Women’s Fashion Boutique Franchise Leverages Power of Social Media to Promote Customized Merchandise

 Apricot Lane Boutique has continued to flourish with a progressive approach to local fashion. By giving franchisees the freedom to customize merchandise to suit local tastes, providing affordable access to «on-the-verge» brands and leveraging cost-effective social media marketing, Apricot Lane is on pace to double its footprint from 75 to 150 locations by 2025.

Apricot Lane Boutique – a national women’s fashion franchise offering branded apparel, accessories and gifts – was founded in 1991 by Ken PetersenScott Jacobs and Tom Brady, who had a vision for a fashion boutique franchise that could offer current, quality fashion styles at affordable prices. Every Apricot Lane Boutique is locally owned and carries a uniquely-curated selection of merchandise that features a mix of established and up-and-coming brands, many of which are not yet available in traditional retail stores like Nordstrom.

Apricot Lane’s network of franchise owners serve as individual, expert fashion merchandise buyers, and are given the freedom to fill their boutique with merchandise that keeps up with their community’s sense of style. As a result, Apricot Lane offers something for everyone – from moms to daughters. Franchisees also take advantage of vendor-leveraged discounts, allowing them to sell new, quality styles at affordable prices.

CEO Patrick Stewart, who previously worked for retail brands including Sears Holdings, The Walking Company and Crazy Shirts, was drawn to Apricot Lane’s distinctive business model that sets it apart from competitors.

«Our boutiques offer an immersive shopping experience that can’t be replicated by other retailers, and certainly not attainable through e-commerce,» Stewart said. «Our business model rejects the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to retail, and encourages franchisees to build a boutique that reflects their community’s distinct style, while offering the latest fashion styles at affordable prices.»

Additionally, rather than turning toward costly traditional advertising methods, Apricot Lane encourages franchisees to create an authentic voice through a strong social media presence and social influencer marketing tactics. For this reason, millennial, social media-savvy entrepreneurs are attracted to the brand’s franchise opportunity, and currently make up around 15 percent of the franchise system. With new merchandise featured in boutiques every week, franchisees are constantly sharing content on multiple platforms – from an Instagram page to a VIP Facebook group.

Apricot Lane also heavily invests in philanthropic causes locally, nationally and globally, committing in particular to combatting human trafficking. After Petersen and his wife adopted their daughter, a victim of human trafficking from Cambodia, Apricot Lane formally declared human trafficking as a company-wide cause and launched the 3Strands Shop – an apparel and accessory shop that employs and empowers women rescued from sex-trafficking in Cambodia. The merchandise made at the 3Strands Shop are sold at every Apricot Lane Boutique. The company later established the 3Strands Foundation, a non-for-profit committed to empowering human trafficking victims through employment, education and engagement.

«We take pride in the fact that Apricot Lane not only empowers our boutique owners to their best self, but that the company is also empowering women across the globe,» Stewart said. «Our franchisees are not only passionate about fashion, but have a desire to make a positive impact on society.»

Apricot Lane Boutique is currently seeking qualified, like-minded franchisees who desire to independently manage every aspect of their business. The company would like to work with driven individuals to continue its growth through single and multi-unit franchise deals in hot markets throughout the country.