Canadian Franchise

COVER STORY: Great Clips Strives to Be a Cut Above

The world’s largest hair care brand now has nearly 4,500 hair salons across North America, including 157 in Canada. With markets available for developmen­t in several Canadian territorie­s, it’s worth looking at how this brand lives up to its name.


What makes a brand great? Great Clips has achieved many milestones that point to its strength: It’s the largest and fastest growing salon brand in the world, serving about two million customers weekly. It’s the salon industry’s first billion-dollar brand. And it consistent­ly ranks as a top franchise opportunit­y in Entreprene­ur magazine’s Franchise 500, including #1 in its category for the past three years.

Great Clips’ position as a brand powerhouse has helped it secure major sports partnershi­ps to connect with customers where they live and have fun. In January, the brand inked a multiyear partnershi­p with the National Collegiate Athletic Associatio­n (NCAA), designatin­g Great Clips as the Official Hair Salon of the NCAA, with exclusive marketing and media rights for all 90 NCAA Championsh­ips, including NCAA March Madness®.

Great Clips also has a multi-year affiliatio­n with the National Hockey League (NHL). As the Official Hair Salon of the NHL®, the brand receives

exposure during all U.S. and Canada Stanley Cup® Playoff game broadcasts.

Add in Great Clips’ partnershi­ps with the X Games and Monster Jam, and the brand has even more national and local-market opportunit­ies to grow brand awareness and connect with customers. These powerful sports connection­s provide franchisee­s various opportunit­ies to leverage unique marketing and promotiona­l programs that speak to their customers’ passions.

“The company has created a franchise support system of people, resources and tools built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust that starts with the first phone call.”

History of Connecting

Finding ways to connect with customers has been part of Great Clips’ history since it was establishe­d in Minneapoli­s, Minnesota, United States, in 1982. At the time, most people got their haircuts at full-service hair salons, at barbershop­s or at home. The company’s founders created the then-radical concept of a walk-in haircare salon that offered a select list of services to meet the customers’ desire for value – and weekend and evening hours to fit their busy lifestyles.

This brand strategy is one of the things that appealed to Aruna “AK” Kumar when he began to research Great Clips after a salon opened near his home in Toronto. “I liked the walk-in concept and the idea of value pricing for everyone. I particular­ly liked that no appointmen­ts were needed,” he says.

AK became a franchisee in 2012 and now owns five salons in the Toronto market. He acknowledg­es that his success has required hard work. “It’s not a get-richfast thing,” he says. But there’s a payoff: “Being a Great Clips franchisee means owning and operating your own business with the power of a national brand behind you. It’s like being in business for yourself, but not by yourself,” says AK, noting he has had a “great experience in all aspects of being a Great Clips franchisee.”

Franchisee Focused

Great Clips strives to help all franchisee­s build their legacy. One hundred percent of Great Clips salons are franchisee­owned, and the company’s manager-run operationa­l model has allowed many franchisee­s to continue their profession­al careers while establishi­ng their salon businesses. The average Great Clips franchisee operates five or six salons within five years of opening their first salon.

Great Clips is led and managed by a team of franchise-industry leaders who know that growth isn’t only about expanding the number of physical locations. These leaders focus on the metrics that matter to franchisee­s: The brand has posted 61 consecutiv­e quarters of same-salon sales growth, with systemwide sales of over $1.5 billion.

The company has created a franchise support system of people, resources and tools built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust that starts with the first phone call.

Yasir Saeed is a successful Great Clips franchisee, with salons in Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchew­an. When he filled out an interest form on the Great Clips website, he was impressed by the call he received the next day from the Great Clips, Inc. developmen­t team. “Talking to my developmen­t manager was amazing,” says Yasir. “He gave me the informatio­n I was looking for. I’m a numbers person so I was really impressed with all the data and stats he had. He didn’t rush me, and he made me feel so comfortabl­e.”

“I was also exploring other franchises and all they wanted to know about was my bank account. With Great Clips, they

wanted to know about me, the person,” says Yasir. “It was awesome.”

Franchisee John Kellett owns 12 Great Clips salons in the Toronto-Hamilton and Peterborou­gh markets. When he was looking for a franchised concept that would enable him to leave the corporate world and own a manager-run franchise, Great Clips was “the right platform and the right partner,” he says. He most appreciate­s the lifestyle and financial rewards Great Clips has provided him during his 11 years with the brand.

High-Tech Leader in the Haircare Industry

Great Clips was the first in its industry to use technology to support brand delivery and growth, and improve the experience for franchisee­s, their salon teams and their customers.

In 2011, the company launched the Great Clips app, the first of its kind in the haircare industry. It was a game-changer, largely due to Online Check-In, which allows customers to find salons near their current location and view wait times for each salon. Customers can add their name to the list without having to wait at the salon. Today, more than 12 million customers have downloaded the Great Clips app.

Great Clips also gives franchisee­s technology to help them manage and grow their business, with web-based business intelligen­ce tools, an advanced POS system and a tablet-based app that delivers key operationa­l data for every salon in real time. Franchisee­s have the right informatio­n at their fingertips, anytime, from any place.

Giving Back

Great Clips challenges corporate staff, franchisee­s and friends to give back to the people and the communitie­s where they live and work. Through the Great Deeds® program, Great Clips contribute­s millions of dollars to great causes every year, including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Wigs for Kids and Clips of Kindness, as well as programs that support veterans and domestic violence prevention.

“Since the first franchise opening, Great Clips has had a rich history of embracing neighbourh­oods across North America,” says Great Clips, Inc. president Rob Goggins. “We always encourage our salon owners to be active community members. Our franchisee­s’ community spirit has been the key to our success.”

The Great Clips brand is looking for engaged, active entreprene­urs in Canada, especially in the growing markets of the National Capital region of Ottawa and the city of Winnipeg. To learn more about this opportunit­y, visit https://www.greatclips­

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