High Street Retail
All sewn up
THE ZIP YARD HAS TAKEN A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE GARMENTS ALTERATION BUSINESS
The Zip Yard’s success has been built on the back of quality, speed, convenience and value - together with a network of hardworking franchise owners.
The market potential for this franchise is huge, and The Zip Yard expects all its centres to be profitable in the first year.
According to The Zip Yard, the clothing alteration business is not driven by the economy. When times are good more people buy new clothes that need altering to size, while when times are less good people get clothes altered or repaired to make them last longer.
However, people no longer have the time or skills to tackle even the simplest of hems, let alone risk damaging a favourite or expensive garment.
The Zip Yard has taken a different approach to the garments alteration business. Its highly visible, bold branding differentiates the company from its competitors. All centres are finished to the highest of standards and include state-of-the-art machinery, computer systems and, in most cases, seamstresses work in full view of the public so customers can see for themselves the high standard of workmanship.
The Zip Yard business model has been created, tested and developed to ensure you have the bestopportunity to be successful in the shortest period of time. Your investment delivers a fully operational and supported business, with trained staff and comprehensive marketing from day one. In addition, all centres are finished to a distinctive specification that makes them customer friendly, highly branded and very visible.
Successful franchise owners will be ambitious to run their own business, customer driven, well organised and keen to follow a proven business system. You do not need to be familiar with repairs or alterations and the company is not looking for tailors or tailoresses.
ZipYard Altrincham - England’s First Clothing Alterations Franchise
Richard McConnell, 33, opened his clothing alterations, repairs and tailoring franchise, The ZipYard, in Altrincham in September 2011. Although well established in Ireland, Richard’s business is the first ZipYard centre in England, bringing on-site repairs and alterations to the high street in purpose-designed premises with fully trained staff.
Originally from Derry in Northern Ireland, Richard moved to the UK in 1997 to study for a Management & Accountancy degree at the University of Huddersfield.
Richard is married to Marie and their first child, Darcey, was born in October 2011.
Education and early career
After University, Richard travelled and worked across Australia, Asia and Europe, often taking up jobs involving either door to door or telephone sales. “It takes real inner strength to do those kind of jobs, because you are constantly being turned down. You have to put up with a lot of rejection and negativity but it does build character!”
In 2003, Richard moved back to Huddersfield to work in recruitment for 4 years until deciding to branch out and become a driving instructor.
“I was 24 years old and I wasn’t enjoying the groundhog-day feeling of working in an office. I craved a new environment and wanted to get out and meet people. I was looking for work when an advert for becoming a driving instructor in the local newspaper grabbed my attention.”
“I liked the flexibility that the job offered along with working my own hours and being my own boss.”
Richard joined a franchise operation for 3 years before setting up his own independent driving instruction business for 5 years.
What led you to switch from being a driving instructor to running a ZipYard centre?
“My wife and I wanted to start a family, but my hours as a driving instructor were really unsociable, mainly during evenings and weekends. We didn’t think this would fit in well with family life so I started looking around at different opportunities. We had saved up a bit of money and thought that investing in a franchise was a less risky option.”
“We did lots of research in the franchise press and online, and looked into a wide variety of franchises.”
Why did you choose ZipYard?
“My wife noticed the ZipYard advert and she thought it was a fantastic idea. We did some research and quickly realised that there was no real competition in our area. Most of the time clothing repairs are done as a bolt-on service at dry cleaners. The turn-around time isn’t very good and they don’t offer a very wide range of services.”
“We went to meet Nigel Toplis, the franchisor, and we visited a centre in Wales. We were impressed by the professionalism of the franchise. The brand is very strong and the shop fit is amazing, from the fitting rooms to the equipment and layout. They really know what they are doing and can cater for every kind of alteration and repair on site.”
What kind of support have you had setting up your franchise?
“Both myself and my wife, Marie, have received comprehensive training, at the ZipYard training centre in Belfast and more ‘hands-on’ experience in a working centre. The training covered everything from administration and office processes to employment contracts, employment law, pricing, tills, equipment maintenance and the general day to day running of the centre.”
“Nigel and his team helped us to source the right premises and even helped us to negotiate the lease. There are so many areas that I knew nothing about, such as break clauses and other contractual technicalities where Nigel’s team have been invaluable. I’m so glad we weren’t on our own.”
How is it going?
