Washington franchisee discusses the rewards and benefits of JBF ownership
Just Between Friends franchise owner Allison Stephens is a successful, seasoned veteran of our company. Since she began her Tacoma, Washington, business nine years ago, Allison has grown her sales almost 12-fold to become the third largest event among our franchisees. What makes Allison continue with her business? What rewards does she receive? What should someone look for when deciding if buying a JBF franchise is a right move? We asked Allison these questions and more. Here’s what she had to say.
Allison Stephens discusses Just Between Friends franchise ownership
Q: What do you like best about being a JBF franchisee?A: A couple of things. I love the way it lets me serve my community. I do think the community impact part is probably my number one reason, closely followed by getting to make some extra income. It would not be worth all the work if we didn’t actually make money. I love seeing families who are blessed because they got to shop, or they got to sell, or they got to do both. Seeing the donations go to all of our charities is huge. Having lots of extra income for my family is awesome. Next would be the relationships that I’ve formed through it. I have a day job, too, and I work at a university, so I hang out with college-age people all the time. Twice a year, at my events, I get to hang out with my people. It’s awesome. It’s like a reunion every six months. Q: What does it take for a JBF franchisee to be successful?A: First of all, location, location, location! You cannot be profitable if you don’t have a venue. I cannot say that enough. No matter who you are or how good you are, I think venue and location are everything. Second, I would say it depends on the owner. I find myself relying on my communication skills. I don’t have a marketing background, but I have a communication background, and that’s enough to get started because it’s all communication anyway. Owners need communication skills, organizational skills and then relational pieces. Every interaction I have with people over email or social media or face-to-face is warm and friendly and caring. It cannot be transactional. It has to be relational regarding how you approach things. What I’ve found success doing is creating a JBF family culture. We welcome people into our JBF family. Once you’re here, you’re family. Q: How has your JBF sale grown since you started in 2009?A: We started out with 79 consignors for the very first event. At my last event, we had 920. My sale is the third largest event in the country at this point. It’s been all about the venue and community. I have a population that is working class, heavy military, and lots of turnover in the military. Those are the people that I serve, and it’s the perfect population for this kind of business. It’s not me that has made that growth happen, but it is just the perfect fit for my community; they embraced it, and it’s become a “we” thing. Sometimes it has had growth spurts that have been almost too fast for me, to be quite honest; and, it has been a blessing to see it grow. It has been a way for me to bless my community by providing a place for families to buy and sell items for their kids. Q: What makes Just Between Friends stand out among your competitors?A: I do think we have the best technology and the best brand regarding the tools we have for marketing. I think our website is better than any other consignment chain. We focus on innovations when it comes to the next generation of moms and how they provide for their families. I think that’s an advantage. The rates we pay out are reasonable and competitive. Q: What would you tell someone who asked you about starting a JBF franchise in their community?A: I would say, "It’s awesome. You’re going to love it." The very next thing would be, "What’s your community like? Do you have a venue in mind? Are there other similar things already existing in your community?" I think ideally, people are going to have a better ramp-up to success if they don’t have any competition and if they have a really good venue and a community who needs JBF. That would be my recipe for success in an ideal world.
Bring Just Between Friends franchise to your community
Now is an ideal time to bring a JBF consignment sales event franchise to your area. We are actively recruiting passionate entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in their communities while earning extra income for their families. Learn more about franchising with us by exploring our research pages or requesting a copy of our free Franchise Information Report.