At FranNet, we like nothing more than celebrating the success of our clients. In this edition of our FranNet Testimonial Series, we meet Janet Carmichael of Nashville, TN, who just celebrated her 10-year anniversary as the owner of a Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More franchise. Our very own Market President of Tennessee and Arkansas, Dan Aronoff, was Janet’s guide for an entrepreneurial journey that led her to becoming her own boss over a decade ago. Below, in her own words, Janet speaks about the experience and how franchise ownership was the right fit at a critical moment in her life.
Before becoming a franchisee, Janet Carmichael was an insurance industry professional, with over two decades in professional liability coverage. She experienced a great deal of success, working for industry giants such as AIG and Crump while living in New York and as far away as Australia. She later settled in Nashville, working as an insurance broker before she was unexpectedly downsized in Jan. 2010.
“I took an entire year off after that,” says Janet. “I could have easily found a replacement insurance job, but the truth is, I was burned out.” She did some traveling, contemplation, and even spoke with a few people about franchising, one of whom recommended she speak with Dan Aronoff. “For the second act of my career, I wanted something fun and enjoyable,” says Janet. “I thought back to my time in New York, raising two children and commuting from New Jersey every day. There was no time for my family, and it was a hard life. I had the chance to rearrange things but didn’t know how.”
Thankfully, Dan Aronoff had a few suggestions.
Janet was drawn to the idea of franchising for many reasons, but particularly liked the idea of following a roadmap to success provided by a proven business model. “It really is like a business in a box,” says Janet. “Dan showed me several concepts and explained why Big Frog’s custom t-shirt franchise was a match for my goals. At first, I had visions of the cheap beachside vendors, hawking five t-shirts for $15, but Dan patiently laid out the differences of Big Frog’s target market—from businesses to churches, and schools to individuals and more. I wasn’t sure about the demand until I was cleaning out one of my daughter’s closets one day and noted the dozens of t-shirts laying around in piles. It was an ‘Aha!’ moment.”
Janet opened her Big Frog franchise in May of 2011. Over time, she discovered the many benefits of the brand’s amazing business model. At one point, she grew operations to a total of three locations before reconsolidating her efforts. She currently runs her Green Hills storefront with her partner, Lina Wagoner—one of her original Big Frog employees. “I got to establish my own culture as a business owner and I find it so pleasing to know that a majority of our customers are recurring, repeat business,” says Janet. “The key to my success as a Big Frog owner was identifying a devoted partner in Lina with a skill set that complemented mine intrinsically. Therefrom, she and I committed to creating a superior customer service experience and effective operational systems in a friendly and enjoyable environment.”
Looking back to her investigative journey 10 years ago, she shares what stood out about the FranNet process. “I never felt pressured during any of the decision-making steps with Dan [Aronoff],” says Janet. “I felt like he was interviewing us just as much as we were interviewing with him. The entire process—from reviewing my entrepreneurial readiness assessment to finding the perfect match in Big Frog—FranNet was very professional, organized, and presented us with quality franchise concepts to consider.” And while she has recommended a few friends and colleagues to investigate franchising as a means of business ownership, she has one piece of advice to share that stands out the most. “You should definitely use a broker like FranNet because they have the knowledge, experience, and perspective that provides access to the full franchising process.”
It was that kind of FranNet client experience 10 years ago that helped launch Janet Carmichael’s success as a Big Frog franchise owner. Reflecting on her 10-year anniversary in business, she says investigating franchise ownership when faced with a career crossroads was the right decision to make, remarking, “…it was a wonderful transition opportunity.”
For more information, please visit Janet Carmichael’s Big Frog franchise page on the web.