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Big Frog surpasses wildest hops

Couple’s T-Shirt franchise brings in $1M in revenue in ’22 by John Magsam | June 1, 2023 at 5:40 a.m.
John and Mara Dougherty pose for a portrait at Big Frog Custom T-Shirts in Bentonville. Visit for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

BENTONVILLE -- When John and Mara Dougherty took over the Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More franchise in Bentonville, they began to live out their entrepreneurial dreams, but didn't think that would mean becoming one of the chain's top operations in only four years.

The Doughertys' store brought in more than $1 million in revenue in 2022 putting the Doughertys in rare company -- only seven of the chain's franchisees brought in $1 million or more last year. In 2021, only one Big Frog shop hit the $1 million threshold.

Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More focuses on direct-to-garment printing and is a one-stop shop for all sorts of custom apparel. The company can work with a customer to produce a single shirt or hat or make hundreds of items for a family picnic or corporate event and it touts a fast turn-around time, sometimes as little as 24 hours.

The Doughertys decided to buy the Bentonville Big Frog operation in April, 2019. John graduated from Fayetteville High School and worked for 25 years with Walmart in information technology. Mara worked with Walmart as well, in graphic design.

"Within a couple of days we're ready to make it ours," Mara Dougherty said of the franchise.

The Dougherty's said the original Big Frog franchise owner had built a profitable and respected business but the couple's roots in the community helped them to continue to grow the operation organically. They operate a retail storefront and began to offer services focused on helping clients create their own individual online portals to sell customized branded merchandise. Some of their key customers include businesses, schools and nonprofits. The Dougherty's store is the only Big Frog location in Arkansas.

"Every customer is important," John Dougherty said. "It's all about referrals -- more than 50% of our business comes from return customers."

According to a report by Future Market Insights, the custom T-shirt market is expected to see $3.88 billion in the United States and the segment is expected to reach $9.88 billion by 2033.

Founded in 2008, Big Frog has nearly 100 locations in 25 states and Canada. The company said in 2022 it saw a near 22% increase in monthly average store revenue and sold more than 2.4 million shirts.

The Doughtys said they had a lot to learn during their first year in operation and then, like many other businesses, had to adjust to deal with the covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the business has continued to grow and thrive and the couple continues to give back, donating $35,000 to local charities in 2021.

"It's all about community ties," Mara Dougherty said.

  photo  John Dougherty folds a t-shirt at Big Frog Custom T-Shirts in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

Print Headline: Big Frog surpasses wildest hops


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