If you've been thinking about opening an arts / crafts storefront but weren't sure how to get started, take some time to learn about Beehive Co-ops . The franchise fee is $25,000 with 4% gross sales royalties. In exchange you'll get complete start-up assistance and continuing help from a retail model with two very successful storefronts.
Beehive Co-ops also accepts select arts / crafts businesses to partner with them as wholesale suppliers. Below, Beehive owner, Petra Geiger, answers some questions about starting a Beehive Co-op.
How Does a Beehive Co-op Differ From a Craft Mall?
Beehive Co-op differs significantly from a craft mall. Primarily because our overall space design has a very cohesive, modern and branded aesthetic so that you don’t feel like it’s a jumble of merchandise. In addition, our product mix is highly curated, we focus on designers and artisans who are building businesses and have refined their products both in terms of design and craftsmanship. Most of our designers are working on branding and merchandising their work for the larger marketplace so it has a more polished feel overall. Also, we are highly organized and have a very tight operational structure so the whole sales process is efficient for the customer.
What Type of Start-up Assistance Does Beehive Co-op Give to Franchisees?
What type of start-up assistance is given to franchisees and who provides it? I provide assistance to franchisees all the way from writing their business plan, to finding a location, to sourcing designers and am available for consultation on day-to-day operations once their boutique has opened. I view this as a partnership and the more support I give and the more feedback I get the stronger our network will be. The franchise is just legal model for the business but I view it much more as a collaboration.
What Type of Storefront Location Works Best for Beehive Co-op?
Finding the right location and the right size is so important. I think some proximity to a location that has good walking traffic and other shops and restaurants is important. Although securing a place that has a reasonable rent structure is imperative because the owner needs to be able to attract designers who can afford to sub-lease space. It really depends ultimately on whether the owner plans to offer classes or not and how large a community of designers there is to pull from but a good size is anywhere from 1400 sq feet to 2000 sq feet.
Are Beehive Co-op Franchisees Required to be Open Specific Times?
The owner would set the hours according to the location but owners need to be open at least 6 days a week. This is not a problem due to the co-op structure - having designers work in the store in shifts.
What Type of Reporting Is Required From the Franchisees?Franchisees provide monthly sales reports and monthly P&L reports. This helps us track sales and expenditures so we can plan accordingly. Initially, I like to have weekly scheduled meetings with owners so I can provide support and guidance.
Beehive Co-op Extra ServicesThe Atlanta shop also offers classes and art camp for children. It has been very successful there and provides a great revenue stream and added value for our customers but does require extra organization. In Atlanta the classroom is about 350 square feet.
Please explain how the Beehive wholesale product consulting works.We have a preferred vendor list that helps owners fill spaces in the co-op initially or when they might have an opening. Also, if for instance they have demand for a type of product but cannot find a local designer who produces it. This preferred vendor list includes designers that we have worked with in our other stores or have bought from on a wholesale basis. We know they are great products, fit our profile and are good sellers.
How Are Beehive Co-op Shops Staffed During Working Hours?The majority of the shifts are covered by Co-op designers and we work with each owner on determining their schedule. I encourage owners to at least be in the store 3-4 shifts a week
Do Crafters Have Sales Opportunities Besides Purchasing a Franchise?Yes, as we open more locations we are sourcing designers from all over the country for both our online shop and for our preferred vendor list.