Janet Ferreira, Boomerang Kids
“You have to be in it for the right reasons; not just to make money but to become a staple in the community.”
Janet Ferreira and her husband Patrick had always dreamed of owning a business but were waiting for the right time – and the right opportunity.
So, when Boomerang Kids, a children’s retail franchise that sells new and used children’s, baby and maternity items, announced it was converting several of its corporate locations into franchises, Ferreira and her husband jumped at the chance to invest in a store. The timing was perfect – Ferreira was pregnant with her second child and was preparing to take maternity leave from her government job.
After doing their due diligence, the Ferreiras purchased the last corporately-owned Boomerang Kids store in Ottawa’s Westboro neighbourhood.
Just eight days after the birth of their son in September 2013, the Ferreiras were given the keys to their store. Despite having a newborn baby, Ferreira says taking over the store was seamless thanks to the comprehensive training provided by Boomerang Kids.
Ferreira says the highlight of her day is interacting with customers. Given the nature of the business – 75 per cent of the store’s inventory is resale – Ferreira is always hearing stories from parents about the items they bring in and the special memories attached to them. “It’s really nice to have that connection and become part of the community.”
To help foster that community, Ferreira organizes a number of free in-store events for new and expecting parents and their little ones, including Strollercize classes (a program developed by corporate and available at all Boomerang Kids stores), Zumba, yoga, belly painting, CPR classes and storytelling sessions. Hosting these events has helped her connect not just with local families but with other “mompreneurs” in the community who run their own fitness or art studios and come into the store to lead classes.
“It’s great to build those relationships and have parents come in. Ideally, they stay and shop and ask questions and form relationships with other parents. For new parents, there’s nothing better than having a venue where you know you can go to meet others in the same situation,” she says. It also allows customers to continue saving, since all of the classes and events are free. “Not everyone can afford the membership fees to go to a gym.”
To anyone considering a Boomerang Kids franchise, previous business experience is not necessary but Boomerang Kids franchisees do need exceptional organizational and interpersonal skills. “Being a people person is key,” Ferreira says.
Most important, however, is having a genuine passion for the business. “You have to be in it for the right reasons; not just to make money but to become a staple in the community and to help build the brand.”