When Jennifer Wylie and her husband, Sean Anderson, were let go from their corporate positions in Manhattan, New York, in 2020, each was determined to never work for others again. By Patty Horansky

When Jennifer Wylie and her husband, Sean Anderson, were let go from their corporate positions in Manhattan, New York, in 2020, each was determined to never work for others again.

Jennifer had been a recruitment director in high fashion, while Sean, a former chef, covered a large sales territory for a major food distributor. As part of her severance, Jennifer connected with a placement service, through which she and Sean met a franchise broker. The couple wanted to be together in business for themselves and had always talked about owning a restaurant, but they were open to new ideas, Jennifer said.

“Owning a business was definitely intriguing, and at that point, we didn’t want to go back to the corporate world,” she said.

The couple saw franchising as a great option.

Their broker took them through an assessment of their skills, strengths, goals and desires to help identify an ideal fit. Then, in 2021, they signed with Floor Coverings International, the highest-rated and most-referred company in the $48 billion residential floor industry.

“The corporate team at Floor Coverings International was the best match for us,” Sean said. “We felt that they had a good mix of well-educated people who were going to help back us through the process of becoming business owners. We also are fun people, and they were the right mix of work hard, play hard.”

Headquartered in Atlanta, Floor Coverings International offers more than 3,000 quality flooring choices, including name-brand carpet, hardwood, tile, laminate and vinyl, and its franchisees bring their wrapped and fully stocked mobile showrooms to clients’ doors.

Through the brand’s comprehensive virtual and in-person training, Jennifer and Sean learned all aspects of the business, from key product features and sales presentations to generating leads and tracking results.

“We were like sponges,’’ Sean said. “We knew nothing about the home services industry when we went into this.”

The couple now has two vans and a design associate, Peter Laccititiello, who comes from a flooring background. Sean and Peter work in the field, going on appointments and aiming for six proposals per van per week.

Sean said they set themselves apart from the competition by being prompt, getting to know the customers’ wants and dreams for their homes and providing a high-value product. They present samples from their vans and make proposals on the spot, keeping in mind the customer’s pocketbook. They also monitor and ensure quality work from their trusted pool of skilled laborers.

Splitting her time between the warehouse and her home office in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Jennifer follows leads, coordinates deliveries and appointments, makes phone calls and networks with local groups.

The flexibility has allowed Jennifer time to be home with their two sons, pick them up from school, attend their activities and still conduct business. She also participates more in the community where she and Sean have lived for 19 years.

“I can’t believe how many people I know now,” she said.

The couple has found camaraderie and support in the Floor Coverings International community as well. One of Jennifer’s early concerns was that she would feel lonely working in an office at home, but she connects with people daily.

“It hasn’t been lonely,” she said. “And the friends that we’ve made with other franchisees have been fantastic. That’s definitely been a surprise bonus.”

Patty Horansky