The Weave Shop fit a specific market segment of the hair care and beauty services market. By providing services specifically to the African American market demographic and offering a strong value proposition with a lower-priced service model, The Weave Shop was literally taking the market by storm.
The Weave Shop was founded by a young lady who realized there was a need for a better way to deliver weaves to women. African American women were regularly paying $300 and even up to $1,000 for a weave hair product from salons and individual service providers in many parts of the country, The Weave Shop was able to offer the same service for $50. The brand was carried by the tagline, “Home of the $50 Weave” and the three corporate units were expanding their customer base quickly. As the new innovation became more widely known, interest from customers and investors quickly picked up and people began to inquire about a franchise opportunity with the hair care company.
In 2010, The Weave Shop approached Franchise Marketing Systems to develop a franchised business model to grow the organization and franchise the business. FMS was tasked with the process of building an operational structure, a strategy and a marketing model for effectively expanding The Weave Shop Franchise. By spending time in the operating locations and documenting processes, procedures and daily responsibilities of the staff, the franchise operations manual, training programs and operational processes were put in place to be able to not only teach the business model but to maintain compliance and standards throughout the network.
The Weave Shop franchise strategy was developed in order to define market territories, location demographic requirements, initial investment ranges and unit level ROIs needed to scale the business model.
Franchise Marketing Systems then managed the franchise sales and recruitment process for expanding the business model and recruiting new franchisees. This included the evaluation, prospecting, lead generation and sales management for franchise development.
The Weave Shop had a strong market position with an amazing value proposition to the consumer, this was effectively just transitioned to the value offered to a franchisee. By offering value-based services, the units were performing well and proved to be great validation for the prospective franchisee.
Marketing and business development were focused in markets with high densities of African American populations including Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Charlotte and other areas which presented immediate opportunities. The franchise candidates ranged widely from business people who had previous business experience and looked to the Weave Shop franchise as an exciting and profitable business investment to hair care providers who wanted to start their own business and saw the hair care franchise as an effective tool to help them start their own business.
During the first year of business development, 11 new franchise locations were opened and the brand began to scale quickly. Franchisees were required to conduct significant local marketing campaigns that would draw new clients through grassroots advertising and marketing.
This local marketing drove additional franchise interest and new lead generation for franchise investors. Large investors began to take notice of the brand’s growth opportunity and franchisees wanted to get markets before they were taken by other franchise investors. A strong cooperative marketing initiative was developed and executed to pool advertising funds and allow franchisees to advertise together.
These economies of scale allowed for television advertising, radio and celebrity endorsements of the franchise brand. What was incredible about the growth was that the franchise system never had an advertising budget devoted to franchise recruitment, because of the branding and intensive consumer marketing, there never was a need to spend franchise marketing dollars.
Operational controls were developed to support franchisees in the training and development of their business. As the units expanded to exceed 30 salons, it was clear that there were many variables in managing a hair care franchise system that needed to be defined and controlled in order to present a consistent customer experience in the units.
New support staff and franchise training technology were brought into the system to help franchisees who didn’t have the hair care or beauty industry experience. More onsite training and support helped with managing relationships and keeping franchisees within the confines of the business model.
The Weave Shop is a perfect example of a competitive market segment that was able to focus on a core demographic and differentiate the brand. Through franchising, the business was able to expand quickly and avoid the costs and operational commitments that would have come with new corporate store growth.
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