Making the decision to franchise your business and then scaling it to 100 units is an enormous accomplishment! Today I have with me two inspiring young franchisors who have done just that, and are here to share their success story with you.
Jason and Shaun Olsen are the founders of IMAGE Studios, an exclusive salon suite concept that provides modern, high-end salon spaces and studios to entrepreneurs.
The Olsen brothers share the story of how IMAGE Studios was born:
“Our background is oddly enough, car dealerships. You couldn’t have two more, in my opinion, contrasting businesses like the car dealership and then you have salon suites. Just completely different in every aspect, every way. The [2008 recession] was like a big punch to the gut because it was a ghost town here at the dealership and all of our eggs were in this one basket. And so we started to really panic. We were like, we have to diversify, what can we do? And so we realized this is probably the closest thing to recession proof that we could find is the beauty industry. So for about 20 seconds, we contemplated being hairdressers, but I don’t want to stand on my feet all day. In the Great Recession, you couldn’t remodel a kitchen, buy a new car, go on a trip, fix your yard, put in a pool. These things that people love to look forward to do, you can’t do any of that right now, but could you spend a little bit of money and go look good? And that’s why beauty has always outperformed almost every other industry besides the alcohol industry, during depressions or recessions. And so that was where we were determined, how do we get into this?
The beauty industry techniques, trends are always evolving and changing. So you have to stay up to date on what’s going on in order to be relevant, right. In order to keep being the best at what you do. So we came back a year and a half later and we opened up our first one in June of 2010. And to our surprise in six months, it was 100% full. And we were just tickled.”
Shaun describes what a “Salon Suite” is:
“Salon suites are a lot like executive office suites, similar to WeWork, Regis, Office Evolution where instead of individual office suites, we build individual salon suites. So they’re rooms that are 100 to 250 square feet. They’re all built out, they’re turnkey mini salons for one or two people to come and operate their own business. So imagine the size of a Blockbuster. We go in, we then build out 28 to 32 individual salon suites. So you walk in and it’s this beautiful, it’s almost like a mini mall of hair salons, nail suites, aesthetic suites. We do lots of beautiful design, high ceilings of European glass, some really nice fixtures and furniture to really make the space feel like something you’d see in LA or New York or Miami.”
On growing to 100 units:
“So every year, we just kept doing it because we kept getting calls from people we didn’t know asking when’s the next one coming. And so we realized there was a huge demand for this. That’s when we decided we’re franchising. With the fifth location, we really felt we had nailed this down. A lot of doors open as we grow as a brand. One of the big ones has been financing, getting some really good conventional financing in place that gives people the option to go for $500, $600,000 or more for a first location. But in addition to that, we’ve got some great national training programs for salon professionals. We have modules that help professionals learn how to plan for retirement, how to save, how to understand the power of compound interest to retire a millionaire. We teach them how to understand break even, and all these other business fundamentals they don’t learn at beauty school, but it’s very powerful for them. And our philosophy is the more we empower them, the more loyal they are to the brand. And we’re seeing that because they know that IMAGE is the place to go if you’re a career rockstar, hairstylist or beauty professional.”
If you found this story inspiring and would like to explore a future in franchising, please e-mail me now. My services are totally free to you! Please contact me directly using the form below!