Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Michael Mabry

October 04, 2023 00:25:08
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Michael Mabry
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Michael Mabry

Oct 04 2023 | 00:25:08

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Show Notes

Michael Mabry joins Scotty Milas on the podcast "All Things Considered Franchising," this week.Michael is the Managing Director of WonLife Brands, a franchise organization focusing on operational support and growth. With over 15 years of experience in the franchising industry, Michael deeply understands what it takes to build successful franchise brands. He is dedicated to providing franchisees with the support they need to thrive and believes in the power of strong relationships and collaboration within the industry.

On this episode, Scotty interviews Michael to discuss the evolution of the franchising industry
and the importance of operational support for franchisees. Michael shares insights into the
brands within the WonLife portfolio, including Flower Power Cooking Studios, Big Burger Spot,
Cartridge World, and Vivia.

Scotty asks Michael if the potential franchisees ask for more and more information than they did 15-20 years ago. Michael says, “100%, and you must be ready to give them that information in whatever medium they ask for. Some are online; some are on print, some on podcasts or even radio.” Michael then emphasizes the need for due diligence when considering franchising and highlights Scotty Milas's expertise as a franchise coach. The franchising industry has matured and attracts some of the best people in the business.


Key Takeaways:
-Franchisees are a valuable source of ideas and best practices.
-WonLife Brands prioritizes operational support and ensures the success of franchisees.
-Flower Power Cooking Studios empowers kids and builds a strong
community.
-Cartridge World offers a no-cost printer program and supplies toners and cartridges to
businesses.
-Vivia is a dumpster business with innovative technology and branding.

Scotty Milas can be reached at [email protected] or at (860)751-9126.
Michael Mabry can be reached at

#allthingsconsidered #scottmilas #businessownership #franchiseopportunities #michaelmabry
#onelifebrands #flowerpowercookingstudios #vivia #cartridgeworld #bigburgerspot

