Futurpreneur Canada recognizes the hard work, determination and passion it takes to start a business. That is why we teamed up with CIBC for a campaign to recognize the milestones (big or small) that our entrepreneurs reach while starting and growing their businesses.
As a part of the campaign, we’re encouraging our Futurpreneurs to share their start-up successes using the hashtag #FuturHighFive on social media. Brandy Mercredi of FRANC is one of those success stories.
When it comes to your wardrobe, it’s important to have items like t-shirts and tank tops to round out your look. However, it can be tough to find basics that aren’t, well, basic.
This is the exact problem Brandy Mercredi would consistently run into when shopping for clothes.
With a background in fashion design and blogging and experience working with both large and small brand over the past 13 years, Brandy knew that there was something missing in the women’s fashion market.
She wanted clothes that were timeless and classic and well-made, but still had a little something special about them. Just as importantly, she wanted clothing that was made ethically, by people who were treated well.
“Owning my own clothing brand was something that was always a dream,” says Brandy. “After dreaming and planning and working for many other brands over the years, I felt like my ideas were refined and my skills were developed and in line, to finally take the scary leap to go for my dream.”
That dream became a reality last April when she launched FRANC, a women’s basics brand made ethically in Canada.
“We aim to create clothes that are timeless and versatile – clothes that complement personal style rather than dictate it,” says Brandy.
In just a few months, FRANC has produced three seasonal collections is already hard at work at the next one.
“Each season feels like a major milestone at this point,” says Brandy. “The fact that FRANC has been so well received in order to make new seasons happen is a reason to celebrate, always.”
However, starting an e-commerce fashion business all on your own certainly comes with its fair share of challenges.
For example, currently FRANC is solely online and sells directly to customers. While this helps to keep the end cost as low as possible for the customers, it poses a tricky marketing situation as most clothing shoppers like to ‘try before they buy.’
To get around this, Brandy decided to offer free returns for first-time customers so they can try FRANC items on at home and learn our fit with as little risk to them as possible.
Fortunately, for her, this strategy paid off.
“Not only are our returns lower than the industry average, but this strategy has helped to create loyal customers,” says Brandy. “We also recently starting doing pop-up shops to make trying on, more accessible.”
While Brandy’s experience working as a fashion designer and online blogger served her well for solving the unique problems that come with running FRANC, she also credits Futurpreneur Canada for giving her a “wonderful start” to her new life as an entrepreneur.
“[Jessica] has helped me in so many ways; helping me see past my own barriers, pushing me to think bigger and to think of the big picture,” says Brandy. “It’s been invaluable having someone with so much experience to debrief with, someone who also happens to bring a totally unique and amazing point of view to everything I bring up in our chats.”
Brandy has accomplished a lot with her business in a short amount of time, but her proudest achievement is starting FRANC in the first place.
“I am most proud of getting to where I am right now, for actually following my dreams and not listening to all the reasons why I shouldn’t,” says Brandy. “I am super excited to see all this hard work and planning that I put into place actually roll into a working machine.”
Her advice for future entrepreneurs? “Dream and plan, but write everything down every step of the way (even dreaming). Talk to as many people as possible and take help and advice whenever it’s offered (sometimes with a grain of salt).”
Written by: Jasmine Williams, Social Media and Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada
Want to be featured in a #FuturHighFive Entrepreneur Spotlight? Share you start-up milestones using #FuturHighFive on Instagram and Twitter!