Find your source of Natural Happiness at House of Pops

Are you looking to snack not just guilt free but on healthy choices, find your local frozen treat at House of Pops. Natural Happiness, according to House of Pops, is the root of health and wellness. They sell vegan, clean-label, all-natural pops. Their pops are high in fiber and allergen-free because they are made with genuine fruits rather than processed sugar. In this interview with Mazen Kanaan, Co-founder & CEO of House of Pops talks about his strong, fun and sustainable brand.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

We entered the franchise model at the end of last year, following four years of proven track record in operating more than 18 locations.
We have worked with a leading franchise consultant to develop the full program, ensuring a profitable business model for us and the franchisees.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

Health & Wellness trend is growing very fast in the F&B industry, but in ice cream, there was a gap in market. So we decided to launch House of Pops, offering 100% natural ice cream lollies, plan based, vegan, made from real fruit with no refined sugar and rich in fibers. Our pops are high in fruit content and rich in fibers. We also have a a very strong sustainability agenda, and our packaging is all plastic free.

3. What inspired the brand name?

We offer a great variety of pops that suit any diet, preference or taste, hence the name House of Pops.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

We wanted the logo to be minimalistic and to show the brand name in a very clear way.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

We offer 100% natural ice cream lollies across our entire range. Other competitors offer both healthy and unhealthy products, which in our view dilute the brand proposition.
We are also the only one having a very strong sustainability agenda, where not only our pops packaging is plastic free, but also the shirts and shorts of our promoters are made from recycled plastic bottles.
The entire range is plant based, and we have a Keto range for those following the keto diet.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

We basically look for a franchisee who believes in the brand potential and the importance of Health & Wellness.
A partner who is able to scale fast, has the right experience in F&B and the right organization to drive the growth.
We look for partners who share the same value of sustainability as a way of living and doing business.
We look for long terms partners.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

We project a less than 2 years pay back period.
Our model is based on low investment, high return.
We do not open expensive shops, we target small kiosks operations, as the nature of our business is more impulse.
The products also come pre-packaged, so there is no need to expensive highly skills labor.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was to land the first franchisee, and that was achieved by making sure we have a proven model that is working before we reach out to partners.
We took enough time, couple of years to make sure we perfect the model, and by that time, the brand had enough credibility in the market and enjoyed a strong awareness that enabled us to launch our franchise model and start recruiting franchisees

8.1 What is your best achievement?

Signing Saudi Arabia franchise was a great achievement for us.
KSA is a huge market, and we have now a perfect partner there who shares the same values, believes in the brand, and is expanding !

9. How does your business day start?

I start my day waking up early, exercising, taking breakfast then head to our office.
I check my emails, then start having update meeting with the team.
I always make sure to find time to go to market and check how our kiosks are doing, and I would check on our franchisees and discuss current opportunities that we can explore together.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

The best moment was when we first opened our first location in KSA, and the sales were way beyond our expectations.
I felt great as there were a lot of doubts about how can you export a model from UAE to KSA and if it will work there. Are the people ready to pay a premium for a healthier ice cream? and how much ?
When we saw the queues in front of our kiosk, we were over the moon !

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

In 5 years we will be across middle east. We are now focusing on GCC for the coming 2 years, and the middle east will be the next step.
The brand is working, franchisees are making good profits, i see no reason why we should not accelerate the growth.

12. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

First make sure you have a unique selling proposition. Define what you stand for, what is your competitive advantage.
Spend enough time operating your own shops before you franchise so that you get all the learning and have the right SOPs in place.
Franchise is the highest level of partnerships, make sure you deal with your franchisees accordingly.
Go the extra mile for them, especially in the beginning, they will have a major impact on your reputation in the market. Nothing would damage your brand more than a franchisee who decides to shut down.
Encourage feedbacks, stay connected to your market, and be ready to keep developing and evolving your concept.

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