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:04 Hey, everybody. Welcome to another show, episode of All Things Considered Franchising, powered by Scott Milos franchise coach.com. I am your host, Scotty. Milos All Things Considered Franchising is a podcast, uh, dedicated to the entrepreneur, uh, people who are interested in learning, uh, about business ownership, whether as an independent or investing in a franchise. And of course, Scott Milers franchise coach.com provides a free service to clients who are interested in building a business model and getting introduced to pop potential brands that could be a fit. We help, uh, lead you through the, uh, the exercise of researching and exploring and, uh, making eventually a validated decision and not a emotional decision. I have a unique guest with me today, and we were just chatting before we hit the record button, uh, and I can't believe how long we've known each other, but, uh, let's just say that, uh, we first met, um, when we were both, uh, in the early stages of the Burger Wars. I wanted to, uh, welcome, uh, Michael Mabry with, uh, with us today. Michael is, uh, I guess president, chief bottle, washer chief, everything with, uh, one Life Band Brands. Uh, Michael, welcome. Speaker 2 00:01:20 Right on. Thank you. Yeah, it's been about 15 years and, uh, we had a, we had, we had a friendly competition back in the day, that's for sure. Speaker 1 00:01:28 Yeah. You know, and, and, and Mikey, you bring up an interesting point because that's what the uniqueness about this industry is, is that as much as we all seem to think that it's competitive, there's actually a lot of room and opportunities for a lot of people both on the franchisor side and the franchisee side. I think that that's what makes it unique. Speaker 2 00:01:49 Uh, yeah, I agree. Even, even all those years that, uh, we were competitors, there was, uh, uh, I know we shared best practices. Um, we talked about what was working, what, what wasn't working for each of our individual brands. Uh, we talked about our food. Um, we talked about how we were sourcing our food. We talked about people. I mean, the, that is one of the, the beauties of franchising. Um, while, uh, you know, we're all out trying to, to make our way and make a business at the end of the day, uh, we're all one team. And, uh, the whole idea is if you, if you've got strong, uh, competitors and strong, uh, uh, other franchisees that build strong franchisees, uh, those franchisees one day could end up, uh, uh, in, in your, on, in your boat, just like they were in someone else's. So the, the, the idea of, uh, you know, staying friendly, sharing best practices, and, uh, you know, really just, uh, businesses built on relationships and having true relationships with people. Speaker 1 00:02:45 Absolutely. Right. Well, you know, it's interesting because it, you know, you got your initial start into franchising, and if I got this wrong, correct me, but, uh, it's because you knew somebody who knew somebody that was starting a, a, a friend of yours was starting a, a burger concept and wanted to franchise it. You started to get into it. You started on much like I did on that ground level operations, got into development, uh, got into the management side, uh, got into leadership roles. Um, and you've seen a real transformation of the industry franchising, uh, you know, back in the heyday when we first started in this, you know, you had, uh, the three of us, or the two of us, and, you know, the, the, the 800 pound gorilla, you know, five guys in the industry, and, you know, it just blossomed from there. But what is your take on the franchising industry now before we take a deeper dive into, uh, OneLife brands, but where do you see the franchise industry? It's, it's mark on entrepreneurship. Um, and again, this isn't a take to take away anything from people who are independence, but franchising does offer a lot. I mean, I'm not gonna, yeah. You know, you know, but what's your take on the industry right now? Speaker 2 00:03:58 Yeah, it is a great question. And, um, you know, it's matured in the business acumen in the people, in the type of people that is track over the last 15 years has, has nothing but strengthened, uh, franchisee. Um, you know, the, the, the, the idea of, uh, of, uh, you know, back in the day, Hey, let's just, let's just go and let's, let's start this franchise and, and, and, you know, build this brand out. Um, um, we, I think we were relatively successful, uh, uh, doing that. But the competition has gotten so much better. Um, uh, people are educated so much more, um, uh, people now are, are, are focusing solely on building these, these larger franchise type organizations, whether franchisee side or the franchisor side. Right? And, and it's, it's upped everyone's game. So if, if you haven't upped your game, and that's what the education, that's with people, that's with systems, that's with culture, that's with