Smart Ways to Beat Amazon & Online Retail Competitors

Online retail competition isn’t what it’s cut out to be – and here’s why. Let’s take Amazon, for example, it isn’t the retail behemoth so many independent stores think it is. Sure, it’s big (ok, massive) in online selling, but it doesn’t measure up to Big Frog when it comes to the loyal passion our shoppers show for our custom products, personalized service, and valued contributions to the local community.

Delivery Isn’t Better with Amazon Prime

Our Big Frog stores offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience the minute customers walk through the door into our colorful showrooms where they can touch, feel and try on products. Our stores are a destination for screen-weary customers seeking in-person inspiration. And when our customers do need an order delivered, it’s fulfilled and shipped with the greatest attention to detail and quality – one of the many ways Big Frog beats the online retail competition.

Big Frog Custom T-Shirt & More Store

As a locally owned Big Frog franchise, here are some franchise business tips on how your store can stand out from the crowded online marketplace:

Know your niches. Focus on the customers who are most profitable for your store. Are they parents with kids on youth sports teams? Newly engaged couples planning fun ways to celebrate their upcoming nuptials with themed engagement party Ts? Is it the yoga studio down the street catering to the 60-plus crowd? Remember, our products aren’t only direct-to-consumer; they help other businesses sell to their customers.

Send them reminders and discounts. As you close the sale, ask your customer if it’s tied to a special event, like soccer season starting up or Grandma’s weeklong vacation with the kids next week. When the same time comes around next year, call or email them a reminder of the amazing custom shirts that would make their event even more special, and offer a limited-time offer.

Welcome customers’ fur babies with a biscuit. Treat their fur babies, and you’ll have a friend (and customer!) for life. Pampering your customers’ pooches makes an instant emotional connection that they’ll take with them after they leave your store. Always ask them first if it’s OK to treat their pup. Even if your customer says “not this time,” she’ll remember your generous gesture.

Tell your story.  Showcase your people. Show off your graphic designer’s most creative looks on social media. Profile the smiling face who greets customers every day in-store at your website. As the owner, share your own voice. A couple of months in advance of the holidays, pitch to your local news or radio program the value of shopping locally and customizable gifts and offer an on-camera interview and tour of your shop. The media is always looking for content.

Online retail competition can be steep, but there’s one way locally owned brick-and-mortar businesses always wins – it’s the personalized service we offer within our own communities.

Leaping Above and Beyond for the Community – How Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More Gives Back During Pandemic

As each state across the nation begins navigating through their new normal – whether they begin to reopen or continue their social distancing protocols – the one thing that has prevailed is the overwhelming sense of community and support shown towards each other, which is something that should never fade.

From once providing locals with customized apparel for marathons, school outings and recreational sports tournaments, our franchise owners of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, quickly rerouted and have utilized their resources to create masks for the community and healthcare professionals, spreading the love to those in assisted living facilities, and supporting other small businesses in this time of need. While some Big Frog locations had to close their doors and others had to modify their operations, our franchise partners saw this time as an opportunity to step up in their communities in a different way.

We didn’t expect anything less of our franchise partners, and we are humbled to hear first-hand that dozens of our franchisees have stepped up in their own unique way to provide comfort, support and compassion to their communities. In addition to extending a hand to their neighbors, they came together, as a part of Big Frog’s franchise network, to offer words of wisdom and best practices on how to navigate through the hardships inflicted by the pandemic.

Mara and John Dougherty of our Northwest Arkansas location made their presence and support known in their community by creating a COVID-19 themed t-shirt collection that not only brought lighthearted humor to these trying times, but a portion of the sales have been donated to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund. They also partnered with a local non-profit to provide meals to families in need and offered #FAITHNotFear t-shirts for their volunteers. The pair even launched an #EverydayHERO campaign, which delivered hundreds of shirts to nominated healthcare professionals, teachers and grocery store workers.

Mara and John’s efforts are further showcased in Inc.com.

Hitting close to home, Basil Bearer and Brittany Miller, owners of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More of Mequon, WI launched an initiative with the help of Home Helpers Home Care to bring messages of love, health and hope to local elderly residents in assisted living communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The messages – written by the residents’ loved ones, who may be unable to see them in person – are printed on a t-shirt and delivered to the facility, free of charge for all involved. With the gracious donations of local businesses in the area, 300+ shirts will be created and delivered to residents in various living communities throughout their area.

