Publisher: Mary E. Tomzack
Editor: Lynie Arden
Assistant Editor: Vanessa Goldschneider
Design: Halit Rugova
Most franchise categories are loaded with competition. The biggest category, restaurants, is a crowded field with literally hundreds of franchise offerings vying for a piece of the pie. Someone is always coming up with a new way to make a sandwich, but another restaurant franchise is, well, just another restaurant franchise. We thought it would be interesting to find some truly unique franchises, the kind that thrive in the absence of competition. Check 'em out.
ElizaJ may be one of the most unique franchise concepts we've seen. The idea is to deliver upscale, self-contained restrooms for special outdoor events. Now before you hold your nose, these aren't the stinky things usually associated with portable restrooms. These are elegant, refined, and discreet. And they're loaded with all the amenities that you'd expect to find in a hotel restroom-music, fresh flowers at the sink, designer soaps and lotions, sewing kit, etc.
Eliza Kendall came up with the concept after spending 10 years in the events industry. "This is generally a male dominated industry. I came in with the concept of restrooms for weddings that are by a woman for a woman. The market for portable restrooms is huge, $1.5 billion, but no one is in this niche market. There is no one out there doing exactly what we do."
ElizaJ does serve other events besides weddings, but Kendall points out that weddings are a recession-proof business. "So that's our focus. We do other higher end events like Senator Kennedy's clam bakes and the occasional golf course. But 90-95% is weddings."
Although clients are sophisticated, ElizaJ provides the high quality service at affordable prices. "A 2-room unit (women's room on one side and men's on the other) rents for $900. That's for the whole weekend, delivery included." Compare that to the alternatives. "There are some palatial trailers with marble and wood and then there are those stinky things. There's nothing in between (like ours). The big ones fit the needs, but generally someone who is having an outdoor party doesn't need to spend the $5000 it costs for restroom facilities."