Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - 54
APRICOT LANE BOUTIQUE
gramming and state-of-the-art pointof-sale systems.
"We have a network of franchisees who share what's working and
what isn't, and that's where the real
strength comes from," Petersen adds.
"We're learning from each other, and
some of our best answers and ideas
come from our franchisees."
By following its mission of "do the right thing,"
Apricot Lane believes its franchisees will make
a positive impact in their communities.
unique. Once that fit is right, we bring
them into the system we've prepared
for them through an initial home
The home training system is a series
of computer modules and tests that
franchisees conduct on their own time
while Apricot Lane tracks their progress. There is a lot to learn in retail, Petersen says, so after home training is a
one-week corporate training program
in Vacaville, Calif., followed by on-site
opening training and merchandising. After opening, the company goes
through a 120-day "hand-holding" period to ensure the franchisee is off to
a great start. And then, more training
is ongoing through webinars, video
training and annual continuing education conferences.
"Those first four months are critical; critical to create good habits so
they're not going down the wrong
road," Petersen says. "We'll focus
on that with monthly calls, guiding,
teaching and training, and then ease
that hand-holding back for as much as
they want or don't want. We provide
ongoing resources and opportunities
for our franchisees to pick and choose
what works best for them"
As additional support to its franchised stores, Apricot Lane enlisted
Cambeo Group, which specializes in
retail support and streamlining internal processes such as human resources, marketing, operations, financial
and social media. "I would have to hire
a whole bunch of people that would
provide the level of support Cambeo
brings," Petersen notes. "It's been a
phenomenal relationship." Through
this system, all the stores stay connected at the internal level.
Petersen says Apricot Lane is unique
because it can offer so much more
than a typical franchise establishment
thanks to its 24 years of franchising
experience, flexibility and culture. Its
franchising infrastructure gives franchisees "the opportunities that only
big retail stores typically enjoy." These
opportunities and resources include
leveraged buying, training modules,
store assessments, customer surveys,
automated employee training pro-
Apricot Lane's mission is: Do the right
thing. "We believe that if we're doing
that, we will accomplish our vision,
along with the right fit of finding franchisees who want to also make a positive impact in the lives of people and
their communities," Petersen says.
Apricot Lane wants its franchisees
to have causes they care about and
support. Petersen is very passionate
about the issue of human trafficking and has united with 3 Strands,
whose mission is to combat human
trafficking through sustainable employment, education and engagement
initiatives. Apricot Lane stores sell 3
Strands bracelets made by Cambodian girls who have escaped human trafficking. This issue is especially close
to Petersen's heart because one of the
Cambodian girls he hosted five years
ago is now his daughter. "I'm just really proud of our system to embrace an
issue like that."
Petersen is also proud of the culture he has created in Apricot Lane:
that everyone feels empowered to run
their own franchise and is dedicated
to both the stores and causes. "We exist solely to the support and success of
our franchisees," he says. "I'm proud
of the culture, our team, our franchisees and the way we support each other and the culture that's been born out
of that. We've been successful here,
and I think life's too short to not be
doing something you love."