With the dynamic growth of Iris Galerie accelerating rapidly across Europe, we’ve found it hard to keep up with the number of openings taking place! Earlier this month we took the chance to speak to one of their latest franchise partners Wim Moerman, who told us all about his experiences as a franchise partner with this unique brand.
Hello Wim, congratulations on becoming the latest franchise partner for Iris Galerie in The Netherlands! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path before becoming a franchisee?
Sure, it’s a long history, but I’ll try to keep it short!
I am a certified public auditor and worked for Ernst & Young for just over 17 years. I then became Chief Financial Officer for a leisure company called SnowWorld, where I stayed for 13 years. I also became a member of the supervisory board for Vendu Rotterdam, an Art & Auction house where I learned a great deal about the art world.
Subsequently I began running the auction house, where I noticed opportunities for expanding the business within the art sector and became particularly interested in art photography franchising.
I spoke with Alex Coombe from FRANCHISEBIZ and we explored a range of opportunities, when he introduced me to the idea of franchising with their new brand Iris Galerie. Those conversations and then the meeting with the franchisor inspired me to get involved and become an Iris Galerie franchise partner.
What was it that made you decide to invest in this franchise opportunity?
Due to my background in auctions. I was interested in art of course, but I could also see clear links with the leisure industry where I spent a large part of my career. I liked the concept; it’s not just the product, which of course is excellent, it’s also an experience that you are selling. It’s everything from how it looks, to the people in the gallery, the music and how this atmosphere all comes together to sell the product.
It appealed to me to be involved in the democratisation of photographic art, as a way to get a broader audience in touch with photography. It’s an idealistic idea perhaps, but of course I could also see the commercial opportunity in drawing people into the world of art at an affordable level.
From experiencing Iris Galerie, the customer might then go onto step into an art photography gallery, or perhaps be attracted to invest in even more expensive items that we would sell at the Auction House.
What appealed to you about the product and attracted you to working with Iris Galerie?
The concept is very strong and we try to stick to it in our franchised galleries as closely as possible. The atmosphere of a high-end gallery is really appealing and we try to ensure people are buying into that in a way that appeals to them, as after all they are paying a premium price for a premium brand. There are certain things that differentiate Iris Galerie from other competitors, namely the experience of the team, but also the speed with which they are expanding across Europe, which is particularly special. Working with the team is great and the quality of the product and the in-person experience also helps it to stand out. Nobody else does this on the same scale or with the same quality as Iris Galerie.
Where are your galleries located?
We try to find special locations and already have two, with seven more in planning. We currently have a gallery in ‘The 9 streets’ in Amsterdam, a premium area home to some of the smartest boutiques and also in Markthal in Rotterdam; where we are the only non-food offer in this very popular foodie location.
Would you recommend becoming an Iris Galerie franchise partner to others?
Yes, absolutely. The concept and the team behind it are great. It’s very professional, but with the excitement of being involved in a fast-growing start-up. The team are really flexible and it’s good to be working in such an entrepreneurial environment.
Thinking about your experience of working with the FRANCHISEBIZ team, would you recommend us to other potential franchisees and why?
My experience with Alex Coombe was very positive, I found him to be extremely supportive and it was helpful to work with him in the early stages of exploring this partnership. Alex built a bridge between Iris Galerie in Paris and myself in Rotterdam, which was very useful.
What advice would you give to anyone considering investing in a franchise?
The interesting thing is that when you want to be an entrepreneur, but you aren’t naturally creative, you can get involved with a franchise and you don’t need to be especially creative. You don’t need to come up with an idea or a concept, you can work with a brand that has already done that. I’m qualified as an auditor and we are not known for our creativity!
A franchise is a proof of concept and of course you have to work hard and do the right things once you are involved, but the idea is already fully formed, so I find that working as a franchisee is a very helpful structure for me.
Thank you Wim, it was great to get the chance to meet you and find out more about your experience so far with Iris Galerie.
The FRANCHISEBIZ team wish you the best of luck with your ongoing expansion!
FRANCHISEBIZ would love to help you on your own journey to becoming a franchise partner. We have franchise opportunities available in a range of global markets, with top quality premium brands. If you think franchising might be right for you, but you’d like to find out more before deciding to commit, then contact our team today.
Who knows, an informal chat with us might be the start of your own personal journey to becoming a successful franchise partner!
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