Tot Squad's growth points to a recent trend in new franchise formation: Entrepreneurs seeking riches with new franchise concepts are getting more "personal."
"Across the board, we're seeing the growth of more personalized services," said Edith Wiseman, president of the client solutions team at industry tracker FRANdata, citing the example of small fitness-studio chains offering one type of activity, like Pure Barre, which offers muscle-toning workouts centered around a ballet barre.
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In 2013, after a pilot program that saw Tot Squad servicing high-end strollers at some of Nordstrom's southern California stores, the chain asked the firm about expansion. "They told me to give them a proposal for a nationwide rollout," said Beall, who occasionally had problems coming up with the manpower needed in Tot Squad's core L.A. market. "And I was sitting here thinking, How will I serve their Ann Arbor, Michigan, store?"
The answer, Beall decided, was to grow by selling Tot Squad franchises, a program she launched in February after raising tens of thousands of dollars for the attorneys, consultants and technology necessary to get her franchise system off the ground. Over the past month, Beall has received more than 100 inquiries, two-thirds coming from women looking to capitalize on two of the franchise industry's fast-growing trends: child-related franchises, whose units grew by 7 percent over 2014, and providing some type of highly specialized service.