This is a wonderful business, the clients are engaging and receptive and when I guide them to make choices they love, it really is rewarding.
Susan Mintz, Co-Founder
America's Color Consultants, LLC
Join a great group of color consultant. Be self employed but don't work alone.
Stay-At-Home Moms Create National Franchise: America's Color Consultants
How It All Started:
Every neighborhood has one, the person you go to for advice on how to fix a leaky faucet or how to reupholster a chair or what color paint is best for the family room.
Florence Jones was the go-to neighbor for design, technology and how-to for home improvement projects. Susan Mintz was the go-to neighbor when it came to paint color and home renovation. Lucky North Arlington! These long-time neighbors and work-from-home moms joined forces in 2007 to join the booming home improvement industry: they combined their creative talents and strengths to create Arlington Color Consultants.
The popularity of HGTV has encouraged the general public to lose "builder beige" and embrace color to brighten up their homes. Susan and Florence recognized that many folks wanted help choosing the paint colors for their homes, but didn’t want to engage a pricey interior designer. They offered their services at a local Sherwin-Williams in return for flyer and poster placement. They helped people in the store, but took the opportunity to explain why an in-home consultation would be more beneficial and reliable. It was a soft sell, and it worked! Home consultations were booked and the business was an instant success: a win-win-win for the paint store, the new business and the consumer.
What Flo and Susan knew was that many people loved what they already owned and didn’t want to buy a lot of new furniture and accessories. They just needed help choosing the “right” color and perhaps a few design “fixes” offered by an experienced eye. In a 2-hour consultation, Flo and Susan helped clients identify the perfect colors for their space. Along the way, they also taught their clients why certain choices worked. They empowered the client by sharing color and lighting information and color theory. Their clients appreciated the low-key, educational approach and the business grew with the help of strong word-of-mouth.
“This is a wonderful business,” says co-founder Susan Mintz, “the clients are engaging and receptive and when I guide them to make choices they love, it really is rewarding.”
From Small Business to Franchise
In 2013 Florence came to the realization that the flexibility their business offered for working from home would be attractive to other women with an eye for color, a “people” person who enjoyed helping others with their decision-making. After a weekend trip to a franchise trade show, she decided to pursue her dream of franchising the Arlington Color Consultant concept that had worked so well for her into a national franchise, America’s Color Consultants.
America’s Color Consultants (ACC) is the product of many years of business experience, development and growth, and ultimately the desire to share the success of the business model. The formal franchise documents were researched and developed by Franchise Marketing Systems, a national leader in franchise consulting and launching.
ACC co-founders Florence Jones and Susan Brackna Mintz will organize, train and support other talented women who want to take control of their professional lives by working for themselves but not by themselves, in the exciting home improvement industry. America’s Color Consultants was designed specifically to allow franchisees to work as much or as little as they want/can, depending on their life’s changing demands. New moms or those with little ones may want to stay connected to the working world through part-time pursuits, but work more hours when their kids go off to school. They may then need to cut back when elderly parents require their attention and time. The partnership approach that worked so well for Florence and Susan will be encouraged for potential franchisees.
Florence and Susan’s professional backgrounds are well suited for the expansion at hand. Florence is an award-winning graphic designer who also has designed websites, written several books and helped launch many small businesses in the northern Virginia area. She has over 25 years in the field and also refinishes furniture and does her own plumbing. Susan Mintz was the co-owner for 24 years of Specs Event Productions, a successful special events and public relations company in Washington, DC that worked primarily with small businesses. Her work included marketing and training personnel. When her Specs business partner moved away, Susan decided to pursue her artistic side and utilize the experience she gained over the years helping neighbors, friends and families redesign their living spaces. When Florence and Susan each found themselves working from home in 2007, they discovered just how suitably matched they were for a new business venture.
The Role of the Color Consultant
Florence and Susan are very interested in raising the profile of the color consultant industry in general. This niche within the home decorating field is one that is not instantly identifiable by the general public. America’s Color Consultants want to bring more attention to the expertise that is available when a trained consultant can come into your home, see your belongings, see the available light sources and see what colors you are consciously and subconsciously attracted to. It has shown to actually save the consumer time and money when a consultant can physically see paint samples in the actual living space, not under the poor lighting found in the aisles of the paint or home improvement store.
Occasionally, consultants also act as a color mediator when partners don’t see eye to eye about color or discover the changing perceptions of color by mature clients.
“I’ve had to negotiate color choices with husbands and wives,” reports Florence, “Sometimes he gets one room, she gets another. But, I find ways to make everyone happy with the colors we select. I also had one client discover he was color-blind as we sat together and went over like and dislikes. He was shocked.”