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Girl franchising power.

Women pave their way in the franchising arena

When the International Franchise Association created the Women's Franchise Committee (WFC) in 1996 the number of women-owned businesses was on the rise and many of those entrepreneurs were taking an interest in franchising. Ten years later, the 18-member WFC continues to help women become leaders in the field through mentoring, education and training programs that range from "how to" guides to conferences to local networking chapters.

According to Amy Bannon, spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based IFA, the committee's most recent initiative is the Women's Franchise Network, a collection of local chapters nationwide intent on giving franchises the opportunity to meet and learn from other successful women in their respective areas. Launched in 2002, the program is now available in Chicago, Denver, San Diego, Washington D.C./Baltimore, Southern California, Dallas, Minneapolis and the Greater New York area.

"The Women's Franchise Network is a good example of women in the franchise sector seeing a need and meeting it," says Bannon. "It's an excellent model that other businesses could, and should, follow." The committee plans to launch four additional chapters in 2006 while also creating a new mentoring program through which seasoned executives will provide advice and support for new franchises.

Here are women who are making a difference in the franchising world:

Alison Wilkinson, Color Me Beautiful

As an executive assistant for a commercial real estate company, Alison Wilkinson made a respectable income, but always felt under-appreciated for the work she did. "I came in early and worked late, but didn't get many thank yous," recalls Wilkinson. "I thought to myself, 'if I'm going to work this hard, why don't I do it for myself?'"

So she did. In 2003, Wilkinson opened her own Color Me Beautiful kiosk in a local mall after seeing a national ad for the franchise, which sells brands like Patti LaBelle and Iman. After talking to several existing Color Me Beautiful franchises, she took a 4-day training course and invested about $10,000 in her new business.

Wilkinson opened her kiosk at the Kings Plaza Mall in Brooklyn, where she brought in $225,000 the first year and about $350,000 in 2005. At last year's Color Me Beautiful convention, Wilkinson was awarded a Mercedes E320 based on her sales performance. She recently opened a second business, a salon and beauty spa called Color Me Beautiful Salon & Beauty Spa. "Having two beauty businesses is a big stretch but fulfills my dream," says Wilkinson.

Diane Gist, Jan-Pro

When Diane Gist decided to start a commercial cleaning business six years ago, she put "brand name recognition" at the top of her list of must haves. After exploring various opportunities, she decided to purchase a Jan-Pro franchise in the Charlotte area. Since then, she's grown 6-employee K&D's Jan Pro by 25 percent annually and spun off a separate carpet cleaning and floor care division.

"Franchising gave me the name recognition I needed to get out on my own," says Gist. "It also helped me learn the technical aspects of commercial cleaning."

Gist has big plans for 2006, and credits an advertisement in BLACK ENTERPRISE for helping it come to fruition. She'll be opening Jan-Pro's first commercial cleaning school, which will help single women learn the basics of running a successful cleaning franchise. Students will partake in an 8-week course that covers "everything from how to get a federal tax ID number, to how to strip and wax floors," says Gist.

Nikki Gahr Sells, Express Personnel Services

There isn't a rung on the franchise ladder that Nikki Gahr Sells hasn't set foot on. In 1983, she became the first employee of the original Express Personnel Services location in Fort Smith, Ark. She soon moved into a management position, overseeing various expansions for the company, which today provides temporary staffing/evaluation and direct hire; contract and executive recruiting and placement; and customized workplace/workforce services.

In 1990, Sells and her husband Robert took the plunge into franchise ownership, and started their own company in Springfield, Missouri. Five years later, Sells became a regional developer for Express Personnel Services, and continued to run her own company until 2004, when she sold it and moved to Oklahoma City to become vice president of franchising for the corporation.

Today, Sells, a past chairman of the WFC, heads up a department that handles lead generation for new franchises, marketing campaigns and maintenance of the corporation's franchising Web site.

"More and more women are taking notice of franchising, which is truly becoming a career path," says Sells, who recalls a time 23 years ago when Express Personnel Services' 5-person franchising department was dominated by men. "We now have 11 people, and only three of them are men."


Choice Hotels International[R] is one of the world's largest hotel franchising companies, with more than 5,000 hotels open and under development worldwide. The company franchises under the Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brand names.

With over 60 years of successful hospitality and franchise development experience, we understand what it takes to succeed and how to get there. Choice Hotels is focused on providing franchises with a solid return on investment by offering a proven portfolio of hotel resources, all designed to help you create and maintain the best hotel for your unique needs.

As a Choice Hotels licensee, you'll benefit from:

* $50 million national, multi-brand marketing and advertising campaign.

* Powerful reservation delivery via 800.4CHOICE and that booked $1.4 billion in room revenue in 2004.

* Effective property management systems that ensure that your hotel operates at its most cost-efficient.

* New hotel services to assist you with every detail of opening your hotel.

* Ongoing training to ensure you and your staff are always up to speed on the latest principles and practices in hospitality.

* Continuous field support though your personal Franchise Service Director.

