Franchise- the word derives from France meaning honesty or freedom. Not a typical thought when it comes to some mainstream chain stores, but a few high end whole lifestyle franchises give both the consumer and the small entrepreneur a value that is true to the sense of the words freedom and honesty. Freedom in the sense of being able to choose a lifestyle based on desirable healthy holistic practices and honesty in that the management teams have hit upon proven successful businesses with a cooperative backup support system. In all goes hand in hand when a franchise owner understands support from his/her management team in how it plays in the arena of the retailer’s relationship to the consumer. According to the Natural Marketing Institute, consumers known as LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) constituent 23% of the American buying public. While “Purity and detoxification” were the leading wellness trends of product launches in 2006, the current focus of this healthy consumer market is moving toward a complete package approach that supports better living lifestyles.
Jamba Juice whose motto is “Today is the first day of the rest of your health” is a perfect example of this trend. According to their website http://www.jambajuice.com, Jamba Juice is not just about customer service, its all about the lifestyle. Making their smoothies from 100% real fruit and juice concentrates, Jamba functional drinks like Heart Defender, Protein Berry Workout or Coldbuster caters to the customer who wants both convenience and healthy living. This made for a great partnership as Jamba Juice entered into strategic operating agreements to open stores within several Whole Foods locations in 1997.
“I’m surprised there aren’t more companies creating a culture beyond selling a soulful experience for the customer. That’s been the basis for our success.” Says founder Kirk Perron who started the company in San Louis Obispo, Ca in 1990 and sold the franchise sixteen years later in March 2006 for $265 million dollars.
Jamba Juice is not alone in creating this “culture beyond selling”. Elements for Women, the hip, South Beach-based diet and fitness brand features a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle that melds body, beauty, and mind. The health club industry is experiencing the largest growth in 40 years. Understanding that 53% of health club members are women and that health beauty and fitness industry totaled over 45 billion dollars in 2005 alone made perfect business sense to Brand Director, Chris Palumbo. Yet, Elements for Women’s key to success is its woman centric empowering environment that offers membership based fitness and weight loss services throughout a network of upscale, boutique style health clubs. At a time when 89% of US women have expressed dissatisfaction with their current physical appearance and also express a desire for change, Elements for Women speaks to a woman’s heart. The culture of Elements makes balanced healthy living, not only hip with its stylish décor and cutting edge expertise, but it boasts technological savvy (with its smart cards that keep a member’s personalized fitness data available with a handy keycard). According to Naturopathic doctor and anti aging specialist Sharon Perlow, who now sits on Elements advisory board, Elements differs from other health club providers because it offers this balanced lifestyle approach. Complete with an all star fitness board, lifestyle coaches, and online media channel– the empowering support doesn’t end when the customer leaves the club, but continues to inspire its members to become more of what they want to be via web-based live interaction media.
If Elements has the South Beach healthy culture brand down pat for women, then Dogtopia has taken a similar step in finding Nirvana for the 70 million dog owners nationwide. “Where every dog deserves a day at the spa,” a Dogtopia member can drop off pooch for a day of exercise, and frolic, only to be topped by a bath in their hydro-surge massaging tub and a fluff dried brush out. At the end of the day, the dog owner is greeted by a happy clean and well exercised pet. One look at Dogtopia’s website (http://www.dogdaycare.com), and its easy to understand why anyone would want to go to such extremes for Man’s (or Woman’s) best friend. This franchise with its roots in the Baltimore/Washington DC area makes having a bath look like fun for a dog. But like Elements, Dogtopia offers an integrated approach to dog care including: training, spa, overnight stays and boutique. With a mission statement page that uses words such as: honesty, integrity, accountability, responsibility, and passionate enthusiasm; there is no doubt that C.E.O. Amy R. Nichols knows the lifestyle of avid dog lovers who consider their pets to be like their children. Yet, the culture of Dogtopia is a composite of love and good business sense. 36.6 billion dollar pet expenditures in the US for over 378 million pets is a healthy market.
Yes, these few high end whole lifestyle franchises give both the consumer and the small entrepreneur a value that is true to the sense of the root of the word: freedom and honesty. Now busy health oriented professionals can drop canine members of their family off at the spa in the morning, enjoy an invigorating life giving smoothie during their lunch break, and before heading for home at the end of the day… You (or the woman of your life) can exercise in the comfort of a club spa that gives expert advice on how to look young and beautiful for years to come, the balanced healthy way, from the inside out as a complete package for living. Sound like the life?