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Rachel Southard Looks to Expand Franchise Growth in New Role as President of Emerging Brands for Threshold Brands

After helping Men In Kilts double in size, Southard is ready to spearhead growth across the other emerging brands within the Threshold portfolio, including Patio Patrol and Granite Garage Floors.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 5:05AM 03/10/23

Rachel Southard, the former president of residential and commercial window and exterior cleaning franchise Men In Kilts, is now transitioning into a new role — President of Emerging Brands for parent company Threshold Brands. With this, Southard is leading the charge on some of the most exciting franchise opportunities in the industry today. 

Southard has over a decade of experience helping franchise companies scale and franchise owners optimize profitability. Before joining Men In Kilts last year, she led global innovation operations for Self Esteem Brand’s premier brand, Anytime Fitness. Now, in her new role as President of Emerging Brands for Threshold, Southard will have the ability to support growth for three brands at the same time.

“As the Threshold Brands team was strategizing for 2023, we started to see some common themes and similarities come up across multiple brands in our portfolio,” said Southard. “When we did a deep dive into our infrastructure, we found a lot of team members who were doing the exact same things, just at different brands, for example. So, we decided to group our nine brands into different segments based on their stage of growth so we could hyper-focus on building efficiencies across our portfolio.”

One of those new segments is Emerging Brands, which consists of three brands in the portfolio — Men In KiltsPatio Patrol and Granite Garage Floors

“Many of the new brands we acquire are smaller and founder-led, which means they are used to being scrappy,” said Southard. “If they were to sell 100 units next year, for example, could they succeed without adjusting operations? Probably not. These are amazing, financially viable business models with high consumer demand, but they still need those foundational pieces to scale. That is the value that comes with joining the Threshold Brands family.”

Men In Kilts, for example, has more than doubled in size over the last two years under Southard’s leadership. The brand underwent an exciting new rebrand, brought on a new digital marketing partner, revamped its FDD and updated its operations manual. 

“The goal is to leverage our technology, people and processes to do more with less,” Southard said. “This is a great way for us to step back, reorganize and deliver more to our franchise owners.”

Now, Southard says she is ready to bring that same level of care to Patio Patrol and Granite Garage Floors, and will be taking a franchise owner-first approach to her new role. 

“I will be traveling around to visit franchise owners, learning their pain points, seeing their strengths and weaknesses,” Southard said. “My goal is to build relationships and really put myself in their shoes. We want to implement more efficient processes, better resources, improved vendors and tools. If we aren’t building a business where franchise owners are happy, then we are losing.”

So, what can franchise owners of these emerging brands expect this year?

In the case of Patio Patrol, Southard says a lot of energy will be spent reinforcing the recent rebranding from FlyFoe. “We’ve got to support our franchise owners with brand awareness, make sure that customers know that Patio Patrol is here now,” she said. “We will be working tightly with new marketing partners and leveraging our vendors to drive local brand awareness for each of our franchise owners. We will also continue rolling out new add-on services, like gutter cleaning, while making sure franchise owners are ready to deliver those services. It is also going to be about finding the right people to help grow our brand — bringing in fresh blood for the mosquitos as we like to say.”

Men In Kilts will also continue its growth trajectory as it solidifies its new rebrand. “We have a new website, a new digital marketing partner, a new field service software,” said Southard. “All of the pieces are in place for Men In Kilts to see explosive growth this year, both from unit level sales and from franchise development.”

With Granite Garage Floors, Southard says the goal for 2023 is to focus on bringing even more professionalism into the way operations are run. “This was a founder-led company, and they did a phenomenal job at growing the brand, but it is time to take it to the next level,” she said. “These franchise owners have never had a marketing team or a business coach, for example. We are very excited to connect Granite Garage Floors franchise owners with all of that talent we have at Threshold Brands.”

Looking ahead, Southard says the aspect of the new role she is most excited about is the opportunity for leadership. “Whether it be my home office team or my franchise owner team, I have a bigger group to support now, and career development is one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “This new Emerging Brands strategy has allowed us to promote people within the company and also bring in new people. It is also helping us create more opportunities for franchise owners. Those are really the most important things.”

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