In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn more about 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons from the founder and CEO of Ultimate Brands, Scott Griffiths.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background prior to founding 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons?
Scott Griffiths (SG): Although I’m currently functioning in the business world as the founder and CEO of Ultimate Brands (18|8 Fine Men’s Salons, Griff’s Ace Grooming & Shave Bars, True Solutions for Thinning Hair), I was first trained as an artist and designer as a scholarship student at The Art Center College of Design, where I would later be an instructor for three years.
After college, I launched my career as a creative director and brand consultant. For more than two decades, I created, led or was on the leadership teams for some of the greatest brands in the world – Nokia, House of Blues, Crystal Cruises, Paul Mitchell (created their men’s line – Mitch for Men) as well as numerous startups and early stage companies.
In 2000, I identified that there was a largely untapped market and a need to create a salon just for men. After a series of entrepreneurial successes, and even failures, I went on to obtain my MBA from the UCLA Anderson School, which was a catalyst for starting 18|8. 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons was sparked by the idea that a man spends $40-60 every 3-4 weeks to go to a women’s salon where, in reality, they don’t even want to be there.
FC: How does 18|8 distinguish itself from other concepts in the $21 billion men’s grooming industry?
SG: 18|8 Fine Men’s salons has created a sanctuary for men, by transforming the American barbershop into an experiential modern-day setting. Discerning men should not have to go to women’s salons for a better haircut. They should not have to be in a fish bowl environment, hearing conversations that are, well…for women. They should not have to have Cosmopolitan as their only reading material.
18|8 was created as the fine men’s salon concept and we continue to enhance the model with new value-added services and products. Our salons offer handcrafted haircuts, straight-razor shaves, facial and scalp treatments, waxing and nail treatments, with unique and innovative programs including cancer screening and hair restoration.
FC: What makes Ultimate Brands and the 18|8 franchise opportunity appealing to potential franchise prospects?
SG: The 18|8 franchise opportunity provides a differentiated, established business model for franchisees. There are systems in place to help franchisees choose the right location, obtain a unique and affordable store design, and position the brand to stand for a premium men’s salon.
Franchisees can feel confident knowing that they will be backed by corporate support with a combined century of experience in creating a proven path of success. Franchise owners have the opportunity to be involved in the beginning of the process, but then have the ability to step back if so desired.
The salon industry is worth more than $50 billion and continues to grow at a significant rate. 18|8’s unique market segment is untapped, making the franchise opportunity a long-term wealth and equity investment. In addition, 18|8’s world class stylist education and career paths create high client retention and reduce stylist turnover, making 18|8 a lucrative opportunity for stylists.
FC: 18|8 began franchising in 2012 and has grown substantially since then. Looking ahead, what does the future hold for the brand? Are there any new concepts in the pipeline?
SG: Late last year, Ultimate Brands launched its newest concept, Griff’s Ace Grooming & Shave Bars, and our Griff’s Mobile Barbers. The premium barbershops will feature industrial vintage décor, today’s music and top-notch service in a comfortable space. The goal is to give men quick, easy service that does not sacrifice quality.
In addition, to cater to the more than 50 million men in the U.S. who have concerns with loss of or thinning of hair, we’ve recently launched our True Solutions for Thinning Hair premier suite of products and services. The new line is guaranteed to help men keep their hair longer or get it back.
Innovation is in our DNA, and we look forward to continuing the development of our popular brands.
FC: What qualities do you look for in a potential franchisee? What does the typical investment to open an 18|8 look like?
SG: At Ultimate Brands, we are seeking qualified franchise partners with experience in business, with an affinity to hospitality and managing small teams. People skills are a must. The total investment for an 18|8 franchise ranges from $291,851 to $513,639 for a single unit developed at a newly-constructed location.
For more information on the 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon franchise opportunity, please visit https://eighteeneight.com/franchise-info/.