the operations, that's with financial flow through, you know, there's strategic partnerships, uh, all through, uh, the industry, whether that's banking, whether that's real estate, whether that's, uh, procurement, that it is, it is really, uh, uh, uh, full bloomed into this, this powerhouse that is attracting what I consider some of the best people, uh, out there. Speaker 2 00:05:34 And when I say franchise, that's, that's restaurant brands, retail brands, service brands, right? It's, it's, it's, it's all brands because, you know, the, the, the, the idea, uh, if you've got a proven business model and the idea that someone can, can come along and, and, and, and partner, uh, and be a franchisee, and I'm just having this conversation with one of our, with one of our brand presidents, and they were talking about the, um, the, some of the franchisees and some of the people that we have in our, in our, in our, uh, lead pipeline. And I challenge them to look at it a little bit differently, which what is, look, whenever you have a, a corporation, you know, and, and, and it's all corporate, uh, operated, whether it's restaurants or whatnot, you, you've got some great people, but you've got leadership, and then you've got some <inaudible> leadership and, and franchising if you do it correctly. And if you've got the right culture, you've really got 10, 15, 20, a hundred, 500 CEOs out there. Correct. And, and you, you tap into all that knowledge and everything they've brought and what got them to the position that they were able to do this, then I think you've got some, some real, some harnessed, uh, uh, power. Speaker 1 00:06:55 Right. Well, I think it's safe to say that a as a, now, as a, you know, you've been a franchisor and, uh, some of the best ideas have come from franchisees. I mean, obviously you want them to utilize and learn the systems that have made the brand successful, but best ideas typically come from franchisees. Speaker 2 00:07:13 They're the ones that work. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:07:15 I mean, they're, they're, they're boots to the ground. Yeah. Right. It's, uh, it, it's interesting, you know, I was thinking about this when, when we go back 15 years, 20 years ago, when, when the development, when we were building and developing the brands that we were both associated with, things were a lot different because social media was kind of coming into it. I mean, I, I, I think we all remember the old days, you know, uh, you know, LinkedIn was starting to kick in. Facebook was starting to kick in, but we were doing development the old fashioned way, getting out there, meeting people or, you know, uh, I mean, how are you seeing as far as the people coming in and reaching out to you, potential franchisees, getting in contact with you? Are, I, I, is it safe to say that most people today want more information than they did 15, 20 years ago? Speaker 2 00:08:07 A hundred percent. And, and, and you've gotta be able to have that information out there in, in whatever, uh, medium that they want it in. So some of it's print, some of it's online, some of it's, uh, all of the social media aspects of it. Uh, some of it's, uh, uh, through news, some of it's through radio, some podcasts, um, right. You know, the, the idea now that, um, um, someone is coming to you, it's rarely it's rare. Like, I, I can't remember the last person that when I talked to 'em said, Hey, what do you know about Brand X? Whatever it is, one of the brands that we've got, they know a lot about it. Right? Like, they know a lot, and that's great. Um, uh, so, you know, what we've gotta be able to do, do again, is, is stay out on the forefront and, and, you know, what are we talking about and what are we leaning into on those brands so that, so that, so some of the, uh, folks that are interested in franchising can see that nugget, uh, maybe that some other brand doesn't have, um, that says, ah, I like that. Speaker 2 00:09:14 Let me go talk to them. Speaker 1 00:09:16 Right, right. So, let's take a deeper dive into One Life Brands, um, some unique concepts. Maybe you can share those concepts with the audience. Tell us a little about them, and you know, what, what, what's, you know, motivating, uh, you know, the brands that continue to be successful and, uh, make a presence out there in the US and potentially internationally? Speaker 2 00:09:36 Yeah. Yes. Thanks. Thanks. So, so we're, we're about a little over a year in, um, and, uh, the, the whole, the whole idea was born, uh, from, uh, my partner, Robert Maynard. Uh, he is the, uh, one of the co-founders of Famous Toasty. And he and I have, uh, known each other, uh, about 10 years or so, just through the industry. And we always talked about, uh, doing something together. And, uh, timing wasn't right for me or wasn't right for him. But, but a couple years ago, the timing was right. So for the first year that I, I joined forces with him, I, I ran the famous