Yes, we are better than other salon franchises. Here’s why.

Why our full-service salon is better than a men-only, women-only or children’s haircut franchise, and why multi-unit franchisees own 70% of our salons

At one point in his 27-year career with Fantastic Sams, Gary Padfield was a multi-unit owner with 14 salons in Wisconsin. He did that for 18 years, and then sold them in 2008 while continuing to help them with operations. Just last year, he joined parent company Dessange Group North America’s corporate team as Regional Director and Operations Specialist in a region comprised of Minnesota, Wisconsin, part of Illinois including Chicago, Michigan, Canada and part of Ohio. His region encompasses 200+ salons, the largest in the country.

From his home base in Eau Claire, WI, Padfield explains in this Q-and-A how his new role is focused on helping franchisees maximize their revenue potential.

Can you define your role for me and tell me how you help franchisees?
Primarily, my role here is to assist the franchisee in making money and helping them grow in their market, especially to try to become a multi-unit operator because there’s so many benefits to being a multi-store owner – for example, being able to share staff and marketing expenses. And of course, you can look at quickly increasing your net worth when you have multiple units operating. So really, that’s our primary goal from an operations standpoint: to help these franchisees make money because that’s how they’re going to grow.

Gary Padfield

Gary Padfield

What does that look like? Are you out meeting with franchisees? Are you coaching them one-on-one?
We have regular conference calls. We have quarterly owner meetings where we go out in the field and meet with the owner groups, and we bring in specialists in different areas to help them from an operations and marketing standpoint. Basically, I see our role as disseminating some very successful programs that are happening throughout the country.

The brand itself, I think, is positioned better than anybody else’s, being full-service, and that gives us a tremendous advantage when it comes to marketing our business – when our demographic is men, women, children and seniors – and when it comes to recruiting. Why would you want to work on just men, or women only, or at a children’s haircut franchise? Stylists are creative people. They want to do more.

What separates your top performers and makes them rise to the top?
When I look at our top salons throughout the country there’s a couple of characteristics that really make them stand out, and this is true industrywide. I know our business is about relationships between the guest and the stylist. One huge advantage operationally is if we keep our focus on building those relationships, and building our value and our people. I mean, that’s our true biggest asset in our business – our people, our stylists.

An ad shows two bottles of red Fantastic Sams-branded hair care products. White words on a dark pink background read, “Never fade, FS color protect, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, masque.”

Having our own product line means we can help franchisees incentivize their stylists, make guests happier with their hair care and ultimately increase revenues.

How do you address that operationally?
We focus on really providing a personalized recommendation, a package that takes care of all of our guests’ hair care needs, including their home hair care needs. Fantastic Sams is unique because we have our own private label product line. If I can go out and have this wonderful color done, and I go home and I use my bargain drugstore shampoo, and the color fades in three weeks, the reaction from a customer is typically going to be, “They don’t know how to do color at that salon.”

In reality, we educate our guests on the importance of their home hair care needs, too, and how professional products maintain that luster and don’t fade that color like the over-the-counter products do. And with the Fantastic Sams line, it’s lower cost than most of the private labels that are out there and a higher profit margin for our owners. It’s a great asset to have when you have your own private label.

How do you ensure consistency of the guest experience across a chain as large as Fantastic Sams?
Well, that’s the challenge. When you look at the top 30% of our most successful owners, the things that make them stand out versus the others are structure, discipline and consistency. And that’s part of creating the right culture in your salons. We are constantly driving the culture aspect of the operations, because ultimately that’s where you get consistency across the board.

If the manager who typically oversees the day-to-day operations isn’t following through and maintaining those standards, or if the owner is not engaged – and, really, the owner’s role is to motivate and market – if they’re not engaged, then you’re not going to have a successful salon. So our focus is on that owner’s role and the manager’s role, because that’s where you get the consistency from an operations standpoint.

Finally, can you tell us what you think are the most important things a prospective candidate should know about the Fantastic Sams system before investing?
One of the key things for me as an owner was actually the flat weekly fee concept. Most franchise hair salons are on a percentage royalty fee basis whereas we’re on a flat weekly fee, so that meant the more money I made as an owner, the more money I could put in my pocket. I think that’s huge, because in some of our owners’ cases, you could be talking about tens of thousands of dollars that would be going to a franchisor on a commission-based system versus into the owner’s pocket. To me, that was a big element.

Learn more
Now that you understand why Fantastic Sams has the competitive edge over men-only, women-only and children’s haircut franchises, we invite you to explore our research pages. You can start a conversation with one of our franchise development representatives by filling out the short form on this page. We look forward to hearing from you.

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