Francesca Bets Big on Pre-Teens, Millennial Moms, and Generation Alpha


Specialty retailer francesca’s is investing in its tween clothing line called ‘franki’ and will introduce the brand this holiday season by adding pop-up stores, exclusive young entrepreneur products and an omnichannel marketing program including a holiday fashion show in direct TikTok. Last November, the Franki line was launched to test the market for young customers. Andrew Clarke, CEO of the company, said in an interview that the Franki line was truly born out of a year of innovation. In 2020, when business was tough, the company had to adjust its business model to shift primarily from catering to busy customers who were on the go to those who stayed at home. Clarke said: “We added lingerie assortments and we also found through data analysis that the customer was getting younger.”

Millennial Native Digital Moms with Gen Alpha Kids

The target market for the Francesca brand is a native Millennial digital mom with Alpha Generation kids. Clarke explained how young girls viewed Francesca’s as an ambitious brand. Young tweens make fashion choices and are more authoritative about what they wear. “We knew generational shopping takes place where moms, aunts and big sisters shop alongside the Gen Alphas,” said Clarke. The Franki brand is targeting this younger market with clothes that appeal to the Gen Alphas. “The younger generation are very interested in fashion and want to design their own outfits,” Clarke said. The Franki line is a sophisticated fashion that fits perfectly.

Originally part of the francesca stores merchandise mix, demand for franki continued to grow and the company needed to expand brand presence and physical space. The line has gained traction from five francesca stores to one hundred in the past year and has been seen as a cool (rather than cute) fashion brand. Clarke said assortments were more on trend than item-driven, which resonated with the interpolated customer.

November marks the first anniversary of the Franki brand

In November, the launch of a standalone website as well as a unique and attractive pop-up space will take place to commemorate the first anniversary of the franki line. On November 5, Franki will open its first pop-up store at Memorial City Mall in Houston, Texas, where the company’s headquarters are located. On November 10 in Huntington Beach, Calif., Francesca’s will host an in-person, live-action fashion show featuring music from Capitol Records artist Emeline as well as famous TikTok celebrities Madison Lewis, Indiana Massara and Brooklyn Queen in as models. Franki’s standalone website ( will officially launch on Friday, November 5th.

The franFINDS designer program unveils rising brands

As part of the holiday assortment this year, francesca launched a franFINDS program over the summer to support young and up-and-coming designers. Over 100 brands were nominated and ten finalists were selected to present their product ideas and designs to the francesca management team. Each of the ten finalists had a unique story about developing their brand, and four incredible business owners from across the country were ultimately chosen as the winners. These four brands have been awarded a contract to sell products at francesca, benefiting from the support and mentorship of the management team and a platform to distribute their products. Clarke explained, “Our mission was to find those under-represented brands that celebrate originality and allow our customers to experience these unique and one-of-a-kind product assortments. ”

Clarke also discussed the reverse mentoring that took place between the management team and the young entrepreneurs. These four winners and their products will be featured in the francesca holiday gift guide starting November 2 and will be included in francesca’s holiday product line in store and online:

  • Simply Perla | Houston Polymer Clay Jewelry and Accessories | @bysimplyperla
  • Citrus & Cane | Alabama Handicrafts for Home and Body | @citrus
  • Offered by Gabb | North Carolina House Clay Earrings | @cadeaubygabb
  • Kozy candles | Indiana Craft Soy Candles | @kozykandles

Management changes at francesca will continue to drive the two brands forward

Francesca’s has been around since 1999 and now has over 450 stores in 45 states. The boutiques offer an eclectic mix of carefully selected clothing, luminous balls, daring accessories and fun gifts. The Franki line is an example of changing the business model to meet the needs of a changing target market. Clarke sees other opportunities to grow the business and increase customer loyalty.

In a recent announcement, the company hired Jann Parish as senior vice president and chief marketing officer, which Clarke says will help the company prioritize creating a strong loyalty program for customers francesca and franki. The company also announced the addition of a director of human resources, Canetta Reid. These leadership changes will strengthen the leadership team and enable the company to move the business forward over the next five years, while accelerating growth strategies in retail as well as online retail. , and reinforces its commitment to encourage and develop innovative careers in retail.

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