Big Frog of Mequon chose to give back in this aspect as they recognized this community as one that is being hit the hardest by the virus – many of whom are even more isolated from those who bring them the most comfort and love. The first shipment of shirts was delivered to Hamilton House Senior Living in Cedarburg, WI with messages of hope, love and unwavering strength written by family members big and small.

These amazing contributions are featured on Fox6 Now and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Likewise, providing support in their community is Lori Mumma Jozwiak owner of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More of Naperville, IL, who has launched a collaborative fundraising campaign, “Better Together,” that helps support other small businesses in the area. Each business that sells a t-shirt will receive $6 back per shirt, and can choose how these funds are spent. For example, some businesses might wish to donate to a local charity while others for operational costs due to closures – such as providing support for furloughed bartenders and servers.

This campaign wasn’t the first community-centric idea from Lori and Big Frog of Naperville. When COVID-19 first began, Lori pulled from her experience as a social worker paired with her sewing skills to whip up masks each day, which she puts outside of her shop for the community to take as Illinois faces at least another month of social distancing.

Lori also donated 80 #NurseLife themed shirts to the COVID-19 unit at Edwards Hospital since a lot of nurses expressed worry that they’d carry the virus back to their families or had to unexpectedly stay the night, she wanted to provide them with an empowering, clean shirt.

Recently, Lori’s efforts were featured in the Daily Herald, a suburban newspaper in the Chicagoland area.

We are honored to have the ability to stick to our commitment as a brand that is immersed in the day-to-day lives of the nearly 90 communities we serve, while showcasing our shared understanding of the impact the pandemic has had on all.

Watch Out Florida! Big Frog Prepares for Explosive Growth

In the past 10 years we’ve opened nearly  100 Big Frog Custom T-Shirt stores, developed a nationwide presence and were crowned the #1 franchise in the garment retail industry. Next, we plan on bringing our growth plan back to where it all began: our home state of Florida.

The goal? To open 30 new Big Frog locations in the Sunshine State over the next two years. “Florida is the number one t-shirt market in the United States, and our brand already has a strong name recognition in the state,” said Tina Bacon-DeFrece, President of Big Frog. “We are eager to seek out and train enthusiastic local residents who want to bring Big Frog into their communities.”

Right now, there are 12 Big Frog stores scattered throughout the state, which while a great start, means that some Florida residents have to drive a few hours if they want to visit a store. The growth strategy for the next two years seeks to solve this problem by strategically opening stores in key markets such as Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Naples, Sarasota and the Panhandle. A new location has already opened with great success in the Palm Coast area and one is coming soon to the Winter Garden/Ocoee area;  this has served as the catalyst for this explosive growth plan. “As a one-of-a-kind service provider, our location has received an incredible response from the Palm Coast community,” store owner Mark Khadoo (pictured above) said. “It’s been a thrill to be an active participant in so many events the city has to offer, and we’re excited to continue developing in such a viable market.”

As a company that started with big dreams, this latest growth plan is certainly not the end of Big Frog’s surge to the top. The franchise will continue to branch out into additional markets across the United States, with Bacon-DeFrece expecting the company to hit 300 stores by the early 20’s.

If you’re a resident of Florida and interested in bringing Big Frog to your community, we encourage you to contact our International Headquarters in Dunedin for more information. You can reach us at (727) 286-8985.

Our Milestone of Growth – 9.5 Years In

When a new franchise business opens its doors, it’s natural for them to optimistically dream about the growth and success they’ll achieve in the future.  When we opened our first store almost 10 years ago, we did it too.

We’re now proud to say that through hard work, a solid business model and a great community of franchisees, we’re exceeding our own expectations – and hitting milestones many franchise organizations never achieve…never mind in less than 10 short years of business.

“We learned early on, the most important factor in a healthy franchise organization is happy and profitable franchisees,” said our President Tina Bacon-DeFrece. “Our entire team truly focuses everything we do on improving the franchisee experience and building their success. We promote transparency, planning and open communication to grow our brand to new heights.”

By focusing on the franchisee experience – and providing them with the support, training and coaching needed to grow a successful business, we’ve had nine years of double digit growth. In fact, we’ve just celebrated the opening of our 100th location – with plans to open 25 more stores in 2018.

It’s a level of success we couldn’t have reached without the dedication and enthusiasm of our franchisees. These men and women are contributing positively to their communities, building relationships with each other and representing a brand they believe it – not just for their own personal gain, but for their customers, their fellow franchisees and the entire organization.

