Jennifer Beall Saxton is the Founder and CEO of Tot Squad franchise, a mobile baby gear service that comes to the rescue of busy parents by providing the cleaning, repair and installation of strollers and car seats at different retail locations daily or at customer’s homes. With a team of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, Tot Squad is committed to the safety, health and well being of children. Tot Squad operates in Southern California, NYC, Washington, DC and is expanding nationwide to come to the rescue of busy parents everywhere.
Tot Squad was awarded the second grand prize in the NextGen’s 2015 Global Competition.
It was amazing to be a winner in NextGen’s first competition. At the two-day Summit, I met other incredible entrepreneurs and was able to hear about and learn from their stories. However, the most fortuitous part of the program was meeting Chairman David McKinnon, THE father of modern franchising and co-founder of the conglomerate Service Brands International (includes brands MOLLY MAID, Mr. Handyman, 1-800-DryClean). We hit it off instantly and he agreed to help mentor our fledgling franchise, Tot Squad. Months later, he became the head of our next fundraising round. He has been an inimitable resource and advisor.
Besides introducing us to David McKinnon, winning the NextGen competition helped give us the credentials and momentum to gain attention from others in the industry, potential investors and the media. Shortly after winning, we secured partnerships with leading gear manufacturers Maclaren, Orbit and UPPAbaby – further validation of our trust within the industry and credibility for parents. But by far, our greatest validation was a story by CNBC which named Tot Squad a “red hot” franchise concept in March 2015. That story opened the gateway to being a guest on CBS’ The Doctors TV show, a featured business in a Nissan advertorial campaign and the subject of many other articles. — I love having the opportunity to talk about what it means to be a franchise concept, an idea that has lost some attention next to “sexy” tech startups, but remains an incredibly efficient means to scaling a business!
Since our win last year, we sold our first franchise in Washington DC and have a few other leads close to closing. We also expanded our B2B platform and are finalizing on a contract with a major rideshare company that needs assistance with maintenance and safety inspections for car seats in their family ride program. Furthermore, we are hoping take our platform service into a partnership with a major online retailer and provide car seat installations and inspections with purchase. Lastly, we are hoping to pilot a test within a big box baby store chain for our national in-store kiosk concept, a la Geek Squad at Best Buy.
As I write this, we are now 70% to our second fundraising goal and so much of that momentum can be attributed to NextGen. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the competition – it has opened up so many doors for my business.
“Tot Squad was in business for three years before I learned about the IFA’s NextGen program, but winning the Global Competition is what gave my company the credibility needed to gain attention from others in the industry, potential investors and the media. Within a year of winning, we sold our first franchise and established retail partnerships with Babies”R”Us, Nordstrom, Buy Buy BABY, and Whole Foods. We’ve also reached 70% of our second fundraising goal and so much of that momentum can be attributed to NextGen. I am so grateful for the opportunities NextGen has created for me – the competition is helping us achieve our mission to bring Tot Squad baby gear services to parents with dirty car seats everywhere!”
Jennifer Beall Saxton
CEO and Founder