The Brightly® franchise isn’t the first family of worker cooperatives to utilize a single brand. In fact, CFL spent years researching strategies used by the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives and Mondragon federation to help worker co-ops sprout and thrive under the banner of a strong brand name. But the nascent enterprise is the first legal worker cooperative franchise in the United States. And its launch—in addition to showcasing a unique combination of turnkey solutions and platform technology—is significant because its success mirrors a larger shift in the field.
Gone are the days when the cooperative model was predominantly used by idealists seeking an escape from capitalism’s ills. Instead, research shows the majority of worker cooperatives are being started by women, people of color, and recent immigrants. These entrepreneurs are using the model to overcome discrimination and gain access to the fruits of an economy they’ve been excluded from. In this vein, Brightly® offers a distinct vision and a tangible structure for growth. It’s still early in Brightly’s lifespan, but lessons are emerging.