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Gould Barbers Opens 10 Barbershops in 10 Weeks in Partnership with Tesco Stores

by charlottegw / last updated January 30, 2019

Gould barbers

Gould Barbers are furthering their partnership with Tesco. Brothers Darran and Leigh Gould opened 10 stores in 10 weeks towards the end of 2018 and now have 19 barbershops in total, 18 of which are in Tesco.

HJ Men spoke exclusively to Darran to find out about Gould Barbers’ rise to success, their partnership with Tesco and what their expansion plans are for 2019.

Firstly congratulations on your rapid expansion! Do you have rough idea of how many new jobs you’ll be creating by doing this deal?
We’re now close to having 100 self-employed barbers working for us. A year and a half ago we only had about 15. We are going to be opening a minimum of three shops by March 2019, which is when the Tesco financial year ends. Then from March 2019 to March 2020 we will be looking to open stores in 25-50 new locations. It’s going to be hard work!

I can imagine! What were the steps leading to your current success?
Myself and my brother Leigh set up our first barbershop in 2014. The following year we set up another shop and then in 2016 we secured a lease on a shop inside a Tesco retail outlet. We opened that in August 2016, traded for 6 months and then I got invited to head office in January 2017. Tesco told us that they had been looking at the barbershop model for a while and asked if we would like to scale up our business with them. Then in 2017 we opened 7 shops inside Tesco and officially went into partnership with them.

How does your deal with Tesco work?
All Gould Barber concessions in Tesco are partnerships. Although we still own our company, Tesco supports our growth and provides us with locations. For example, in 2018 they gave me 100 locations to visit and I picked the ones that I liked. Last year they challenged us to to open 10 shops in 10 weeks. So in November and December of last year we opened one every week and that took our total of shops up to 19. It was a real challenge but Tesco wanted to see if we could scale up in a short period of time.

Have you had any criticism for opening in supermarkets?
There can be negativity around big supermarkets and companies. But we haven’t personally seen any negatives from our partnership. We have been given a great opportunity. Our shops are so much busier than a high-street shop because there’s condensed footfall from the Tesco supermarket. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. For example, in the first year we opened we actually struggled to get barbers to work for us because people were like ‘nah, I don’t think it’s going to look cool in a Tesco’.

Does Tesco take a percentage of your profits?
No they don’t. I think of Tesco as our landlords – we pay them rent. In addition, we have to show them figures and they’ll support us too. They don’t set us targets per say, but if one shop is underperforming they’ll say ‘how can we help you?’. They might hold a meeting between myself and the store manager and say ‘where should we focus more attention?’. They’re really supportive.

Would you say that an ‘everyman’ appeal is the secret to your success?
Absolutely, in fact it’s what Tesco said they liked about us. I’ve been a barber all my life, I’ve had customers who are young, old and everything in between. I think that barbershops who cater for a certain niche cool and edgy guy are only getting about 10% of the market. Gould Barbers cater for everyone. We have been likened to Costa Coffee, we have a recognisable brand and all are welcome.

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