In this exclusive Q&A, we will be learning about Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More from one of its franchisees, Stacy Bennett.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us more about Big Frog.
Stacy Bennett (SB): Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More is a franchise specializing in custom decorated apparel. Our business model allows anyone who needs one shirt or 10,000 shirts, to actually come into a retail storefront, speak with a real person and pick out the garment or accessory they want after viewing samples throughout the store.
The goal for every Big Frog store is to find success within the community by operating a customer-centric business. A successful franchisee enjoys creating relationships with local residents and businesses alike.
What’s really special about the business is our ability to play a small part in major life events for our customers, such as birthday parties, weddings, family vacations and even memorials. It’s tough work, but the reward is the opportunity to connect with those around us.
FC: What were you doing before you became a Big Frog franchisee?
SB: I am a native Arkansan, and returned to Arkansas after 20 years to work on a Walmart Supplier team. I worked my way through various roles beginning in data and analytics, to supply chain, to team leadership and eventually expanded through other roles into selling and servicing most of the largest U.S. retailers and dominant regional retailers. I worked in Consumer Packaged Goods for over 25 years.
I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug at age 27. I left corporate America to start my own transportation company. While that particular experience was somewhat short-lived, it laid the foundation for my business ownership knowledge and experience.
Sometime during the economic disaster, I simply became disenchanted with corporate culture and finally came to terms with the fact that I needed to leave my environment in search of a personally fulfilling career.
FC: How did you decide to get involved with franchising?
SB: Honestly, it was purely by accident! As a business professional, I am a LinkedIn advocate. One day, I accidentally stumbled upon a former colleague who had become a Big Frog franchisee. The brand logo itself is what initially drew me in, as I love frogs and had never seen one so smartly outfitted in an orange t-shirt!
I started to research the franchise opportunity. The more I looked into it, the more I realized how much this business fit into my purpose statement: ‘help everyday people do everyday things every day.’ In 2012, I decided to take a leap of faith and applied for a business loan so that I could be the owner of my own Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More location.
FC: We understand you were able to achieve considerable growth during your first years of business, how were you able to see such fast success?
SB: Repeat, repeat, repeat! I get up every day with the mindset that we can do well and we can make a difference. A consistently positive attitude and sheer determination will never fail you.
I bought into the Big Frog franchise because I believed in the business model and the culture; the true achievements came when I became knowledgeable enough to tweak our business model and services to fit my local clientele’s needs.
In our global economy, I stand firm in my belief that the customer experience is about the only thing that will differentiate one retailer from the next.
FC: What advice do you have for others who are looking to make the leap into the franchising world?
SB: Do your due diligence in order to find something that’s a good fit for you personally. It’s one thing to find a sustainable business model – it’s another to find a business that you can truly enjoy and grow with.
I would also recommend treating your franchise like a startup; while you’ll have the support of your franchisor, you need to view it as a local business catering to local needs. When you put your whole heart and soul into the concept, great things can happen.
FC: Do you have any “best practices” for creating new and lasting relationships within your community?
SB: As the old saying goes, a happy customer will tell two people about their experience while an unhappy one will tell 10.
Focus on making your customer happy every single time he or she walks through your doors, not just the first time they come in. Let them see you as a real person with a true desire to serve them through quality product offerings and services. These days, a friendly hello and honest support goes a long way.
FC: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned on your entrepreneurial journey?
SB: I have three words for you: enjoy the ride. Every new mile provides adventure and every bump in the road is there to keep you alert and focused. It’s not always going to be easy and sometimes you’ll want to turn around and just go home, but as long as you keep moving forward, you will be able to reflect on the total ride and not just the potholes. And wow, what a ride it is!