Sometimes the proof is in the putting. To measure this franchise’s success, we decided to go straight to the source. Scout and Molly’s Boutique has grown tremendously since the first store opened in 2002. With the help of Rhino7, Lisa Korstein took her Raleigh store nation-wide. Now, there are 28 open locations across the country and almost 80 locations sold, as per Kornstein. Understand the key to this franchise’s success and get a little information as to how Kornstein grew her clothing store into more than just a small-town boutique with this in-depth Q&A!
What do you feel is the key to Scout and Molly’s success?
As far as the franchise goes, a lot of it is about the personal connections we make with the franchisees. It has to feel right for both us and for them. The story of Scout and Molly’s is a very humanistic one, and I feel like people can relate to that in their lives. Doing something that you’re passionate about and for the right reasons, I think, appeals to a lot of people
What are the characteristics that make up your ideal franchisee?
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a female. We have attracted a lot of males and couples as well. I look for someone who has a basic understanding of business and someone that understands that there is something sexy to the fashion industry, but at the same time, understands that the most import piece of any business is running it by the numbers. It has to be someone that’s approaching it with a business mind but also is excited about the concept.
What is your philosophy in attracting (store) customers?
Our main focus is on the “clienteling”. Relationship selling is our number one piece of that. We don’t try to tell people they look good and try to upsell them if it’s not genuine. It’s not just about the sales numbers. It’s about trust and longevity. A customer is someone who comes into the store once or twice. A client is someone who comes in the store where you know their name, if they have kids or not, you know where they’re going on vacation and if they have weddings or black tie events coming up.
Which location has had the most success?
Well, a lot of stores have had success for different reasons. The North Hill store in Raleigh has been around the longest, so that store is a no-brainer. But among the new stores, one of our really successful is in Kiawah, South Carolina. That store has done fabulous. Also, the store in New Cannan, Connecticut has done really well.
What makes Scout and Molly’s unique as a franchise?
One of the things that we do that I think sets us apart is the community involvement piece. We strongly encourage all of our stores to get involved in their local communities. If there is a cause that is near and dear to their clients, then they can organize a benefit on their client’s behalf. People can come in and shop and a portion of the proceeds goes to that cause. We are all for that: to do good while we are selling beautiful things.
In what ways has Rhino7 driven your success?
Well, they really are primarily responsible for marketing the brand. They also hired the sales reps to specifically sell Scout and Molly’s, the area development managers who work with the franchise candidates, and walked them through the process. Rhino7 walks them through the process until they are ready to come to “discovery day” and then Rhino7 and myself do “discovery day” together. They’re fantastic partners and incredible to work with, and I feel really lucky that we work with them. They didn’t try to change anything. They represent Scout and Molly’s just as I would.
What is your goal for Scout and Molly’s in 5 years?
Oh, man. I see us with 500 stores all over the country. And personally, I’d love to see us go international. This whole franchising bit is new to me so I’m learning as I go. But I would love to see hundreds five years from now. My goal is that, since I travel a lot, being able to go to any city and people know what Scout and Molly’s is. And when they hear the name, “Scout and Molly’s”, they have a positive reaction because they have had a really good experience in one (of the stores).
What advice would you give to someone wanting to open a boutique or start a franchise?
It is a scary world. It has a lot of ups and downs. I guess my biggest piece of advice is to run the business by the numbers. That advice was given to me by my business counselor when I first opened. He said, “If you’re at market and you fall in love with a dress, but you’ve already spent your allotted money on dresses, don’t buy the dress”. You have to use some self-discipline and run it by the numbers at the end of the day and not get carried away.