In addition, Choice Hotels is committed to recruiting new minority franchises. We currently offer a program designed to help African-American, Hispanic and Native American entrepreneurs become Choice hotel owners. Subject to certain terms and conditions, we will provide up to $125,000 in incentives for a new or converted midscale brand hotel or $50,000 for a similarly franchised economy brand hotel. We are also offering an incentive for our Sleep Inn brand, valued at $155,000. *

For more details regarding these incentive programs and applicable terms and conditions, or to learn more about franchise opportunities with Choice Hotels International, call

866.560.9871, visit or email us at

* Only one incentive option can be used per franchisee, per hotel.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International, Inc.

[R] 2005 Choice Hotels International Inc. All rights reserved.


If you've always wanted to run your own business, but weren't quite sure how to start, you need to talk with JAN-PRO Cleaning Systems. Since 1991, we've given individuals and families the opportunity to gain financial independence and unlimited growth potential by joining the premiere company in the commercial cleaning industry. Combining sound business practices and innovation, JAN-PRO's franchise program is designed to assist you every step of the way and in every aspect of business. You become your own boss through the guidance and support of our established franchise organization.

In 2003, Jerome and Shawn Hampleton of Denver, wanted to start their own business, but needed a part-time option as they were both working full time. They joined JAN-PRO with a few small accounts and have steadily grown the business over the past two years. "The part-time option appealed to us. The start-up costs were very reasonable and the work easily fit into our busy schedules. We quickly knew that this was a business we wanted to grow," claims Jerome.

From the start, the Hampletons knew they made the right decision. "Training has been terrific; JAN-PRO constantly offers new and refresher training as well as new product information." says Jerome. "Communications are excellent. If we need to speak with someone, it has never been a problem. In addition, JAN-PRO handles the billing, sales, and customer service follow-up."

The Hampletons have grown their business over 700% in the last two years and they couldn't be happier. "Becoming franchise owners with JAN-PRO was the best decision we ever made," they claim.

Ranked a Top 25 Franchise in Entrepreneur's January 2005 "Franchise 500" issue, JAN-PRO is also one of the nation's Top 5 fastest-growing franchises. We welcome and support minority franchises. Sixty percent of our company's 4,000+ franchises are owned by minorities. Jerome and Shawn Hampleton changed their lives with JAN-PRO. You can, too. Call toll-free 1-866-355-1064 today, or visit us at


Established, brand-name cosmetics now available to sell from your own kiosk in a mall. Or, as a direct sales consultant. Grab a piece of the multi-billion dollar cosmetics market by owning your own cosmetics kiosk in a mall. Until recently, the Flori Roberts, Color Me Beautiful, Iman, Adrien Arpel, Patti LaBelle and Interface brands were only sold in department stores. Now, Color Me Beautiful, Inc. gives you the opportunity to sell these prestigious products in a busy mall from your own kiosk.

Earn $100,000 or more annually from one kiosk. A number of owners have annual sales of $400,000 or more. Some have already launched their second kiosk. See recent success stories written on our kiosk entrepreneurs in Essence, Sophisticates Black Hair, Black Elegance and Today's Black Woman.

For qualified applicants, your fee is only $7,000. You get a full-time business where you can make money immediately, all for $7,000. This is a turn-key system including $5,000 in start-up cosmetics inventory. Check around. You'll find similar cosmetic franchises are at least 4 times more expensive.

Or, consider selling from your home on a full or part time basis. Join our new direct selling opportunity and become a Color Me Beautiful Beauty Consultant.

Call 800-606-3435 or visit


If you have a passion for owning your own business, Express Personnel Services has a passion for helping you succeed. Express offers a sales-focused, business-to-business franchise in a $70 billion industry. As the largest fully franchised and privately-held staffing company, Express delivers HR services and staffing support to thousands of clients throughout the United States and Canada. As an Express franchisee you will receive extensive training and field support to help you start and grow your business.

Express offers exclusive territories and an excellent franchise pad(age, the total investment ranges between $130,000 and $160,000, including the $25,000 franchise fee. Express franchises receive: rights to three services in one franchise agreement, one field support specialist for every six franchises, advertising and marketing campaigns at volume prices, sales tools, comprehensive operations and management manuals, continuing on-site visits by field-support representatives, territory research and expertise, national and regional meetings, lifelong learning via Express University, and franchisee assistance and technical support centers.

Prior to opening, new franchises attend 10 days of sales, operations and business management instruction at Express' international headquarters in Oklahoma City, Okla. Five additional days are then spent in a certified regional field office to complete the training.

Express franchises provide temporary and flexible staffing, evaluation and direct hire, professional search and contract staffing, and business solutions to clients across North America. With a mission to help as many people as possible find good jobs and help as many clients as possible find good people, Express employs 300,000 people annually in light industrial, office services and professional positions. Company sales totaled nearly $1.6 billion in 2005.

Your success is our passion. Join the premier staffing franchise in North America. Prime Express Personnel Services staffing franchise territories are available. For more information, call toll-free 877 652-6400 or visit
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Women's Franchise Committee
Author:McCrea, Bridget
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Previous Article:African American-still chipping away at the concrete ceiling.
Next Article:Women shaping the world ... executive education for women.

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