We’re proud to have partnered with such a qualified and dedicated group of professionals. It’s because of you that we’re one of the top franchise opportunities in the market right now. And it will be because of you that we’ll continue to grow and open new stores both this year and in the years to come.

The Power of a T-Shirt

“Never underestimate the power of a t-shirt.”

That was Robyn Brewington’s reaction after her Southern Las Vegas store was flooded with orders in the wake of the mass shooting last October that left Vegas – and the rest of our nation – heartbroken. In the days after the tragedy, Robyn and her team worked around the clock to produce “Vegas Strong” t-shirts and give them away to members of the community. That idea spurred another, and they then began selling the shirts as a way to raise money for the victim’s fund. With a direct 50 percent match from Zappo’s, the store has raised over $30,000 for the cause to date.

“It’s been incredible, everybody wants to have one because I think they want to feel like they’re showing, on their person, how they feel about this,” she said in an interview for KTNV Las Vegas (you can see the full story here).

Rebuilding Communities Far and Wide

The Southern Las Vegas Big Frog store wasn’t the only location that believed in the power of a t-shirt in 2017. With serious natural disasters in northern California and Texas, many stores in those areas also rallied together to support and help rebuild their communities. In Mountain View, California, Big Frog collected clothes for those impacted by wildfires. In Texas, almost two dozen stores created and sold #TexasStrong t-shirts to raise money after Hurricane Harvey.

There’s no doubt that it’s been a difficult fall, with serious tragedy directly impacting many parts of the country (and taking a toll on us all).  It’s these unfortunate moments that test our resolve – and make us even more reliant on the support of our family, friends and community.

From all of us, thank you for being a source of strength and hope in the communities you serve. We couldn’t be prouder to have you in the Big Frog family.

The Power of Teamwork

For those outside of the franchise industry, it may seem counterintuitive to open stores in close proximity to each other. After all, how can you be successful when you’re competing against your fellow franchisees?  Aren’t one (or more) of you bound to fail?

But the result isn’t always conflict and unhealthy competition…rather, it can be a community of like-minded business professionals focused on one thing: working together to build a better, more successful brand.

The Benefits of Froggy Fellowship

When showing how powerful this teamwork can be, there’s no better place to look than the relationship between a group of Big Frog franchisees in Texas. “One of the first things I noticed as a Big Frog owner, was that the top three stores in the country were all in the Atlanta metroplex,” Plano franchisee Joe Mock said. “This was also where Big Frog had the largest concentration of stores. This led me to the conclusion that rather than compete with one another, there was an obvious advantage to building brand recognition in a market that benefited all owners.”

Inspired by what he saw in Atlanta, Mock made the decision to embrace Big Frog newcomers in his Texas community- rather than compete with them. From loaning printing equipment when a store’s machines were down, to letting a new franchisee try their vinyl cutter before deciding to purchase their own, franchisees worked together to build each other up.

“Over three years, we went from being the #3 store in the system, to #2 and last year we were #1,” Mock said. “Clearly it took more than adding new stores, but it certainly didn’t hamper our ability to grow and prosper.”

Froggy Fellowship in Dallas

 

Today there are seven stores in the area and they continue to work together closely. In addition to lending a helping hand (or heat press) when it’s needed, the owners meet several times a year to discuss business issues such as special pricing, personnel and vendor performance.

And then other times? They get together for nothing more than a good meal and some froggy fellowship. After all, building a strong, supportive community is what Big Frog is all about.

A Culture of Community at Big Frog

Have you been struck by the entrepreneurial bug?

Whether you’re a new or seasoned franchise owner, building a successful business can be a thrilling prospect. But while you may be building your OWN business, you certainly won’t be doing it alone. Not when you join the Big Frog family, anyway.

At Big Frog, teamwork, community and open communication combine to create a culture akin to a tight-knit family. In fact, it was President Tina Bacon-DeFrece’s experience growing up in the military that helped shape our company values – and contribute to the company’s growth. Below we discuss a few of the ways these experiences shine through in the culture of Big Frog. You can read more about Tina, her background and the Big Frog connection, by checking out this article in Forbes Magazine.

Teamwork

Life on a military base gave Tina a first-hand look at what can be accomplished when people work together for the common good…not just in terms of productivity, but also in the safety and sense of community that evolves from that level of teamwork.

Listening to our franchisees and hearing their opinions is one way we’ve tried to mimic that same level of community at Big Frog. Through this commitment, franchisees are better able to see themselves as true partners in our brand.

 Community

 Our relationship with the local community is also something very important to us at Big Frog.

