ANSWERS TO ALL YOUR QUESTIONS! Once your application is submitted, you will be given access into our password protected portal of resources and support. This portal includes videos, recorded webinars, visuals and details about our programs, support, services and resources that are listed below.
Our training program has been crafted and perfected over the past 25 years of teaching and preparing those with and without retail backgrounds - all aspects of operating a successful retail business. You will begin with a comprehensive Home Training program followed with a 5-day Corporate Training session at our Headquarters in Vacaville, CA. We then come to your store for set up, merchandising and training followed by a 120 day Post-Opening Support Program to instill strong and effective habits. Continuing education, networking, webinars and ongoing training is always going on. We are all never done learning!
Nobody does it like we do! Location and fit are so important that we come out to meet you and spend a day getting to know each other while also meeting with leasing representatives and touring potential locations that we research prior to the visit. This initial visit is at our expense and before a franchise is even awarded, because....fit and location are really that important! We combine what we learn together with custom modeling to determine the best trade areas and sites for an Apricot Lane store(s). It is truly an exercise of art and science to help us determine the best location.
Once a location is secured, you will be given a very detailed and comprehensive Countdown Chart that details everything that must get done by your opening date. It assigns who is responsible, when it needs to be accomplished and references our Operations Manual for background information. A weekly conference call together checking off our progress together ensures nothing is falling through the cracks - that reassurance allows you and us to sleep at night!
We outsource your plans and construction management to Kevin Winn, "The Plans Guy" while overseeing your progress. Kevin is not a licensed architect which saves you money. If an architect or engineer is required, Kevin will make those arrangements. He has been doing Apricot Lane plans for years and you couldn't be in better hands nor have to worry about where to find the resource to get your store planned and built.
We give you a choice of design options, color pallets and fixtures all packaged together with the ability to add some of your own unique options. Each Apricot Lane Boutique is "unique" - so it's NOT our way or the highway! We want you to be part of this process - you WON'T get a store in a box.
We outsource to a bookkeeping company called Ceterus. Imagine not having to worry about any of your bookkeeping, payroll or sales tax filings. Ceterus will have viewable access to your checking, credit cards, payroll company, POS system. All you need to do is write checks, charge on your credit card, make sales, call in your payroll hours and Ceterus takes care of all the rest! Monthly Profit & Loss statements and a financial dashboard keeps you on top of the financial health of your business. Whew, what a relief!
Oh my gosh! We can't wait to show you details on how we use technology in so many ways to help you run your boutique. Too much to get into here - make sure to schedule your call and return your application to get access into our portal with all the details!
One of the big benefits of our franchise is the buying flexibility we give you to cater to your local customer with the brands you and your customer are looking for. That flexibility really is our strength. Instead of us telling you what you can and can’t carry, besides our corporate buyers, we have buyers all over the United States - they are called franchisees - sharing what's working and what's not. No pre-approval required or restrictions to carry any available brands.
We buy broad and shallow. Our customers know that if they don't buy it now, it won't be here next week. New merchandise arrives weekly. We work with you to set up your initial merchandise plan broken down by category percentages using the intelligence of what brands are selling in our stores across the country. In addition, you will have access to our exclusive buyer in the Los Angeles Fashion District to get first run merchandise that typically is taken up by the large chains and department stores. Your local boutique competitors will be buying 2nd-4th run cuts once they become available on fashion wholesale sites. We are long gone and onto the next 1st run cut - ahead of the local competition!
The quality of your staff is critical to your success. We pour into resources essential to developing your team. We hire and train "Stylists" who know how to outfit your customers, work a dressing room and create lasting customer relationships. Programs established and refined over the past 24 years are at your fingertips including a comprehensive customer service module consisting of videos and development guides; job descriptions and hiring processes; sample schedules; orientation program and a complete automated staff development program that tracks your staffs progress and scores.
A complete and comprehensive visual merchandising manual will provide you will the tools to create beautiful visual displays. In addition, our staff visual merchandiser is available anytime to FaceTime your displays and provide assistance. Our resources and support is available to work with your talented team member who is "gifted" in display to ensure an ongoing beautiful and compelling experience for your customers.
We have partnered with the CAMBEO GROUP, a retail consultant group with expertise in human resources, finances, marketing, operations, strategic planning and leadership. Combining their resources with our staff, resources and 24 years of franchise experience gives you the confidence that support is there for you not just in getting your store open, but year after year in your journey as an Apricot Lane Boutique franchisee.
As you get access into our resources portal, you will see CAMBEO'S online password protected resource library that includes: Store and staff assessments; customer surveys; learning library; video library; Apricot Lane Confidential Operations Manuals; development guides and the automated staff development training programs.
At Apricot Lane, we pride ourselves in providing the best customer experience in retail fashion. We can evaluate this with a custom mystery shopping program, scheduled FaceTime walk-throughs of your store, customer surveys, and field visits anytime upon request.
We have been supporting franchisees for over 24 years and we will never stop learning and neither will you! Being part of a strong franchise brings learning opportunities not available on your own. We take learning seriously and provide an annual learning conference, ongoing recorded and archived webinars, monthly networking calls and communication systems for everyone to share.
After several years of testing and trying different models, we now allow our stores to grow their business via e-Commerce either though our own branded and approved site powered by Shopify or through our approved partner, Shoptiques - an e-Commerce platform with over 4,000 boutiques from all over the world. Sales are no longer limited to your brick and mortar storefront, but now your customers, their family and friends from all over the country can shop your store!
We have an in-house advertising agency to meet your marketing, social media and public relation needs complete with custom fulfillment to meet your local or center needs. You will get a complete rundown of all our marketing resources and the technology to plan and complete your marketing and social media strategies.
Our Vision is to always be the leading women's fashion boutique franchise while making a positive impact in the lives of people. We say, "people" because that means not just our franchisees, but also our staff, the local communities surrounding every Apricot Lane Boutique and people around the world through our non-profit, 3Strands. We provide a free opt-in subscription of Right Now Media to every franchisee, staff and all their families which gives access to over 5,000 videos from faith based leaders on such topics as parenting, finances, leadership, business and marriage to help make a positive impact in the lives of people.
West Palm Beach
Los Altos, PA