These Franchise Founders are Shattering the Glass Ceiling for Women in Franchising

Meet Five Trailblazing Franchisors Who Weigh in on Female Entrepreneurship

In honor of Women’s History Month, female franchise founders are celebrated for their incredible contributions to the franchise industry and entrepreneurship. Today, there are 12.4 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., which generate over $1.8 trillion annually. We have seen incredible growth in female entrepreneurship, which has increased by 114% over the past 20 years.

Despite all the progress women have made in business, there is still gender discrimination in the workplace, but franchising offers an alternative path free of bias. Through franchising, women have the opportunity to become their own boss, provide for their families and achieve work-life balance. Women can succeed in franchising as a result of their own merits. The franchise industry has become a haven for women who have had to quit their jobs or put their careers aside for family responsibilities.

At one time, franchising was considered a male-dominated industry, but that is certainly not the case anymore. Women in franchising have shattered the glass ceiling and are leading in all areas of the industry. The International Franchise Association has fostered this movement with increased awareness of franchise opportunities and attempts to close the gender gap through the Women’s Franchise Committee.

There are countless stories of successful women in franchising. Here, we talk to five amazing female franchise founders who have empowered female (and male) entrepreneurs through their business opportunities. They discuss the inspiration behind their incredible franchises and what can be done to ensure the growth of women-owned franchises. We begin with Leslie Barron and Amy Reed, co-founders of Woofie’s, LLC, a boutique mobile dog grooming franchise that also offers in-home overnight care, dog walking and pet sitting services.

Leslie Barron and Amy Reed
Co-Founders, Woofie’s, LLC

Leslie Barron and Amy Reed, Woofie's, LLC
Leslie Barron (Left) and Amy Reed (Right)

We believe that franchising is the right fit for those women who want to build equity for themselves and create their own future wealth opportunities.

What was the inspiration for the Woofie’s franchise?

As “dog moms” and passionate pet people, we saw a need for professional and personalized pet care services in our local community. We decided to leave the corporate world and open our own pet care service company with the goal of elevating the level of professionalism and customer service in the local pet care industry. Our dogs were really our inspiration – we wanted better for them as valued members of our family and we knew we could deliver exceptional care for all pets and hire team members who shared our passion and vision.

What has your experience been like as female franchisors?

It’s been great! We’ve never considered ourselves “female franchisors” and never expected to be treated any differently than our male counterparts. In fact, we’ve found that the franchising community as a whole is extremely welcoming and collaborative. It’s been wonderful to meet so many other franchisors – both male and female – who have been great mentors and have supported us on our franchising journey.

What are your long-term goals for Woofie’s?

Woofie’s was acquired by Authority Brands in Jan. 2022, giving us the capital, expertise and resources we need to scale our business model. Partnering with such an amazing company will put Woofie’s on the trajectory to grow nationwide in the next few years. We see Woofie’s turning into a national brand with locations all across the U.S.!

 What can be done to ensure the growth of women-owned franchises?

The best thing to do to ensure the growth of women-owned franchises is to support them in any way you can and to always serve as a role model for fellow female entrepreneurs. Whether that is buying products and services from women-owned franchise businesses, supporting them on social media or collaborating and partnering with them. We work with an incredible team of women at Woofie’s and Authority Brands and we have amazing female franchise owners in our network. We love to work with strong business women and we are committed to doing whatever we can to help raise the awareness of women in the franchise world.

Why is franchising an excellent industry for women?

More and more women are deciding to take control of their own destinies and design their own futures. We believe that franchising is the right fit for those women who want to build equity for themselves and create their own future wealth opportunities. Investing in a Woofie’s franchise gives our female business owners the ability to turn their passion for pets into a business, to build a company that promotes career growth for its team members and to give back and make an impact on their local community.  

Laura Spaulding
CEO, Spaulding Deacon 

Laura Spaulding, Spaulding Deacon

Women are already wearing multiple hats, so we feel that women are ideal for our business.

What was the inspiration for the Spaulding Decon franchise?

I was working in law enforcement for seven years and [felt] burnt out from the terrible hours and the low pay. I was looking for a business to start. One evening, I was working a homicide and a victim’s mother asked me when “we” (the police) were coming back to clean up the crime scene. I had never been asked that before, and I started a fact- finding mission. I asked the homicide detectives, CSI, and no one knew the answer. I saw there was a need, and I knew that it would be a niche service.

What has your experience been like as a female franchisor? 

I was already a minority in the restoration industry, but being a female franchisor I realized that I am even more of a minority. I was unable to find any actual data showing numbers for female franchisors/founders. It is extremely small. I have experienced discrimination in business as I’m sure most women have. I have never been given a business loan, venture capital money or any private money to grow my business. I have continually sought it and have never received it despite how profitable we are. 

