When franchisor Hakika Wise — founder of Kika Stretch Studios — set out to establish her many stretching studios across the country, she had a mindset of being a boss who also helps build others up to achieve boss status too.
As one of the first Black women franchisors in the world, Wise knew she had stumbled across something historic in growing her business. However, she knew the work didn’t stop there. With very few Black and brown franchisors, Wise took it upon herself to use her business as a vessel to encourage others to join her on the path to becoming self-made business-owners.
Through her unique stretching technique and chain of studios, Wise has been able to prove just how lucrative the fitness and wellness industry is. Not only has she helped thousands of people improve their mental and physical health through her services, she’s also been able to spread her infectious entrepreneurial spirit to help others find their financial independence as well.
After Wise’s success story made headlines, she started to get organic interest from prospective entrepreneurs curious as to how she was able to become a franchisor. In speaking with Wise, she told AfroTech how the dozens of inquiries she received inspired her to create an entire franchise school to teach her wealth of knowledge.
“I created this franchise school and I actually teach people how to [franchise]. Then I link them with a firm I use that offers a specific ‘Kika package’ for a lower price than any other place in the entire country because I told them [people of color] need a better price point,” she shares.
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According to Wise, the lack of diversity in franchising is discouraging to Black and people of color who don’t believe this is something they can pursue simply because “there’s no education behind it.”
“It’s an interesting time because I feel like I’m the only person in our community doing this,” she told AfroTech. “As I started [teaching franchising], people felt more fulfilled and happy and that they found their purpose again because people get burned out, especially after a pandemic. I tell people to keep going because franchising is going to create generation wealth. It’s really changing the game.”
So far, Wise and her franchise school have helped 14 different Black and brown entrepreneurs become franchisors of their own businesses. The purpose behind this school for Wise is to dispel myths around what it means to be a franchisor.
According to her, she says oftentimes people get the concepts of being a franchisor and a franchisee mixed up, which is a huge difference between being your own boss and being a boss under someone else’s business.
“When you’re a franchisor people pay you to buy into your business upfront.” she said. “So, we need upfront money in order to close the wealth gap.”
To put more Black and people of color in positions of power in the business world, Wise says that turning them into franchisors is the first big step. Once this is accomplished, she believes we can start building up generational wealth and resolving the racial wealth gap in our communities.