Working for a 7-Eleven franchisee for 15 years helped Debra Zaza realize she wanted her own business. She just didn't want a convenience store. Deterred by the start-up costs and the time commitment involved in operating a 24-hour-a-day business, Zaza started looking for a business that would allow her to be creative and spend time with her teenage daughter without investing tons of money.
Zaza found what she was looking for in Candy Bouquet, the franchise she brought to her Woodbury, New York, neighborhood last year. "I researched it for about a year," she says. "I liked being creative, and they let you be as creative as you want to be. And I liked the idea that I could start out from home."
The franchisee gets to flex her creative muscles when designing candy bouquets for birthdays, holidays, parties and other events. Each bouquet is made of a variety of treats, from hard candy to chocolate to gummy fish. Zaza meets with each client before making their bouquet to learn about the likes and hobbies of the recipient, then she looks for the perfect candies, canister and wrapping for that person.
While Zaza currently runs her business with the help of six part-time staffers, she envisions a time when she'll move out of her home and into a store with a full-time staff. But first she has Christmas and Valentine's Day to keep her busy. "I'm anticipating Christmas this year to be really exciting and busy because last year I was caught off-guard [with] how busy I was," she says. "Now that I've built up a big customer base and a lot of repeat business, [I] can't imagine how it's going to go."