A viral TikTok video from last month showing an awestruck employee in the office of a Richmond company depicts a reaction similar to many who have encountered Men In Kilts for the first time – surprise, followed by amusement.
It’s a familiar experience for new clients of Sara Richmire-Kint and her husband, Kristian Kint.
A year ago, the couple opened their own franchise of Men In Kilts (MIK), an exterior home-cleaning service in which the workers wear kilts, the knee-length, short dresses for men that originated in Scotland. Their franchise is located in Richmond and serves Fort Bend County.
“You can’t beat wearing a kilt, especially in Houston,” Kristian said. “It’s definitely eye-catching. It’s one of our biggest marketing tools. When we’re out in public, people stop and take pictures and talk to us.”
MIK was founded in 2002 by Nicholas Brand, a resident of Vancouver, Canada, with Scottish ancestry. The company has since grown nationwide, but the only other cities serviced in Texas thus far are Bryan and College Station.
Kristian said the primary territory for his location is Pecan Grove and adjacent areas south of the Westpark Tollway.
“Right now, we’re pretty much going anywhere in Fort Bend County,” Kristian said. “We’re not turning down anybody that’s not in our territory.”
Sara, who runs marketing for MIK and day-to-day operations, said she and Kristian have plans to grow their franchise.
MIK provides services such as exterior and interior window cleaning, gutter and downspout cleaning, pressure washing and a “soft wash” house washing to help homes and buildings look like new without taking the risk of power-washing.
Kristian previously served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and has experience working in construction and the oil and gas industry. Sara also has extensive experience in the energy field, mostly as an engineer.
After working from home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they both thought it was time to try something new. They’ve lived in Richmond for about a year-and-a-half and made the jump to becoming franchisees last year.
“We just decided we wanted to do our own thing,” Kristian said. “We wanted to own our own business. We wanted to be good owners, good managers, and treat our employees with respect. And that’s what kind of led us toward a franchise. We just fell in love with the brand.”
Kristian and Sara both said they appreciated that Men In Kilts aims to foster a veteran-friendly and family-friendly environment.
“The franchise itself is definitely very family-oriented,” Sara said. “We like the area, we like the community, so we decided this is where we wanted to settle down.”
The kilt is a requirement for all employees, with the exception of commercial jobs where long pants are needed.
“Most of the people we’ve interviewed, they’ve never worn one before,” Kristian said. “But we only have one other employee right now, and he actually loves wearing it. That’s what drew him to the job. You have to have some confidence and swagger about yourself to do it. But you get used to it. The first time I put on my own, I was like, ‘Oh, this is weird.’ But now I throw it on every day and it’s nothing.”