Toaster rebrand, uh, for him. Uh, but really from day one, he started to whisper in my ear about this, this idea, this dream that he had, uh, whi, which is to, uh, create a, uh, a larger entity and go attract, uh, either, uh, you know, some upstart type franchises or some, some franchises that, uh, had a lot of potential, right. Speaker 2 00:10:35 At least that we saw. Uh, so we made our first acquisition, uh, just over a year ago, uh, which was, uh, flower Power, uh, cooking studio. And, um, uh, three weeks later we had our second acquisition, uh, big Burger spot, um, interesting. Uh, and then in December, uh, of, so about three months later, uh, our, our third acquisition of, uh, uh, cartridge World. So, and we also have a strategic relationship with a, uh, company called illa. So Flower Power Cooking Studios is just that. It's a, uh, cooking studios, um, uh, franchise. And, uh, it was founder, uh, uh, led for years, uh, and she did a great job with it, but we felt that, hey, this thing's got, this, thing's got a lot of legs with it. So that's why we, we, uh, uh, approach that The segment is, um, ver Virgin. Um, there, there, there are some, some great, uh, uh, competitors out there, but there's no one really leading, uh mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:11:42 <affirmative> on that segment. Um, then we've also got, uh, a big burger spot that I mentioned, which is, uh, a a three unit burger, uh, uh, chain based outta Greensboro. We're not quite franchising that yet, but that's what we, that's what we, that's the plan. Okay. Yep. And then on the cartridge world side, um, uh, um, it, it's us and we, there's a, there's another investment group that's in with us, uh, but we're the, the, the managing, uh, members of, uh, of the board. Um, so the way the company, uh, works is we've got one life brands mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I'm, uh, I sit at that level, uh, and then I've got a brand president that runs each of those brands that I just mentioned, and then I support those brand presidents, and then they've got teams underneath them that run those brands. Then at the one life level, uh, we've got our shared services program, uh, hr, it, uh, accounting, et cetera. Speaker 1 00:12:39 It's interesting because, and, and correct me if I'm wrong in, in putting you into this category, but it sounds like you are that, uh, you are an F S O A franchise sales organization, but not only are you handling the sales and development side, which I think most FSOs, if not all do, but you're also focused on, which I think is as important if not more important than the development side. You're focused on the operational support, because let's face it, if you can't provide operational support, marketing support, getting someone opened and manage help, help them maintain their business, uh, as when they're, uh, when they're in the, as a franchisee, you failed as a franchisor. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong. Speaker 2 00:13:24 Yeah. I, I, I, we're an operating company first. Um, okay. And, and then, um, we're a franchise sales organization. Second, because we have franchise businesses. Um, okay. But we, but we've got to have, uh, as an example, um, acquisition of Flower Power August of last year. We didn't go out to market until April of this year, so, uh, we did, we didn't publish an F D D. We didn't, we didn't do anything. All, all we did was work on the operations there, go the brand, the branding of the brand, uh, hired a whole new team, Sarah Moritz, who is the president of, uh, of she'd be a great, uh, uh, interview for you. Okay. Um, uh, she's the president of, of Flower Power, and she didn't come from the franchising industry. She was someone that I knew, uh, smart, smart, smart, uh, dedicated, phenomenal vision for the brand. So that's what we worked on for the first six months. Uh, and so we, we've literally just been franchising it for about three months now. Um, and, and that's really the approach that we, we, we've taken with each of these, uh, cartridge world, uh, ac uh, acquired, uh, December 1st, and F T D was just published last week. Okay. So we took, uh, 6, 7, 8 months there, uh, to get the things in order. So we're an operations company first, and then, uh, that franchise sales, uh, organization second, Speaker 1 00:14:53 Well, it, it, it goes to, we we're talking to Michael Mavery of, you know, uh, president, I mean, managing Speaker 2 00:15:02 Director, managing Speaker 1 00:15:03 Managing director. Okay. There we go. Managing director of, uh, one Life brand. I'm Speaker 2 00:15:07 Just, I just made that title. I just made it up. <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:15:10 Well, that's okay. And I'm Scotty Milas, the host of All Things Considered Franchising. Um, it sounds like that the, the importance to your group, your executive team, uh, the people within OneLife Brands is, is that if we're gonna bring