Buff City Soap Looks to Clean Up Beauty Industry
Disruptor brand set for national expansion; Signs 20 agreements in six months since launching franchise opportunity.
November 30, 2018 // Franchising.com // Memphis, Tenn. - Less than six months since announcing its franchise opportunity in June, Buff City Soap - a Southern-based lifestyle brand changing the way people buy their everyday soap by providing plant-based alternatives - has signed deals for four franchise locations under development, two of which will open by 2019, with 16 locations under contract and an additional 200 in the pipeline.
With 11 locations open and operating in five states - Tennessee, Colorado, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama - the plant-based soap brand estimates an additional 20 shops will open in 2019, with a focus on major metropolitan areas, including Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, and Miami, among others. As part of the expansion, Buff City recently celebrated the grand opening of its Naples, Florida location in early November. A following location in Dallas is slated to open in early 2019.
“Buff City Soap is the “Starbucks of Soap” - we break the personal and professional paradigms with our uniquely fun Makeries,” said Brad Kellum, co-founder and CEO of the brand. “We combine a retail shop and manufacturer under one roof, where customers can customize soaps and see employees handcraft each product in-store. We provide our customers transparency to know the ingredients that are going into their custom soaps. Similar to farm-to-table eating, customers know the story of their soap, from creation to their home. The result is a recession-resistant, frequent and loyal customer base.”
Founded in 2013, Buff City Soap started when Kellum, a former firefighter paramedic discovered that his every day store-bought soap was packed with cow fat and other synthetic materials. He, along with his girlfriend and cofounder Jennifer Ziemianin, a registered nurse, began experimenting with a plant-based alternative in their garage. Gaining the interest of family, friends and neighbors, the couple sold soap at farmer’s markets and launched a website to sell online under the name The Bartlett Soap Co. In 2014 the first brick-and-mortar location opened in Barlett and has since grown to 11 store fronts and a thriving online business.
Rebranded as Buff City Soap, the brand offers traditional soap bars, body butters, shower oils, and bath bombs, along with a facial care line, men’s care product line, plant-based laundry detergent, pet care products and bath accessories. Each shop includes a Makery, where employees handcraft each product in-store and customers can customize their products. Furthering its customization promise, the shops host birthday parties, bachelorette nights and other events, and the brand launched a subscription box service. In each new market, the shops carry unique soaps designed for the community, such as Livin’ in Paradise for Naples, Florida and Fresh Snow for Castle Rock, Colorado.
“The plant-based soap industry is growing, driven by an increase in skin diseases and a growing awareness among people regarding harmful chemicals present in synthetic soaps,” added Kellum. “We know soap plays a vital role in each person’s daily life and we care about what our customers put on their skin. Jennifer has helped craft soap that is sensitive for those with skin issues and each product is made from plant-based ingredients to ensure the highest-quality.”
To augment the brand’s growth, Buff City Soap is seeking passionate franchise partners who share the brand’s vision. Including a franchise fee of $50,000, the total investment to open a Buff City Soap shop is $235,000-$320,000. The average shop is 1,800 square feet and employs five-six part- and full-time employees.
“Buff City Soap is unlike any other franchise opportunity,” noted Kellum. “It’s not a restaurant or service brand, it’s a lifestyle. A pizza brand franchisee doesn’t eat pizza every single night, but our franchisees use the soaps at home with their families every day. With Buff City Soap, you don’t just buy a job, you invest in a lifestyle. We are enriching the lives of our customers and employees, and our franchise partners need to relate to the needs of our customers. If that’s you, then we’re your brand.”
About Buff City Soap
Founded in 2013 and franchising since 2018, Buff City Soap is a Southern-based lifestyle brand disrupting the way people buy every day soap. The brand’s Makeries house a manufacturing and retail business under one roof, where customers customize soaps and see employees handcraft the products in-store. Buff City Soap has 11 shops open in four states with 20 additional locations in various stages of development. For more information visit www.buffcitysoap.com.
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SOURCE Buff City Soap
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