development experts at Rhino 7 they are on track to grow another 30-40 units a year. This is a unique concept you will want to have on your radar.
As a boutique storefront (900-1,200 sq. ft.) catering to women of mid- to high-income households they fall into a niche that is typically not a franchise. Their locations are relaxed and comfortable and give you the feel like you’re in your best friend’s closet. Offering professionally curated clothes, accessories, jewelry, and shoes, each store is different and stocked with the styles and tastes of the local region. The designers and clothing lines that Scout & Molly’s carries are rarely found in other stores and even have special pieces only available at their stores.
However, Scout & Molly’s is more than just a retail store. Their helpful staff (avg. 4-5 employees) is there to assist each customer just as a personal shopper would – working with them to mix and match different pieces to create personalized outfits which fit their style. This focus on personal attention is to make sure that each customer feels comfortable and leaves looking and feeling great. A typical customer is a woman between 30-60 with disposable income who is looking for unique pieces rather than mass-marketed items.
Nesa Opp is a franchise developer with Rhino 7 and has also invested in a a Scout & Molly’s franchisee in Denver, Colorado. She says, “This is for women who want to look very good, but may want a little help with that. It’s a service, not just a retail store. We help with matching and combining pieces to create lots of different outfits. It’s a really fun experience that our customers really enjoy and keeps them coming back! Women love to look good but shopping can be daunting and time-consuming. I was working with this concept and I just fell in love with it!”
Manage the Manager: Semi-Passive Franchise Concept
You may be asking yourself how Nesa has the time to run a store while working full-time as a franchise developer with Rhino 7. It comes down to the Scout & Molly’s semi-absentee business model of “manage-the-manager.” Once a location is established the franchisees typically only work about 10-15 hours a week. Scout & Molly’s isn’t necessarily looking for someone with retail experience. Instead, they want someone who has management skills and can follow a process.
The manager works with the buyer to stock the stores, and work with corporate to ensure they’re on target. Scout & Molly’s corporate side monitors their franchisees’ numbers in real time and helps make recommendations based on inventory and sales tracked through their advanced mobile POS system.
Nesa says, “We have a lot of franchisees who have full-time jobs who are doing this. Our concept offers a lot of support from beginning all the way through the day-to-day operations. Finding the right location, buying the right inventory, and working with the retail specialists and analysts to buy and control inventory.”
To bring in new customers each franchisee regularly works with a Scout & Molly’s national PR agency and a marketing specialist. Each month they discuss ways to generate new business from grand openings, ongoing internet marketing, social media, and advertising. “We have an exceptional marketing and design team that create eye-catching ‘call to action’ material.”
There are three revenue streams available – the store, online sales either through social media, and independent contractors who conduct local private style shows.
The private style shows work like this: A show scout will meet with the location and scan out several items that they will bring to their party. Each party is facilitated by the private contractor where they would bring several women together to have their own fashion party and even do closet consultations. Any pieces that aren’t purchased are brought back to the store and scanned back in. The scouts are then paid a commission on what they’ve sold.
Scout & Molly’s also does a lot of work with non-profit organizations, and each location is encouraged to embrace and work with the causes in which they believe. This part of the culture comes from the founder of the company, Lisa Kornstein. Lisa was diagnosed in her 30’s with multiple sclerosis and has consistently given back to that cause.
The locations co-market with their non-profit organization to draw in people for a special drive. At these events a certain percentage of the profits are donated to the non-profit organization. In Nesa’s case, she focuses on causes which support women and enrich her community.
How Scout & Molly’s Works with Franchise Consultants
When it comes to working with franchise consultants to place franchisees, clients and brokers are in good hands. The Rhino 7 team has over 20 years of experience and is one of the most professional groups you can work with.
Nesa says “We take the approach to be very communicative with the consultants and approach it as a team. Right from the beginning there is a lot of back and forth where we make sure the broker knows how we work. I’m always looking to establish strong relationships with them.
It’s always great working with franchise consultants who get it. Last year I closed six deals with one broker alone who just understood the model. They were able to find the right candidates and we would close them. Our average close date is around 40 days. Of course, some deals take longer, we’re not going to rush the process just to get a sale. It’s an important decision and we want to ensure the quality of our franchisees.
We’re very careful to find the right fit for this concept. They have to have the experience and convince us that they have what it takes to be successful. People often think that this concept is just for women, but that’s not really true. Think about it – it’s a strong, semi-absentee model with repeat die-hard customers. No matter how you look at it that’s a strong business to be in.”
FBA Consultant Jane Stein from Your Franchise is Waiting gets it. She recently closed a three-unit deal to a client of hers. “I really like this concept. It’s fun and simple and I really like the manage-the-manager model and how scalable it is. I always have this in the back of my mind when I’m speaking to clients wanting a semi-absentee opportunity.”
We’ll share more details about Jane’s deal in another blog. Sign up for our Newsletter to stay up to speed with this and other growing franchise concepts.