these brands in and we're gonna make the investment, we wanna set them right, or, or set them to be right. To be a franchise, or to be able to offer it. We're just not looking to throw it out there. And I think you and I could probably sit here and name the same six that you know about companies that tried to franchise it and just, you know, never got off the ground, but you wanna make sure that that support level and that the franchise is going to be successful, and it isn't just throwing it up against the wall and, and hoping it sticks, so to speak. Speaker 2 00:15:56 Yeah. To, I mean, to the best of our ability. Um, you know, I I, I've never taken it lightly, um, that, uh, you know, someone or, uh, a husband and wife or a a couple of partners or, um, uh, some entity pushed a, a check across the table to buy a franchise or multiple franchises, and that's real money. It comes out of a real bank account, uh, when they do that. So we've got, in my opinion, a moral obligation, uh, to, uh, ensure that, uh, you know, every decision that we make is for the betterment of that franchisee. Doesn't mean we're right all the time, sometimes we're not. Right. Right. But it, but it comes from a place of, is this best for the franchisee? Um, and, you know, you've gotta find people that believe in that, and our entire leadership team does, and that, that's really our focus on a daily basis. What decisions are we making? It, it's, it's pretty simple, you know, there's says, well, you know, what's the most important things? Well, there's really three in franchising, in my opinion, one unit level sell. So whatever that, whatever your, whatever you're operating unit level sales is, is numer, uno, number two, unit level economics. That's the, that's the second thing. You gotta have the sales, you gotta make money. And then number three is, uh, uh, growth of that brand. So you've gotta do all three. If you take care of the first two, the third one happens. Speaker 1 00:17:21 Right? Right. So, um, when you look at your brand portfolio, uh, and looking at brands to possibly bring in, um, any insight to what you're seeing as sectors, categories that are, uh, grabbing attention, because, you know, when we look over the last three years coming at, you know, with Covid out of the pandemic, you know, home Services, you know, just kind of flew off the shelf, uh, home services, the pet industry, uh, there's been sort of a mid a drop in that, uh, as far as inquiries, I think the dust has settled a little bit, but what are you seeing as sort of some trendy, um, and even your brands? I mean, where are you seeing those trends? Where what direction are we going in, you think? Speaker 2 00:18:07 Yeah. Um, you know, there, there there's three that fa famous toasty, uh, in this better, uh, breakfast, uh, segment. There, there, there are, there are some great, uh, competitors again out there. Uh, but there's not a lot that are franchising. So that, that kind of sits on its own. It's a, uh, next year is 20 years. Uh, so it's, we're not a upstart. It's a, a, you know, great solid, uh, investment for someone who wants to be in the restaurant business, wants quality of life. Um, and then, you know, the, uh, flower power, um, anything to do with kids, and, and it's, and it's focused, uh, on kids, but it, it's really from preschool to age 99, uh, that was the rebranding, uh, that we went through. It used to be called Flower Power Kids Cooking Studio. We drop the kids, change the logo, uh, up the curriculum, et cetera, et cetera. Speaker 2 00:19:00 Uh, but still the core focus is, is kids. Um, and you know, that that is, that is, um, uh, key, uh, because everyone wants their, their kids to have an opportunity to do something, to feel good about themselves, uh, and to, to feel that they are a part of something, uh, bigger than themselves. So that's where flower power comes in, and just the culture behind it. Right. Uh, you know, cartridge World is a, is a, uh, shoot, I think 30 year old brand. Um, at one time it was, uh, uh, you know, over a, uh, 500 million in, in global sales. And then over the years it's been bought and sold a few times. Um, and, and now we're, we're responsible for the United States, but it's, there's nothing sexy about it. Um, right. But I bet you've got a, I think I see a printer right behind you. Speaker 2 00:19:51 Uh, <laugh>, everyone, everyone's got a printer or two or three, right. Um, and, uh, so, you know, we, we have a, have a product, and we've got, uh, we, we have two main products. Uh, the first product is what we're, uh, marketing, which is our executive office model, uh, which is, you can work from anywhere. It's not a brick and mortar. Uh, then the idea is you build your book of business, um, and, um, you supply toners and cartridges and ink, uh, to that book of business. Then the next question is, well, how do you get the book of business? Well, we've got a no-cost printer program. So if I walk into