A ripple began in the franchise pond when Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More made a splash last August with its first location in Canada in Edmonton. The ripple effects are already extending throughout the provinces and territories. Inquiries are up and the established U.S. brand realized a 19% increase in average store sales 2021 over 2019. Executives expect more than a handful of new openings in Canada within the year.
Specializing in Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing, which is a clean and green apparel printing technology, Big Frog is a one-stop-shop in custom apparel printing featuring no minimums and fast turnaround, usually within 24 hours, on DTG printing. It’s a business model with “daylight” hours and limited weekend hours. The brand has become a proven concept over its 14-years for several factors: multiple revenue streams, attracting both B2B and B2C clients; a small and affordable physical footprint; a low average investment yielding high volume; and an attractive lifestyle-friendly “daylight” hour business model. Big Frog is poised and has the backing to move across Canada quickly.
Already getting significant inquiries for expansion across the country, entrepreneurs who sign on with the Canadian master franchisor are assured easy access to CEO Tom Suggitt who has 20 deep years of franchising experience in Canada as well as robust support from a team of state side sales, operations, marketing, communications, and management experts including Tina Bacon-DeFrece, a PhD chemical engineer who co-founded the brand in 2008. She still is hands on as Big Frog franchise group president, her role credited as a significant reason for the uptick in 2021 sales numbers over 2019.
In addition to the master franchisor support, an extremely active group of nearly 80 franchisees lend ready support, advice, and an invaluable internal community across the 25 states below Canada. There is a tangible family dynamic which was obvious at the brand’s recent springtime Frog-A-Thon conference where the 2021 successes were announced. More than 100 Big Frog store owners, staff and partner vendors attended the three-day event for learning new systems, robust information and best practices exchange, and networking. Big Frog successes were profiled front and center.
Community is King
Beyond being franchisee family members, Big Frog’s commitment to each shop’s local community is pivotal to the brand’s business model. Not only does community support drive sales and help neighborhoods in concrete ways, the goodwill generated from acts of kindness on the local level reaps benefits that are often unheralded but significant. Customers who believe in and like the brand come back and they refer business. It’s that simple.
Examples of tangible community support include the new Canadian franchisees, Shannon and Brian Marowitch, helping the Edmonton Humane Society and Stollery Children’s Hospital; David Riddell, owner of Big Frog of Durham and Big Frog of Asheville, donating $10,000 to small business owners during the pandemic through its “Love Local” t-shirt fundraising; and it was announced at the recent conference that a host of franchisees system-wide are helping with local fundraisers for Ukrainian humanitarian aid. Community driven support is not only a top priority throughout the Big Frog system, you could say its king.
Big Frog is also keen on protecting the environment. Green techniques include water-based inks for DTG printing as well as choosing more and more suppliers which focus on sustainable products. AlphaBroder is a strategic partner that offers search filters that franchisees can use to find sustainable products for every day basics.
Specific to Canada, Big Frog will soon be working with a manufacturer called REPREVE Fabrics which offers recycled apparel made form ocean-bound plastic bottles, via one of Big Frog’s Canadian suppliers, Sportira. For this particular relationship, there are no minimum orders necessary and therefore few convoluted contractual obligations, just an eco-friendly product that’s easily available. Having a long-time working relationship with executives at Sportira is just another example of the deep connections and networking Big Frog’s strong C-suite management leverages for the benefit of individual owners.
Not Jumping Around Solo
Beyond being well-connected, the Big Frog system is known in the franchising world for ongoing and robust support – you might say franchisees are all jumping around in the same pond making a big splash together for the greatest impact of strength and success.
There’s a fun and exciting week of training at Big Frog Headquarters in Dunedin, Fla. This is followed by a week of hands on training at a Big Frog Centre of Excellence where new franchisees work hands on in a store learning from outstanding franchise owners. The week of opening, Big Frog provides on-site training with an expert member of the franchise group. Once open, Big Frog continues the robust support with ongoing training, webinars, and conferences offered both quarterly and annually. Big Frog even provides personal business coaching, which, in 2021, added up to an investment of more than 2,200 hours total of business system-wide.
Beyond those “formal” supports for owners and systems, the family of franchisees are individually connected and often help each other out.
Hopping to a Different Beat
This type of support that defines the brand is really like a family of high quality people happily hopping around in the Big Frog pond.
The brand prides itself on being different and marching, er jumping, to a different beat. The proven concept has worked for 14 years and the 2021 success numbers are proof Big Frog is as relevant today as in 2008. The low cost to get on board – an average investment total of $200,000 – along with a variety of branding options, multiple revenue streams and a small physical footprint of 1,000 to 1,200 square feet of space, produces high volume. From a quality-of-life perspective, Big Frog offers daylight hours and limited weekend hours, attractive components of any business.
Learn more about Big Frog Canada Corp., which is located in Edmonton, Alberta, at BIGFROG.CA. Global headquarters are in Dunedin, Florida in the United States.