“It’s going brilliantly and we are getting busier every week. In the first 6 weeks we saw our sales rise by 600%!”
“The reaction from customers is amazing. They seem genuinely ecstatic that we are here and their faces light up when they come in to the centre. They are delighted that we can breathe new life into clothes that they can’t wear or that are damaged in some way.”
What are your future plans for the business?
“Once we’ve got this centre up and running to full capacity we would love to open up a second one. Marie would also like to get more involved with the business once Darcey has grown up a bit.”
Would you recommend a ZipYard franchise to potential franchise owners?
“Absolutely, no doubt about it. It is one of the most unique franchises available, with a professionalism and quality that just shines through.”
Why The Zip Yard?
“I think the concept is compatible with the economic downturn. People have less disposable income, which makes them make the most of what they already have. For example, recently a lot of people have been bringing in ill-fitting clothes they bought as bargains in the January sales for us to tailor or alter.”
What was the training like?
“The training was excellent and very hands-on. You work in an existing Zip Yard franchise, learning all the processes and systems, so you understand every aspect of the business. Then when you’re ready to open your own shop, the training manager stays with you until you’re confident to manage alone.
“The support continues long after you’ve set up and there’s always someone available to offer advice if you need it. It’s also very helpful having a network of franchise owners to talk to and share ideas with.”
How is the business going?
“It’s a big success and we’ve exceeded all our projections. Our turnover has grown every month since we opened and we have more staff than we expected. I love being the decision maker and I get excited about the potential the business has to grow. The staff are loyal and we have a great team. The customers are happy and we get lots of positive feedback, so I’m very motivated.”
Would you recommend The Zip Yard to potential franchisees?
“Absolutely. You have to be willing to put in a great deal of time and effort, especially at the beginning, but the rewards are well worth it. It’s a great business, a great franchise and a great fit for the economic climate we’re in. It’s good exposure having a high street presence and the brand has really grown. Everyone I meet has either used The Zip Yard or they’ve heard of it.
The Zip Yard has taken a different approach to the garments alteration business. Its bold branding separates the company from its competitors and helps The Zip Yard to dominate in the high street. All centres are finished to the highest of standards and include state of the art machinery, computer systems and, in most cases, seamstresses work in full view of the public so customers can see for themselves the high standard of workmanship.
The ZipYard business model has been created, tested and developed to ensure you have the very best opportunity to be successful in the shortest period of time.
Your investment delivers a fully operational and fully supported business, with trained staff and comprehensive marketing from day one – plus! All The ZipYard centres are finished to a distinctive specification – customer friendly, highly branded and very visible.
Experience to date suggests that a unit of circa 750 sq.ft. is the ideal size for a ZipYard Centre – where the initial fit out will include:
Industrial sewing machines
Electronic point of sale system
Bespoke till and software package
Shop fit – including external and internal signage/Fitting Room/Counters/Flooring/Fixtures and Fittings
Opening starting stock
The cost is £33,000 plus VAT plus the shop fit.
Your investment gives you a fully operational and supported business, with trained staff and comprehensive marketing activity from day one. In addition, The Zip Yard is always on-hand with help and advice, ongoing training and product development.
The business is owned and operated by a very experienced franchise team, who also run Recognition Express, which has been in business for over 30 years and is a British Franchise Association Franchise of the Year winner, and ComputerXplorers, the worldfs largest education franchise.
All franchise owners complete a comprehensive two-week induction programme that covers business practices, computer systems, running a centre, marketing and promotions, recruitment and counter sales. Training is part classroom-based and part in-centre, providing true hands-on experience.
Franchise owners are expected to at least meet - if not surpass - The Zip Yardfs benchmark of ’100,000 turnover in their first year. The company is looking for prospective franchise owners who are dedicated, passionate, focused and hardworking. You do not need to be familiar with repairs or alternations, and the company is not looking for tailors or tailoresses. Successful candidates will be ambitious to run their own business, customer driven, well organised and keen to follow a proven business system.
You do not need to have a background in the garment alterations industry, as full training will be provided. Furthermore, The Zip Yard will assist with finding the right premises in the best location, and recruiting and training staff.
The company’s business ethos is based on the principles of excellent and responsive customer service, quick turnaround, quality materials and staff loyalty, augmented by efficient and proven business systems, marketing and promotional collateral, and ongoing in-centre support.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Janet Matthews – 01530 513307 or email@example.com
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