As a Franchise Consultant, you’ll frequently hear me talk about the “safety net” of a franchise. What do I mean by that? The beautiful thing about BUYING a business versus STARTING a business, is that there’s already a track record of success, a proven system to follow, and a team of people who have your back! These benefits were especially valuable in 2020, a year when so many businesses suffered.
Today I’m honored to chat with my longtime friend Meg Roberts, the President and CEO of The Lash Lounge, about the franchising industry, and the support that The Lash Lounge was proud to provide to their franchise owners during a devastating pandemic and damaging economic recession.
Meg begins by sharing about finding personal satisfaction and fulfillment in franchising:
“Like many in franchising, I stumbled into this industry. I’m blessed because I feel like it’s one of those industries where once you get a little familiar with it, the satisfaction that comes with sincerely helping other people feels good. You’re doing something to help someone else. So, for me, it was accidental. I came from an advertising background, landed at a company called Molly Maid, and transitioned to the Lash Lounge a few years ago. The clientele was similar: active women looking to solve their challenges, raise families, and have jobs. Whether we’re solving problems in the home and trying to create some free time, or try to make people feel great about themselves on the outside so that the real beauty from the inside comes out.”
Meg describes what happened when the pandemic hit and what unfolded upon reopening:
“The unexpected became we expected we anticipated what was happening middle of March, and we had worked for about two years. It took us about two years to open 100 stores and two days to close one hundred stores. So, you can wallow in that heartbreak, or you can organize quickly. We organized the communication because we knew people were going to be on these emotional roller coasters. We got stuff done, like helping with rent, PPP, and PPE. WE also made sure to focus on people’s emotional health. We engaged, reminded each other about the community and mutual support we have in our franchise within the entire network of franchising. People were isolated during Covid.
We couldn’t anticipate what that bounceback would look like. Will we have limitations? Will we have capacity constructions? Will people be understandably reluctant about coming in for personal services? It was a balance of our preparedness of putting in all the safety protocols that did it. We did not budge on anything from cleanliness to fogging our salons to masking our guests and our employees. We discovered after a handful of months behind a computer, staring at themselves in a camera while wearing masks was maybe an emerging beauty trend in eyelash extensions. People wanted that escape.”
Meg dispels the myth that you must be a woman to own a Lash Lounge business!
“I don’t segment our franchisees. Everybody is equal, and everyone gets the same attention. I think what [men] have discovered with your coaching and encouragement is that it’s a great industry for recurring revenue and membership. Folks focus on economics: what are the numbers saying? The numbers matter. But what should matter most to someone when they’re making a decision is if you see something that looks like it has longevity, and you have the right attitude and the aptitude, and you’re properly financed. That’s kind of like the magic triangle to make it work. We want to make sure that we’re doing something for the right reason.”
Meg shares a major highlight from 2020:
“In 2020, there was so much heightened anxiety. We have a terrific franchisee, Michael Jania, on the north side of downtown Chicago. Michael’s salon was vandalized during the protests. The people in the community and the neighborhood, his own employees, and everybody came together to repair the store. So, it was just terrific to see this outpouring of people who cared and were contributing. We’ve got incredible people in this country, not just incredible franchises but hard-working individuals in all walks of life. And it’s just so important that we stop and recognize: we are all Americans, and taking care of one another should be job #1.”
I want to thank Meg for sharing her story and her experience so candidly. If you’re interested in learning about The Lash Lounge, visit http://thelashlounge.com. If you’d like a personal introduction to Meg Roberts, I’d be happy to make one for you. And if you’re ready to explore the MANY benefits of buying a franchise business, please leave a comment or a question below, e-mail The Daly Coach right now!