Thinking About Opening a Salon Franchise or Becoming a Franchisee? Read this First
Could starting a salon franchise be your next step? Guy Kremer and his colour director JC Aucamp first discuss why working with the right franchisee is key to a salon’s success, the steps you need to take and how to find that special someone.
For some salon owners franchising is a financially motivated business decision. When Guy Kremer decided the time was right for him to branch out with a new salon and franchise opportunity, he took a more personal approach. Guy met JC Aucamp in JC’s native South Africa on a L’Oréal Professionnel tour in 2003. They hit it off and inspired by Guy’s success and aligned hairdressing values, JC came to work in Guy’s hugely successful Winchester salon as the colour director.
Fast forward to 2018 and 40 years into his career Guy has decided to expand his business by opening a beautiful new salon franchise in Lymington with JC under the Guy Kremer name.
“I had a bad experience with brand extensions in the past,” explains Guy. “I was involved with some ventures in India some years ago, which were exhausting and didn’t quite work out how I’d planned so I had cold feet about the whole concept of franchises.”
Opening a salon franchise
When JC approached Guy with a proposal to open his own salon a few years ago, Guy knew he had the right talent and skill to run a successful business. “He’s ambitious and has been very committed to my brand for many years,” explains Guy.
JC was at the point where he needed a new challenge but wanted to benefit from the proven structure and framework of the Guy Kremer brand. A franchise felt like the natural fit for both of them.
“We already had an established name in the South of England,’ admits Guy. “Many of our clients were based around the New Forest and Lymington is a quaint and beautiful town.”
When the pair came across the perfect building – an ex-restaurant, Guy bought the premises outright and refurbishment began. JC was in charge of the refit and they are both delighted with the result.
Becoming a franchisee
JC was excited to step into his new role as owner but admits it does come with a new perspective. “I definitely see and do things differently now that I’m in charge,” he explains. “I look at the business as a whole, and I view every single client as my own, and there is a whole new responsibility to the staff, which I didn’t have to prioritise before.”
Guy feels he has relinquished the reins to just the right person: “JC and I operate with trust, mutual respect and we’re totally transparent with each other. I’m around to be a support, and there are no shadows of doubt between us, which is crucial,” he confides.
JC is hands-on at the salon from Tuesday through to Saturday and Guy aims to be at Lymington one day a week so he can provide the back-up JC needs, be a sounding board for the business and keep in touch with clients who have relocated from Guy’s existing salon.
Expanding the salon franchise
Will the franchise model be something Guy can see himself repeating in the future? ‘Definitely – It’s no secret that I’d like my long-term art director Jonny Engstrom to have more of a stake in the Winchester salon in the future. But apart from that, let’s just say we may have some more plans in the pipeline.”
Similarly, JC admits he would consider opening some new Guy Kremer branches. He points out that he wouldn’t be tempted to go solo because he follows success, not money. “Guy represents the best there is in the business, due to all that he is and all that he’s achieved.”
Guy concludes: ‘If you want to develop your team, you have to set them free and allow them to spread their wings. At the same time, it gives me the opportunity to grow my organisation and build on the Guy Kremer name.”
JC Aucamp’s tips for becoming a franchisee
- Do your homework– Speak to other franchisees and get their advice. Ensure the brand you will be representing as your business is successful and has potential to grow and expand.
- Seek professional advice – Go to a franchise solicitor or franchise lawyer to ensure you make the right decision and you get a fair deal. You don’t want to be putting all the work in and be out of pocket. It’s a big financial risk to take but so worth it if you have the right franchiser.
- Discuss support– Arrange regular meetings with your salon franchise holder about any issues or changes you feel can be made to improve your business – whether its advertising they can do for your salon or training your staff.
- Have your finances in place– You will never be able to calculate in advance how much setting up a new salon franchise will cost. You need to make sure the franchise you invest in will provide you with the funds needed for your lifestyle. Be realistic about the profit it is likely to generate and identify what you need to make to cover your existing liabilities.
- Go for it– It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I will never look back. You will only get out what you put into that business and the name on the door gives you a great start but you’ve got to keep that momentum and provide the same quality as the brand you are representing.
Guy Kremer’s tips for starting a salon franchise
Pick the right franchisee– This person should reflect your brand and have an ambition and personality that will make the business work.
Be careful about location–Your new salon can’t be too close to your existing salon but your franchisee’s clients need to be able to reach it.
Buy the property– Do this if you can without involving any third parties.
Provide support– You need to be in a position to support your franchisee and their new business on a regular basis to make it work.
This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Hairdressers Journal.