One way we gave back recently, was through the sponsorship of an area middle school. Not only did franchisees visit the school to meet with students, but we also brought students back to our annual convention for an inspirational session that included open dialogue about hopes, dreams and the path to entrepreneurship.

Communication

Moving around and meeting different people gave Tina early exposure to how quickly language and communication styles can change depending on where – and who – you’re speaking with.

A key to developing that adaptability? It comes in part to an ability to listen and be there for your team. One way we do this at Big Frog is through our Big Froggers Facebook page. Here, franchisees and employees gather to engage, ask questions and share their success stories.

These three qualities play an important role in the culture of Big Frog. What qualities are most important to you when choosing a franchise?

Big Frog Offers American Made Clothing

It’s July and it seems like a great time to talk about clothing “made in America”. Just five years ago, it was pretty hard to find clothing made in the USA. The main supplier that everyone has heard of is American Apparel. What’s exciting is now there are multiple brands for our Big Frog customers to choose from all grown, milled and manufactured right here in the United States.

With styles available for men, women and children there is so much to choose from. If you’re a woman who is over the boxy T, have no fear, as they have V-necks, U-necks, fitted, organic, sheer, cap sleeve, athletic and raglan. And let’s not forget those tanks too….camisole, racer back, spaghetti strap, and muscle. What’s your flavor? Shall we talk sweatshirts? With choices like pullovers, hoodies, fleece, zipped, sleeveless and cropped! The choices are plentiful and the best part is that it was MADE IN THE USA. Seriously, how can that not make you feel better about what you are wearing? It’s practically like wearing the flag as your undergarments…or did that just go too far?!

Of course, we can’t leave out our male counterparts, with almost as many options. Don’t forget about the kiddos (hello T’s, onesies, bibs, hats and hoodies).Shall I go on? Brands like Bella/Canvas, Anvil, American Apparel, Bayside and Next Level offer well over 50 styles (and once you add colors, the options are practically infinite). It’s a good feeling to be able to support American workers and some of our customers demand American made apparel. For instance, as Joe Mock (Big Frog of Plano) mentioned, “One of our customers, a Marine Recruitment Station insisted on purchasing clothing made in the USA. Fortunately, we had a wide selection from which to choose.” The price point is a tad higher for custom American tees, but it’s nice to know you’re supporting American workers.

Now go down to your local Big Frog and be an American! Create your 4th of July garb with stars and stripes or better yet, have one of our talented graphic artist do it for you ; Oh and have a safe and Happy Fourth!

Customized Fashion Trend Tip: Spirit Jerseys Are All the Rage!

Have you ever shown up to your company softball league game and felt like you were down a point already, all because the opposing team had sporty Spirit Jerseys shouting out their company’s name? Are your sorority sisters are ready to try the newest look? It seems like anywhere and everywhere you look these days, Spirit Jerseys are out there.

In case you weren’t in the know, Spirit Jerseys are oversized long-sleeved t-shirts that have big, overflowing font on the back. Girls of all ages have been seen pairing these with a comfy pair of leggings or skinny jeans. Guys can wear it with a pair of jeans or shorts. These tops are perfect for lounging around, a lazy (but fashionable) day, or even attending any big event.

Looking for this year’s hot bridal look? Try dressing the bridal party in these threads and you’ll have a happy bride parading her crew. Having a family reunion this summer? Spruce up the entire clan by setting the bar high and upping last year’s tees for this season’s hot new trend. But, the key to really making them special is to customize them with “Bride”, “Maid of Honor”, or family reunion location splayed over the back of the jersey.

Our Big Frog owner from Flower Mound – Michelle Fischer states, “Spirit Jerseys are a huge hit in my area, especially with high school girls – we just did a 200 piece order. The Spirit Jersey by J America looks amazing with glitter vinyl, washes wonderfully and is very stylish. Oh, and the bonus is they are so comfortable, it’s like wearing pajamas outside of the house.”

Michelle also shared a customer photo, “This photo features the ‘Boy Mom’ clubs. Each mom got their own jersey with ‘Boy Moms’ on the back of the jersey with their sons’ names. Such a great idea and fun way to show how proud you are of being a mom.”

These relaxed fit shirts are comfy and stylish, AND you can flaunt your favorite team, organization, group, or company. Check out Pinterest for thousands of great ways to show off your individual style.

So whether you are Will Ferrell at the FIFA World Cup or grabbing a team drink after your last win, get in the groove and sport a spirit jersey!

Fashionista out!