Drew Brees Joins Franworth, Likes ‘Gut and Courage’ of Franchising
Drew Brees, left, the firm's new partner and executive board member, with Franworth Founder John Rotche.
As John Rotche remembers their first encounter, it was 2016 and he was speaking at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Drew Brees was attending a franchise session as part of the school’s NFL extended education program, “and after I spoke, he came up to me,” recalled Rotche, founder of consulting and brand acceleration firm Franworth. “He asked me, would I be willing to mentor him. Naturally, I had to look over my shoulder and make sure he was really talking to me.”
“At the time,” said Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback, “I was a multi-unit franchisee for Jimmy John’s and was in the process of evaluating another opportunity to be on the franchisor side for Walk-Ons Bistreaux & Bar.” He and Rotche stayed connected, and Brees later became an investor in Title Boxing Club, which is part of Franworth’s brand portfolio.
“When the opportunity came to join Franworth as a partner alongside John, David Barr, and the incredible team and brands assembled within, it was a no-brainer,” said Brees of joining the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm in August as a partner and executive board member.
Rotche, who came up through Domino’s under founder Tom Monaghan and later grew and sold the Ductz and Hoodz service brand franchises, said Franworth’s executive board was “literally created” to get Brees involved. “He most certainly is a franchise guy,” said Rotche. “As a franchisee, you understand what it means to write checks and he can understand the perspective of the franchisor. Plus his level of hard work and ethics and integrity is second to none.”
In addition to Title Boxing Club, Franworth’s brand portfolio includes eyelash extension concept The Lash Lounge, fitness concept CityRow, Live Well, a medical fitness clinic, and, hair color brand Madison Reed. Madison Reed is the latest brand to join Franworth as it announced plans last month to franchise its Madison Reed Color Bars under a joint venture with the firm.
“The boutique fitness and women’s beauty space have seen explosive growth over the past few years with no signs of slowing down,” noted Brees. “Our opportunity to align with the very best brands in the industry and help take them to the next level is what drives us.”
Brees, who since 2011 has opened 10 Jimmy John’s stores in Louisiana and is a partner in Walk-On’s, said he loves franchising for a few reasons. “First it is the passion of the founder. It takes a lot of guts and courage to start your own business and have the drive to take the risks to grow it beyond the norm,” he said. “Having the opportunity to align with these courageous and talented founders is awesome.”
The implementation of systems, processes and strategies is also “a fun challenge,” said Brees. “There is so much that goes into it. Then, to provide the opportunity for franchisees to take that proven concept and turn it into a business that gives them the chance for success and financial security is extremely rewarding.”
Franworth partners with brand founders with the aim to, as Rotche put it, “streamline the timeframe from when a brand first starts franchising to when the brand is royalty sufficient.” Services range from franchise sales, real estate development and construction, and marketing to operations, legal and supply chain. Franworth has its own distribution arm, Liberty Fulfillment, which for example provides the eyelash extensions and related products to The Lash Lounge’s franchisees.
Franchising, says Rotche, isn’t just about selling units, which is the mindset from which he and his team operate. “It’s can you get them open and can you get them open successfully and consistently,” he said.