a business and they've got 15 printers, and I say, Hey, as these as you need new printers, let me provide it for you at no cost to you. I just ask that you, uh, buy the cartridge, buy the cartridges from me. Speaker 2 00:20:38 So, so there's, again, it's not sexy, but it's, uh, it's needed. Uh, and, um, even with more people working at Home, home now, there's more printers out there than ever. Uh, 'cause now you have to have a printer at the office, and you have to have one at home. Right. Uh, so there's that business. And then I've touched on Vivia, uh, just, uh, uh, uh, uh, for a little, a little bit. But Vivia is a, uh, dumpster, uh, business. And, um, you know, you haul trash. Uh, it's a great business. Um, uh, Robert, uh, Maynard, again, co uh, founder of One Life, he sits on their board. Uh, so we handle their franchise development for them. And, um, uh, it, it, it's a, it's a, it's a dirty business. Um, <laugh> Speaker 1 00:21:25 Yes. Speaker 2 00:21:26 But they, but what they've done, uh, and their technology and their branding, uh, and the niche that they are, are focusing in on their markets is really something extraordinary. So, to answer your question, I, I feel it's, it's whatever these, these, these niches are, um, that people, uh, they're already using these types of services, ink, trash, um, right. And then how do you build a business model on it and, and get it out there. Speaker 1 00:21:56 Interesting. Interesting. Um, Michael, if somebody wanted to find out more about, uh, OneLife Brands in the portfolio, what would be the best way to learn more? Maybe an entrepreneur out there who's gonna, you know, who's listening to the podcast says, well, you know, Vivia sounds good. I really like fowl power, but how would one find out more about the, uh, the brand portfolio and be able to speak somebody directly? Speaker 2 00:22:18 Yeah, thank you. Go to OneLife brands, uh, dot com, and, uh, it's just an informational, uh, website, but it's got links to all of these brands that I just mentioned. Okay. Um, and, uh, we'll take it from there. Speaker 1 00:22:31 Yeah. Now, that's OneLife Brands, but it's w o n Life brands. Correct. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Thank, we'll have that up. Yep. Yep. Thank you. I just wanna make sure that if anybody's Speaker 2 00:22:39 The whole idea, yeah. The whole idea there. It's kind of a double, uh, entendre of, uh, you have one life to live and let's win at that life. So one Life brands. That's, that's great. Great. How we came up with Speaker 1 00:22:50 Any, any closing thoughts? Anything you wanna share? Anything we can, uh, you know, uh, anything you wanna bring up, uh, you know, as we close out here? Speaker 2 00:22:59 Yeah, I got a couple things. Uh, you know, one is if you're interested in, in franchising, as Scott mentioned, do your due diligence. Right. Um, and, and it's, it's, it's contractual obligated, uh, uh, relationship you're getting into. So, so make sure that you can see yourself wearing that logo, uh, for at least the next 10 years and, and something you'll be, you'll be proud of, um, as you go through that. And then, uh, lastly, as, as Scott mentioned, uh, I, I, we've known each other a long time, and if he is, he, if he's offering some, uh, some free advice, as he mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, I suggest anyone listening, take him up on it. Thank Speaker 1 00:23:39 You. I appreciate Speaker 2 00:23:40 That. He's, he's a professional, uh, he's honest and, uh, he's someone that you could rely on to, to get some real solid information from. Speaker 1 00:23:47 Well, thank you, Michael. I appreciate that. And, and, and, and to the audience, uh, you know, uh, I, I, I wouldn't bat an eye, um, referring or introducing anyone to any of the brands over at One Life. I mean, if, if, if the credibility of the brands are, are anything like the credibility of you, Michael, um, uh, you know, and I've known you for a long time, I think, you know, especially, uh, you know, uh, in developing brands and, and, and, and, uh, validation from franchisees. And, uh, definitely would, uh, consider, uh, and recommend that people, you know, reach out to you to learn more about the opportunities. Michael, I hope we can get you back on six months from now to kind of get an update where the brands are. Anything new. Um, I want to thank you for participating in the show. We've been speaking to Michael Mabry of, uh, OneLife Brands. I'm Scotty Milas, uh, president, uh, of, and founder of Scott Milo franchise coach.com. And the podcast host and founder of All Things Considered Franchising. Reach out to me accordingly. If you're interested in learning more about franchise opportunities, have questions on entrepreneurship, and provide you the best in guidance that we can possibly can. So this is, until next time, again, Scotty Milas, make it a great day. Thank you.

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