Tracy Panase owns four Just Between Friends, a children’s and maternity pop-up consignment sales event franchise, territories in PA - Reading, Western Mainline (Oaks), Lancaster and Lower Bucks County. She shares advice for people considering franchising, about achieving work/life balance, and her franchising experience.
What was it about Just Between Friends that led you to invest in it? My husband and I ventured into franchising almost 20 years ago. We were initially attracted to the franchise business model for two reasons. My husband is an engineer by trade and the opportunity to buy into a proven system was important to him. I, on the other hand, am I marketing professional and the ability to tap into a known brand was key for me. One day, my husband received a brief about this hot new franchise called Just Between Friends. We just knew it sounded like a brilliant business model.
I love that as the events have gotten bigger, we have been able to help more people in the communities that we serve.
What is the most rewarding part of the business? Seeing the growth of the sales has been super special to me. I love that as the events have gotten bigger, we have been able to help more people in the communities that we serve. More shoppers means more saving, more consignors means more donations to our charity partners and consignors making more money means that we are helping local families make ends meet. It really is a win/win.
What type of experience did you have prior to becoming a franchisee that you have found particularly helpful? When we purchased our first Just Between Friends territory in 2008, we had been multi-unit franchise owners of another brand for almost 10 years. Although this set a solid foundation for our business, the consignment industry was foreign to us. This was a non-issue, however, due to the training and other support we received from Just Between Friends. Our experience highlights the beauty of franchising! Passionate people with a solid work ethic and strong desire to succeed can do so thanks to the franchise business model.
How do you balance family and friends with being a successful business owner? I’m a firm believer in the concept of “genius time”. We all have our gifts to give and I am really good at three to four things. I chose to focus my “genius” time on them. The other areas are equally important, however it’s going to take me three times longer to do them, so I delegate them.
I love the flexibility being self-employed provides and knowing that the harder I work, the luckier I get.
What things do you like most about your job? In addition to feeling like I am making a positive difference in the communities I serve, I love the flexibility being self-employed provides and knowing that the harder I work, the luckier I get. I’ve been pretty lucky over the years!
How did you fund your franchise? Just Between Friends is a very affordable franchise system to buy into. We funded the initial purchase and all the start up costs of our first territory out of our personal savings. As our business has grown, and we have acquired additional units, we have taken out an Small Business Association loan and a line of credit, which helps with cash flow.
You can outsource tasks, but you cannot outsource passion.
What advice do you have for prospective franchise buyers? You can outsource tasks, but you cannot outsource passion. No one cares about your business as much as you do. This equates to long days and a countless sacrifices, however it also means the sky is the limit. As my business has grown, so has my team. We are fortunate to have dedicated, hard working individuals working side by side with us each and every day. We lead by example and work in the trenches to build something our family and community can take great pride in supporting.
Just Between Friends holds the honor of being one of only 200 franchise brands ranked high enough by their franchisees to make Franchise Business Review’s 2017 Top Franchises List and one of only 50 franchises to make its 2017 Top Franchises for Women list.
For more information about franchising with Just Between Friends, call 918 230-1371 or visit www.jbfsalefranchise.com.
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