The Knights, one of Edmonton’s most recognized philanthropic and entrepreneurial families, took their years of running successful businesses, mentorship, and community support and combined those attributes into an enterprise unlike any other in the city – Mosaic Home Services Ltd.
“My family and I founded Mosaic in 2016,” says Steven Knight. His title, Partner – Creator of Solutions and Opportunities, reflects what he brings to the brand. “We selected titles based on what we like to do,” Knight smiles.
Mosaic Home Services aims to be Canada’s largest home improvement franchise network by bringing passionate entrepreneurs under the umbrella and providing them with mentorship, investment, and capital. Mosaic works diligently to refine businesses in the home service industry into a simple, scalable, “businesses-in-a-box” which provides each entrepreneur with a proven process, system and structure for rapid, sustainable growth.
Knight explains, “Currently there are eight brands under the Mosaic umbrella. When homeowners choose any of these services, they can trust that their home will be well cared for, and that their service will be completed by trained professionals. Today, we are Edmonton’s one-stop-shop for homeowners’ needs; soon, we aim to be Canada’s largest home improvement provider. We are actively seeking brands and looking to grow into new markets by empowering entrepreneurs with our business-in-a-box franchise solutions.”
The brands currently under the umbrella are: Five Star Holiday Decor, Screen Savers, Everlast Vinyl Fencing, Colour Envy Painting, Shine Above Window and Gutter Cleaning, Yard Hero, Miraculous Maids, and Downright Demolition.
“When we opened in 2016, we had three home improvement brands in our portfolio,” says Knight. “For the first year we operated out of a 1,000 square foot storage shed with no plumbing! By 2017 we started adding more brands.”
From there, things took off. Fast.
“At some point you have to accept that the business is growing, ready or not,” reflects Knight. “I remember on a beautiful afternoon my girlfriend (now wife) and I went to meet our new landlord. We were moving the company into a 2,000 square foot space office and I said, ‘what are we going to do with all this space? How will we pay the rent?’ But when we moved in every inch was filled. That move was in 2017. By 2019 we were over capacity and had cubicles in the hallways, So, we expanded into a new location on January 1, 2020.”
Shortly after that move, the event happened that Knight calls, “My worst day in business. Lockdown.”
The onset of the global pandemic hit Edmonton hard, closing businesses and forcing a rapid transition from office life to work-from-home. Mosaic was not spared, but agility, some hard decisions, and tenacity kept the company moving forward.
“We went from a team of 60 down to five,” says Knight. “We had to make some very difficult decisions, but it worked out in the end. In time we were able to bring our people back and now Mosaic is larger and stronger than ever.”
“We were fortunate,” he continues, “that we were not ordered to close as was the case with many other businesses. The thing that really impacted us the most was the inability to forecast. It felt like a game where the rules kept changing and that has continued. Things are busy. Homeowners want services but we have to balance services with being careful about safety and supply chain issues.”
A common misconception about Mosaic stems from its different business model. The team at Mosaic is incubating the brands under their umbrella and growing them by selling franchises into new markets. The business-in-a-box concept is sometimes confused with multi-level marketing. Knight assures that the two models couldn’t be more different.
“We are not a group you can just sign onto. We look for companies that fit a very specific mold and invest in them and help them grow. There is a lot of criteria to meet and it’s a long process. Ultimately the most important thing is the entrepreneur. We want to work with the right kind of person in the environment we provide. It’s a no-nonsense, entrepreneurial, fast paced environment. We are not a list or directory. We are a curated service.”
One of Mosaic’s brands, Five Star Holiday Decor, was the first to franchise.
“That was a big day in November 2020,” says Knight. The excitement is evident in his voice. “It was the first realization of our long-term goal. The pandemic inadvertently helped to grow Five Star because it provided a safe way for homeowners, municipalities and outdoor festivals to have Christmas delivered during such a dark year.”
However, Knight admits that being on the cusp of a dream come true was equally terrifying as it was exciting.
“To have a franchise opportunity for Five Star come up so late in the year was intense,” he admits. Since Five Star supplies, installs, takes down, stores, and maintains Christmas lighting, launching a new franchisee during the busiest time of the year for the brand was daunting. “Not only were we busy as a corporate location, we had to provide all the support needed to ensure our first franchisee was happy and making money. To stumble right out of the gate is not good for anyone involved. It was such an exciting moment, but I also had a huge knot in my throat for weeks! But once we made sure he was ready and we onboarded, he had a great first year and is looking forward to an even better second season. In the end, it was a great experience.”
