The Zip Yard is the fastest growing garment alteration franchise in the UK
With distinctive branding and a shop fit that minimises square footage and maximises profit, The Zip Yard provides owners with a business that’s welcome on any high street.
Launched in Britain by The Bardon Group in 2011, growth has been strong and the company is on its way to achieving its first target of opening 50 centres in the UK.
The Zip Yard concept offers total flexibility, with the opportunity to run one centre or build a bigger business through owning additional centres throughout the country.
Specifically designed to project a stylish, high-quality image, The Zip Yard offers a wide range of alteration and tailoring services, all done on-site by trained professionals in purpose-built centres branded in The Zip Yard’s signature yellow and black colours.
From dress restyling and taking in or letting out, to bridal wear fitting or formal wear alterations, The Zip Yard provides convenient, quick and cost-effective clothing alterations and repairs.
The turnkey franchise package comprises a complete shop fit, state-of-the-art machinery, computer systems and comprehensive marketing support, which includes regional PR activity. It also includes industrial sewing machines, specialist alteration and repair machinery, a computer, software, EPOS system, signage, fixtures and fittings, various consumables, starting stock, plus training and ongoing support from the franchisor.
Former driving instructor Richard McConnell opened England’s first The Zip Yard franchise in Altrincham in 2011, followed by a second centre in Wilmslow in 2013.
He says: “We did lots of research in the franchise press and online and looked into a wide variety of franchises.
“The Altrincham Zip Yard has exceeded all our expectations and the model is so well thought out that it was easy to replicate in Wilmslow. Our reputation went before us and the customer base in the new Zip Yard is building nicely.
“It was my wife who noticed The Zip Yard advert and she thought it was a fantastic idea. We did some research and quickly realised there was no competition in our area. Most of the time clothing repairs are done as a bolt-on service at dry cleaners. The turnaround time isn’t very good and they don’t offer a very wide range of services.
“We went to meet Nigel Toplis, the franchisor and visited a centre in Wales. We were impressed by the professionalism of the franchise. The brand is very strong and the shop fit is amazing - from the fitting rooms to the equipment and layout.”
All franchise owners complete a comprehensive two-week induction programme that covers business practices, computer systems, running a centre, marketing, promotions and recruitment. Part of the training takes place in an existing centre to provide hands-on experience. Every aspect of the set-up, from finding premises to launching and promoting the centre, is fully supported by the franchisor.
Once up and running, the support continues with additional training, business and product support, ongoing advice and planning.
James Neale left a career in the NHS to open The Zip Yard Leeds in 2014.
He says: “I’ve never run my own business before, so I was quite daunted by the prospect. However, the head office was amazing. They took me through every aspect of running a business, including marketing, bookkeeping and invoicing.
“The training programme at The Zip Yard is incredible and the support from head office has been great. In my first week, I visited one of the top-performing Zip Yard centres, whose owner shared his wealth of knowledge and experience with me.
“In the run-up to opening, I received hands-on operations support and also had a lot of help with the recruitment and training of the seamstresses.”