Supercuts: The big US hairdressing franchise hitting British shores
From its humble beginnings in Los Angeles in 1975, Supercuts quickly had to create a franchise model to compete with increasing demand for its affordable haircuts. Now with 2,000 franchises, Supercuts UK MD Jackie Lang told Business Advice all about it.
For anyone keen to become their own boss and lead a business, but don’t necessarily have a great idea they’d like to roll with, franchises provide a quick and secure way of aligning with a proven brand.
Supercuts is one such example of a comprehensively proven brand. Owned by Regis Corporation and operated under the Regis UK umbrella in Britain, the business serves in excess of one million guests annually.
While the franchise model may be new to the UK, that doesn’t mean the brand hasn’t been here for a while. With over 180 salons, there is presence in cities including London, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol. However, like growth was given a channel though setting up a franchising model in the US back in the 1970s, Regis plans to employ just such a tactic on this side of the Atlantic.
Lang explained that, in its current global shape, Supercuts is two thirds franchised and one third corporate. “Traditionally some US models in hair and beauty, or shoes, find it hard to get into the UK market and quickly the difference in culture brings about a change in the model,” she explained.
“What we’ve found different is that we have been operating Supercuts salons [in the UK] since 1999 so understand the differences. The way we’ve come to market is very different. We don’t have to learn how to in-store a model into the UK.”
One of the unique features of the Supercuts franchise model is that it is manager operated, meaning interested parties can maintain a full-time role and have a franchise business – different to other offerings in the space. It is also the only franchisor in the convenience and value space, with all others located in luxury.
“We have sustained demand, everyone needs a haircut. It is a low investment, we provide a full turnkey service and every franchise is ready to operate on day one,” Lang explained. “The training and development of team is there, we really do hold hands.”
Haircuts, salon services and hair products are outlined at the three main revenue streams. There is also a “dedicated” franchise business consultant who is responsible for visiting salons regularly to help with analysis, coaching and assistance.
Lang was keen to emphasise that those possibly interested in taking on a Supercuts franchise do not need to have previous experience in the industry, rather a sound business mind. There are three locations where she sees the brand as having the best fit. First off is the supermarket model, where there is high footfall and low ingoing expense. Next up is on the high street, followed by high-end shopping malls.
It would ultimately be a mix of all three of these that would create the best mix for a potential franchise operator, she added. “We want business people who are looking to have a business long term.”
Interest in the UK so far has been “really good”, she said, with a couple of brokers working on behalf of Regis. “We want to take this slow, enter a market and deliver what we’re going to say. We need a support mechanism here, developed manuals and programmes all defined.”
Lang also believes franchisees are becoming more “sophisticated” in the UK, often taking on four or five at any one time. They’re interrogating the business model as well.
The Supercuts UK franchise website provides a comprehensive breakdown of the costs, but Lang stated that, for the right franchisee in the supermarket model it can be relatively low – as little as £40,000-£45,000.
There are plenty of franchise opportunities available in the market right now, with many seeing it as a quick way of growing a company’s brand without having to oversee a roll out themselves. However, with Supercuts a tried a tested offering in the UK though the owned destinations, and its US franchise operation showing that it is possible to build up an estate of locations, it will be interesting to see how much British interest Regis will be dealing with. For now, Lang seems confident that you’ll be seeing more Supercuts on the high streets and in shopping centres very soon.