For Knight, great experiences all around is the goal.
“What differentiates us is the simple fact that every brand under the Mosaic umbrella is reputable, customer-focused, insured and providing quality service. The employees, the call centre, headquarters – all call Edmonton home. There are some big franchises out there, but Mosaic is local and affordable. We are grassroots, driven, hungry and we built this model with our own two hands to ensure the business model we are selling is profitable from day one. The entrepreneurs we bring in work directly with me. When you join, you can trust you will be successful.”
Helping entrepreneurs, and others, succeed has always been a priority for the Knight family.
“Speaking on behalf of myself,” says Knight, “I know I’m fortunate. I have lived a life of privilege, worked in the family business, received a great education, and worked hard to start my own business. I was able to follow my dreams. I 100 per cent recognize that not everyone gets that opportunity. Therefore, it’s important to me to make investments and be giving of my time in my local community in recognition of the advantages I have enjoyed.”
When Knight was part of a demolition company with his parents, Bill and Grace, the company gave back millions into the community, supporting a variety of entrepreneurial, educational and non-profit interests. Knight continues the tradition of service by giving back five percent of sales on Mosaic’s monthly charity day, the last Thursday of every month. Mosaic has also been proud to present major events like The Sorrentino’s Garlic Stomp, and The Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree.
“Charities have reached out to us about being included in our journey,” says Knight. “We are open to supporting everyone. We are non-denominational, inclusive and enthusiastic about supporting our community.”
Knight is grateful for the success of Mosaic and now that the first franchise is in place with more planned, he is thrilled that the vision of the brand is coming true. Yet he’s humble and thankful that despite his advantages, he also had the opportunity to learn from the ground up.
“My first job was pouring coffee at Tim Hortons at 5:00 a.m. on Sundays. I had a lot of odd jobs and great experiences before and during university and working in the family business. Through that journey I realized I wanted to do something with my life that kept me on my toes. Mosaic’s structure fits this. No two days are the same. What is really exciting for me is taking an industry – home improvement services – that has not changed substantially for decades – and shaking it up. Our model is about helping entrepreneurs across this country achieve their dreams. We saw we could bring together companies with passion, proven systems, and profitable business models, and use that to help entrepreneurs become their own boss, control their own destiny, and build in their own local communities. I love that Mosaic experiences growth through helping others grow.”
“Starting and growing this business has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. That is okay. It hasn’t been easy to grow, keep people employed and develop the franchise model in a pandemic. I haven’t always been the best leader during this, but what is important is that I’m honest with my team about that, and we make it right, we learn, we fix our mistakes. I’ve learned that being vulnerable is the quickest route to solutions. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to have those uncomfortable conversations. Sometimes you need to put your cards on the table and say that is how it is.”
He’s also thrilled that he gets to do all this in his hometown.
“Edmonton is the biggest small town you’ll ever find. You can walk into a room and know someone. That is what I love about it. Entrepreneurs in Edmonton want to help each other grow and develop something that can help others. I want businesses in Edmonton to think about who they know across Canada in markets outside of Edmonton that have potential to grow a business. Maybe they worked their whole career and now want to be their own boss and build their own community. I want to talk to those people.”
Mosaic’s brands are earning recognitions and awards including a Consumer Choice Award (Screen Savers Plus, 2021) and widespread praise across a variety of different publications for Five Star Holiday’s Decor’s “rescue” of Christmas 2020.
Knight is grateful to the many people that have been a part of his, and Mosaic’s success.
“I am unconditionally, undoubtedly grateful for my parents,” says Knight. “I’ve learned so much from them. They are my mentors and supporters of our growth. Both are partners in Mosaic. Mom is the glue that holds us all together, dad is the mentor who is always fearlessly charging forward. I’m also incredibly grateful to our clients, our team, and the brands under the Mosaic umbrella who have trusted us to work on their homes and to build their careers.”
Knight concludes, “Our mission moving into the future is a very serious one – to become the largest franchise network of this kind in Canada. My goal is to get to the size where I can go to any entrepreneur in the country with a business-in-a-box solution they can open and be profitable with from day one. We will help entrepreneurs across the country build the company of their dreams and build a global community while empowering them to be their own boss and control their own destiny.”
Learn more about Mosaic and its brands at www.getmosaic.ca online and www.facebook.com/mosaichomeservices on Facebook.