Downsizing Diva - CEO, John Ferracuti

Date: OCT 9th, 2014

Topic: Interview with a CEO

John Ferracuti is the CEO of Downsizing Diva Franchise and is responsible for directing the day to day operations and managing all the departments within the company. John's experience with franchising and small business includes building, owning and selling several small businesses over the course of the last twenty plus years. In 1993, John was awarded the first and only Canadian Handle With Care Packaging Store franchise and was awarded North American Franchise of the Year in 2003.

Over the next ten years he built one of the top five locations in North America and was a pioneer in the expansion of what was originally a retail based business concept into a warehouse and commercial based concept.

In 2010, while part of That Franchise Group, John joined forces with Gail Shields and Karen Shinn to create Downsizing Franchising Company and introduce Downsizing Diva as a great franchise opportunity to Canada.

His experience as both a highly successful franchise operator and effective franchise support specialist and recruiter make John uniquely qualified to relate to franchise operators and their needs and to lead Downsizing Diva!

BeTheBoss: Tell us about the Downsizing Diva concept.

John Ferracuti:Downsizing Diva franchise is a team of great people who choose to do well in business while doing good work in their community. Working with boomers and seniors, the Diva helps them organize and downsize when it’s time to move, while doing it all with Care, Compassion and sometimes Comedy! This opportunity is for the woman who wants to be successful and work hard helping people, but at her own pace and within her own work hours.

Downsizing Diva starts as a home based business, but can grow to be much larger if the franchise operator’s goals include that. It’s truly a business that you can scale as you like, depending on where you’d like it to go.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Downsizing Diva?

JF: I joined That Franchise Group in 2008 and we started Downsizing Franchise Company in 2010. I had worked with Downsizing Diva for a number of years when I owned and operated a custom packaging and shipping company and always thought that the Senior Move Management industry held amazing opportunities and that Downsizing Diva was a fantastic concept that could be duplicated effectively using the franchise model. I contacted Karen Shinn to discuss the idea and Downsizing Franchise Company was born!

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Downsizing Diva?

JF: I’ve owned and operated a number of small businesses in my career, ranging from property management to restaurant and bar to custom packaging and shipping! One thing I know is that the most successful small business owner is the person who has a deep passion for the business they are in, but at the same time understands that she or he must work ON the business and not get stuck IN the business. I’ve sat on both sides of the franchise desk in my career, as both a franchisee and franchisor and that really helps me understand the challenges faced by every small business owner and relate to our franchise operators.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Downsizing Diva franchisee?

JF: Downsizing Diva is a proven model and a proven successful business. The organizing and downsizing industry is filled with part time people who got into the business because of a love of working with and helping people, but who are constantly struggling with operating a successful and profitable business. Downsizing Diva works because we partner with the right people and then provide and support them with the business model, tools and support required to make their business successful! There’s way more to operating a successful business than just having the desire to help people. It starts with finding the right people to join the Diva team, but Downsizing Diva then provides the road map and the support to make it work – and perhaps the greatest advantage to being a Downsizing Diva is the support and help of your fellow Divas! This is truly a team of like-minded people working together to help people and run successful businesses!

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

JF: This one is simple. We are very picky about who joins the Downsizing Diva team. A Diva must be truly passionate about helping people, while also being passionate about making money! A Diva recognizes that they have invested in a proven business model and is willing to follow that model to success. There is no particular business background required, but we certainly look for outgoing, dynamic and passionate people.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Senior Move Management Market?

JF: As the 21st Century unfolds, the senior population of North America is rapidly expanding. Many seniors find themselves in large, older family homes filled with furniture and objects collected over a lifetime. Inevitably there comes a time when it is necessary to move into a smaller residence like an apartment, condominium or seniors’ retirement residence and the moving process can be extremely difficult and fraught with emotion for the entire family.

Managing senior moves is an exciting new industry that is poised to explode in the next 10 years as the senior population continues to expand at an unprecedented rate. Conditions have never been better to establish a nationally branded company that provides downsizing services for seniors and their families.
Downsizing Diva has provided professional move organizing services for Seniors for the last 13 years, establishing itself and the Downsizing Diva brand as a leader in the industry. Downsizing Diva is the most recognized brands associated with POC (Professional Organizers in Canada). Only Downsizing Diva has created a nationally recognizable brand in this marketplace.

Market Analysis

The target market for Downsizing Diva is seniors and their families who are looking for help with downsizing and moving.

In 2014, seniors are the fastest growing market segment in Canada.


  • “In 2000, one out of every eight people in Canada was age 65 or older. In 2006 the baby boomer bulge marked another milestones on its passage through the belly of the demographic python. The first boomers turned 60.” (Macleans Magazine February 20 2006. Author Brian Bethune)
  • By 2025, one in four Canadians will be over 60.
  • Currently, over 60% of Canadians over 50 have at least one surviving parent.
  • By 2016 at the latest, Canada will have far more seniors than children age 14 and under – a phenomenon never before recorded. This represents a 36% increase in ages 45+ from 2001 to 2016 and a 16% decrease in ages 0 to 44 from 2001 to 2016.

People age 50+ are the wealthiest demographic in Canada. Many of these people have aging parents who are or will be in need of downsizing. A huge component of the market targeted by Downsizing Diva is this group of Canadians.


  • People over 50 are responsible for more expenditures than any other demographic group in Canada – over $35 Billion per year.
  • They control 55% of Canada’s discretionary spending power.
  • Per capita income is 26% higher than the national average.
  • They own 80% of the wealth in the national financial institutions.
  • They own 50% of credit cards.
  • They are the fastest growing segment on the internet and spend more time online than teenagers.

Resources: AARP • Marketing magazine • Randall Travel Marketing Report, 2002 • The Economic and Development Journal of Canada • Canadian Academy of Senior Advisors

Most baby boomers have very busy and active lives and don’t have the time, desire or the emotional ability to aid their aging parents in the challenging task of downsizing and moving. The services provided by Downsizing Diva help make the process easier and less stressful. Yes, the family can work with the parent to muddle through but do they really want to do that and, more importantly, do they still want to be on speaking terms with their parents when the project is complete?

“Never before in history have seniors been looked upon as being such an important component of Canada’s economic well being. If current trends continue, senior citizens will gradually dominate most markets over the next 30 years in Canada.” (The Economic and Development Journal of Canada. “Turning Silver to Gold”, Roger Miller & E. Roger Williams)

What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

JF:The greatest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of bringing in the right people. A successful Diva must LOVE this business and understand that it is a business and the model is created to be followed for success. Follow the business model!

Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

JF:I wouldn’t say that I have a mentor, but I am an avid reader of books and articles that deal with small business and how to be successful. My very favourite is “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. To me, this is the simplest and best description of how and why every small business owner must work ON their business and not IN it. I refer to this book all the time and recommend it to anyone interested in starting any small business.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

JF:Do your research! Don’t cut corners and don’t hesitate to ask the franchisor any questions you have. A good franchisor will be willing to answer and discuss anything.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Downsizing Diva would be a great opportunity for someone?

JF:Downsizing Diva franchise opportunity is certainly not for everyone. The successful candidate must be passionate about helping people first. If that’s you then Downsizing Diva has a business model that will truly help you to be successful!