1. How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?
Bellies to Babies was founded in 2008 by a mother who, while pregnant, had a tough time finding maternity clothing, and on top of that, the items she was able to locate were crazy expensive. She decided to do something about it and Bellies to Babies was born out of a garage in summer 2008. The company grew year after year until 2014 when it was acquired by an owner who really saw a vision for the brand, and the business started to experience explosive growth.
2. What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?
The original vision has stayed the exact same: provide a location for expectant women that has a huge selection of maternity clothing for 80% off department store prices and offer new moms a place to make money after their pregnancy by selling back their maternity clothing.
3. What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
Knowing the system you are buying into and who will be your go-to person for questions and support. Bellies to Babies owners are assigned a franchise support team member that they can contact 24/7 for any issues or questions.
4. Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?
At Bellies to Babies, we have an exact system and process that makes our stores successful, but we allow flexibility so each owner can make the store feel like their own and fit their community’s needs. We are also there to support our franchisees from Day 1 to forever. Other franchisors in our category carry heavy start-up costs and provide little help when it comes to getting inventory and basic needs, but with Bellies to Babies, our owners are given several different options to get inventory fast and any supplies through our headquarters, saving time and money.
5. What makes your industry attractive?
As long as the world keeps spinning, women will keep having children, so this industry is not going anywhere and is only growing as maternity fashion evolves and women want to be more environmentally responsible with secondhand clothing.
6. What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
We look for people who have always wanted to be their own boss and are excited to do something new that they truly believe in and want to not only be a success in their own right, but have a positive impact in their community.
7. What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
Our initial investment and ongoing payments cover the POS (point of sale) system in store, website upkeep, trade secrets, manuals, operations guides, baseline local marketing expenses, our full-time support, and the tools needed to run business operations day to day.
8. How do territories work for your franchisees?
Each franchise is protected by a certain radius / trade area.
9. Why has your franchise model been successful?
We constantly test new programs and processes in our corporate stores to find what does and does not work, then pass the successful functions onto our franchisees time and time again. We also are the first mover in the maternity resale industry where there is little competition and a lot of growth opportunity.
10. Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
We see our family of franchisees expanding to over 100 locations in 5 years and in 10 years to 250 locations throughout the U.S. Through this expansion, we will be able to leverage our brand name even more than we can today, raising awareness in the communities we are located in, in turn, increasing sales for our owners.
11. What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Ask plenty of questions of our franchise team and really focus on each customer to provide them with the best service, which will in turn increase per order sales, growing your store year after year.
12. What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
You can’t just slowly creep into a new opportunity, you have to take the big jump and that takes an investment of some sort to make that happen. When it comes to franchises, you are not just paying someone to give you a name, you are paying for all of the proven systems and processes that have been tried and proven for you, so you don’t have to make the costly mistakes as a new business owner.
13. Can you explain your financial assistance (if applicable)?
We do not offer financial assistance but can help you find the right people to connect with.
14. On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
Depending on how fast you would like to go, a store can be opened within 60 days.
15. What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
Dan Canfield is president of Bump Franchising and before that was marketing director for a startup in San Francisco, ran an importing company that sold home goods, consulted with companies in the e-commerce space, and then joined the Bump Franchising team.