Spotlight on the Woops! team
Woops! co-founder Tal Avivi talks building a dream, leadership, creativity, and more
With a wealth of experience, the creative team behind Woops! has a deep understanding of the many challenges and opportunities that small business owners can face. Rather than just reading about them, we think it helps to hear from the people themselves! Tal Avivi, Chief Design and Creative Officer & Co-Founder of Woops!, has plenty to say about how the company grew from a fun project between friends and what makes a great business owner.
Q: Tell us about how Woops! started:
In 2012, three friends and I opened a macaron pop-up shop at the holiday shops in Bryant Park in NYC. We all had full-time jobs elsewhere and we were hoping to cover our costs and try something new. And then we ended up selling over 100,000 macarons in less than nine weeks! “Woops!” we realized. We had a business!
Q: After the pop-up shop, when did you get the idea to expand the company and open up franchise locations?
We started thinking big as soon as we saw how well we were doing. We wanted to grow quickly since we knew macarons were the “hottest” product on the market. It was important to take advantage of that momentum and establish ourselves as the leading macaron brand in the U.S. But we were cautious not to be a brand with one trendy product. So we also developed a strong line of 20 to 30 iconic international treats that fit our concept of bringing the best of all words under one roof. Even though macarons are still our star product six years later, we created a much more sustainable brand by expanding our offerings.
The majority of us came from the franchise world and had previous experience as franchisors and franchisees. We all shared a passion for great customer experiences and for making sure our locations were run by people who take the business very seriously. Woops! is very unique, and our products and locations require special care and attention to detail. We realized that our bakeshops and kiosks do much better when they have a “mom” or a “dad,” someone who puts their heart and soul into it. That can really only happen when the place is yours, and that’s the main strength of the franchise model—it ensures that the person in charge of the location really cares and will do what it takes to make it work, for customers to get the best experiences.
Q: Now that you’re in your seventh year as a company, what do you think makes Woops! such a good franchise option?
Our business model is simple and relatively affordable to open. You need great people and service skills, but you don’t really need to have prior experience to do well (you definitely don’t need to be a pastry chef!) You just need to have passion for what you’re doing, be committed to hard work, and be able to follow our programs.
We’re a forward-thinking, exciting brand that’s constantly reacting and anticipating changes in the marketplace. We speak to a young, informed, global crowd, and we’re also very pretty—which always helps! As a Woops! franchisee, you join a great community and collaborate with passionate people who work day and night to help you succeed.
Q: What top three qualities have your most successful franchisees shared along with being passionate?
Commitment to working hard and learning every aspect of the business. Coachability, being able to follow the guidelines and programs that we’ve implemented to ensure success. And generosity toward your customers and team!
Q: What sets Woops! apart in terms of the support that it provides for its franchisees?
The recruitment process is thorough and thoughtful. Our team helps you find the right location and guides you step-by-step during the onboarding process and while you open your business. You also receive an extremely thorough operations manual and get ongoing support and help after you open.
Q: Let’s say someone is interested in investing in a franchise. What’s your best advice for them?
I’m a mother of two little kids and I see a lot of similarities between having your own franchise and becoming a parent. A lot of people rush into it and think it’s easy because “everybody else is doing it.” The reality is that it’s anything but, and you need to do your homework beforehand! Having your own business is one of the hardest things you’ll ever experience, and also the most rewarding—like being a parent. With both, you need to understand that you’re in it for the long run, and you need to fight every day to make it work. You have to protect it with all your heart to turn it into something (or someone) you’re proud of.
I definitely recommend doing your due diligence on all aspects of the business. Ask the hard questions and remember that franchising is a partnership between you and your franchisor. We’re all in this together, so you have to relate to or identify with your corporate team. You have to be able to trust them. Finally, make sure you’re passionate about the brand you choose to join and that you love what you’re doing—that’s the only way to do well!
Q: What’s your vision for the future of Woops!?
I want every person in American to think about Woops! when they think about sweet edible gifts. I also want to keep sending a message of inclusivity and respect for diversity. Our locations and menu are, in a sense, a mirror of the melting pot that makes this country what it is. And I want us to become a company with 500 locations that still feels local. People who come to Woops! should feel like they’re in a welcoming neighborhood place, where they can feel at home. That’s who we are and that’s how we do things!