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Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

From Emblems to Empires: Franchisees Benefitting from Trademarks [Blog Talk Radio Episode]

Listen to this episode of "Business Talk"

Blog Talk Radio’s “Business Talk” show co-host, Jo-Anne Yau, presented, “From Emblems to Empires:  How Trademarks Become Franchises, Part II.”  Ms. Yau discussed what to expect when buying into an existing brand.

Today, Ms. Yau highlights a client who has successfully open up two franchises in the Jacksonville, Florida area.  Lauren Little, from Edible Arrangements, shares her experience and background before opening up her first store in 2006 and second in 2009. Edible Arrangements is an international franchise that focuses on hand designed fresh fruit bouquets that are available for delivery or pick up.  The business system is similar to sending flowers, but substitutes fresh fruit instead of flowers.

Ms. Little, who has a background in corporate business, knew she was interested in a retail specialty shop.  At a conference, an Edible Arrangements representative brought in samples and Ms. Little was “in love at first sight,” as she knew they would make the perfect gift.  There is no surprise that she is as successful since Franchisor/Franchisee relationships are generally long term, lasting from 10 to 20 years. 

As part of the due diligence in considering a franchise purchase is having a franchise attorney review the FDD (Franchise Disclosure Statement).  The attorney evaluates the FDD and takes a close look at different industries, comparing and cross-referencing what would be a good fit.  Ms. Little did the research and also stopped in to the Small Business Administration office to talk to experts and visited the site.  “Self Assessment” is what she maintains helped her in the long run.  You have to know what you want to do and know what you are willing to do to bring to the table.  You should ask yourself who you are as a business owner.

For Ms. Little, stability, competition, potential revenue, and support from the franchisor were the most important.  She didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.  She asserts that she was lucky enough that she has a good relationship with other Edible Arrangements franchisees.  They share a support network and openly exchange ideas.  In her support network, they don’t see each other as competitors.

Edible Arrangements had experts ready to help Ms. Little find a location, but she took initiative and visited the local business centers like Beaver Street Enterprise Center and the Jacksonville Business Women’s Center.  She also hired an attorney to look at all the documents and hired an accountant.  Edible Arrangements held workshops, provided training, as well as mentorship.  The Jacksonville Women’s Center provided a mentor program.  The Beaver Street Enterprise Center offered workshops on marketing, human resources, and disaster planning, among others.  Ms. Little took as many workshops as she could.

She loves that her franchisor helps her with computerized training and marketing, quality control and services; and the freedom of leaving the heavy risk to her franchisor.  She admits there are struggles.  Her advice to the many people who are looking to get into business because they think it’s glamorous, “you may see the glory, but you don’t know the story.”  She admits it’s a lot of hard work and those interested must be open to change.  Ms. Little certainly is, as Jacksonville Women’s Business Owner 2002 Franchisee of the Year, she attributes her success to getting her face known, and working untraditional hours.

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