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For all those who've ever toyed with the notion of becoming part of a franchise, Beverly C weighs in on the concept in this month's column

Franchising, and the multitude of benefits it can bring to a salon owner, is a subject that's close to my heart. As the international creative director of Essensuals, I work very closely with the Mascolo family, whom I consider to be experts on franchising, primarily because the Toni&Guy and Essensuals network now contains more than 320 salons worldwide. Nearly every day I see first-hand the many positive aspects of what a franchise package can bring to an existing salon owner or someone who wants to open a salon under their own name.

 Beverly C
Beverly C

One of the first questions people often ask is, "Why would anyone want to give a percentage of their salon's profits to someone else?" The answers are too plentiful to address in just one page, but in short, being a franchise basically means you are buying into the expertise of the owners—from accounting and finance, to training and education, to public relations and image, to branding and marketing, to services, events, awards and competitions. All the guesswork is taken out of the equation, which frees up more time to be creative.

As an example, consider the case of a successful salon in Portishead, Wales, a coastal town with a rich heritage, that Essensuals acquired last January. The salon was profitable, was considered to be the "it" spot in town, and was owned by a highly respected stylist, Trigg. What made him decide to take the plunge into the franchise world? "Being a successful salon isn't enough anymore," Trigg says. "Brand power is everywhere—look in nearly any town and you'll see a Gap, a Starbucks, a McDonald's. For me, it boiled down to joining a successful brand, which I considered crucial to my continued success."

Essensuals offers clients superior hairstyling, lifestyle and beauty solutions as it advances salon pros' careers and businesses.
Essensuals offers clients superior hairstyling, lifestyle and beauty solutions as it advances salon pros' careers and businesses.

Trigg also opted into a franchise so that he could deliver on his treasured team's growing expectations of what a salon needs to be delivering daily: excellence in training, continuing education on up-to-the minute hair techniques, group discounts on products and structured competitions that recognize and promote top achievers. "In one salon it's difficult for a team to grow," he points out, "but in a group they can more easily realize their dreams, like earning more money, capitalizing on PR efforts by appearing on TV, becoming a teacher in an academy or becoming part of an award-winning photography hair team."

Beverly C with Essensual's Tony Mascolo
Beverly C with Essensual's Tony Mascolo

Back in the '80s and '90s, franchising was viewed with a certain amount of skepticism, but things are different today. With the growing business expertise of the hairdressing community, we need all the help we can get to stay ahead of the competition. Strength in numbers can be a very good thing.

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Beverly C

Beverly C