What are your long-term goals for Spaulding Deacon? 

My short term goal is to get to 100 units. My longer term goal is to dominate the market with disaster restoration services featuring our niche. I would like to expand to Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. 

What can be done to ensure the growth of women-owned franchises? 

I have made it my personal mission to heavily recruit women to be franchise owners with us.  We want to focus on women who have been overlooked by other brands and empower them to succeed in our industry. My experiences in business have allowed me to turn the tables and provide benefits and opportunities for other women.

Why is franchising an excellent industry for women?

It is excellent for women because the foundation of the business is already there for them. [We as] women tend to be great at following systems and focusing on the ultimate prize. Women are already wearing multiple hats, so we feel that women are ideal for our business. 

Samantha Rincione
Founder/CEO/COO, Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ

Samantha Rincione, Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ

Women are powerful and resilient beings.

What was the inspiration for the Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ franchise?

I have been in the franchising sector for many years. My goal for Crave was to have a franchise company where franchisees would not need food or franchise experience. We are always there from A-Z for the franchisees to include real estate assistance, operational assistance, training programs, SBA assistance and more.

 What has your experience been like as a female franchisor?

It has been joyous. I especially love all the couples and women we have welcomed into the Crave family. It has its challenges being a woman in the industry, but that just makes us stronger.

What are your long-term goals for Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ?

We hope to continue expansion and have 100 units and 25 trucks open in the next three years. We aim to be in all 50 states nationally.

What can be done to ensure the growth of women-owned franchises?

Women are resilient and powerful beings. It’s an honor to empower women to be franchise owners.

Why is franchising an excellent industry for women?

There’s nothing women can’t do in my mind. Being able to own your own business and be a part of a franchise family is certainly rewarding!

Denise Stern
Founder and CEO, Let Mommy Sleep, LLC

Denise Stern, Let Mommy Sleep

Franchises take the trial and error out of the start-up phase, so owners can get on a path to profits quickly and efficiently. 

What was the inspiration for the Let Mommy Sleep franchise?

The inspiration for Let Mommy Sleep came from my own struggles after giving birth to identical twins when my son was 18 months old and my husband had no paternity leave. So many families with newborns don’t have community or family support; however, overnight care like the kind we provide not only helps parents be present during the day, but allows them to recuperate from childbirth and have better health outcomes. My family did everything ‘right’ when my daughters came along, but I still had health issues that came out of nowhere. I saw the need for professional help first hand and literally named the business from my own bed! 

What has your experience been like as a female franchisor?

I could not ask for a better experience as a female franchisor! I gave up being intimidated long ago; feelings of inadequacy just aren’t a thing anymore, and I think it’s freeing to be a female franchisor. We set the expectations for ourselves instead of following the old models. 

What are your long-term goals for Let Mommy Sleep?

My long-term goal and that of each franchisee on my team is to aggregate the postpartum and newborn care industry in America, which is currently a bit of a Wild West. There is currently no license or meaningful certification for what we do and pricing can be anywhere from $15-$50 per hour. The goal is that by franchising and continuing to lead in best practices, the company will become large enough to warrant a separate, stacked credential in newborn care for home health aides and certified nursing assistants. That credential will provide accountability and baseline of evidence-based education in the care of infants. This will give families an elevated level of care and give caregivers (who are overwhelmingly women) a respected nursing credential in their career. 

What can be done to ensure the growth of women-owned franchises?

We can ensure the growth of women-owned franchises by meeting women where they are. By that, I mean that we need to continue to offer those innovative brands that are not tied to a brick and mortar base. If the COVID-19 pandemic taught the business world anything, it’s that flexibility is as important as ability. Women balancing work and home, of course, knew this already. Continuing to provide the tools and the permission to pivot if needed will be key in ensuring growth. 

Why is franchising an excellent industry for women?  

I used to joke that I was ‘forced into entrepreneurship’ because the cost of childcare was prohibitive. But it’s actually not that funny because it’s true that self-employment is actually the most viable option for many women and stay-at-home parents. There are so many lower-cost franchises like mine that allow women to work from home and scale the business as large or small as they wish. That model is mirrored in the franchise industry, as well. Franchises take the trial and error out of the start-up phase, so owners can get on a path to profits quickly and efficiently.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Haley Cafarella is a passionate journalist and content developer. In her role as content and marketing specialist for IFPG, she creates original content for the franchise broker network's ongoing initiatives and writes articles for FranchiseWire.com.
Send this to a friend