In this exclusive Q&A, we learn about Pigtails & Crewcuts, an Atlanta-based haircutting franchise that focuses on creating memorable experiences for children and their families. Wade Brannon, CEO of Pigtails & Crewcuts, tells us about the concept and how it stands out among the competition.
Franchise Chatter (FC): For those unfamiliar, what is Pigtails & Crewcuts?
Wade Brannon (WB): Pigtails & Crewcuts is a children’s salon that offers a memorable, stress-free haircutting experience for the entire family. The franchise specializes in helping parents deal with something that can be quite unpleasant by providing children’s haircuts in a fun and friendly environment.
For 15 years our skilled stylists have delivered the highest quality cuts for children backed by a corporate team with a combined 75 years of franchise experience.
FC: Tell us about your professional background. What led you to become CEO of Pigtails & Crewcuts?
WB: I have been in the franchise business since I finished college. I started out working in the first Heavenly Ham specialty meat store as an hourly employee. My partners and I purchased the concept with the intention of franchising it 33 years ago. We, and a great team of support specialists, built that into a 150-store business before being acquired by our largest competitor.
I was looking for my next opportunity when I took my children to the first Pigtails & Crewcuts here in Atlanta. I loved the concept, as, most importantly, did my children and I was able to purchase the concept and trademark with the intention of beginning a new franchise. I bought it in late 2004, spent 2005 putting the systems in place to begin franchising in 2005.
FC: What makes Pigtails & Crewcuts unique?
WB: Well, to begin with, we started franchising in 2005 and then, shortly after the recession hit. We were not only able to survive, but had double digit growth throughout the difficult time.
In addition, we say that we serve two masters: the parents and the children. Parents love us because we operate in a clean and comfortable environment and provide exceptional service. They get the haircuts they want at a reasonable price in a great place.
Our most important master, of course, is the children. If they didn’t love the experience, they would figure out some way to keep from having to come back. Haircuts can be boring, inconvenient, or even traumatic for children. Our children clients love the fun environment and look forward to a haircut at Pigtails & Crewcuts.
FC: Why is Pigtails & Crewcuts relevant to today’s consumers?
WB: At Pigtails & Crewcuts, we are providing a service that families are willing to provide the best of for their children. We are up to speed on the latest products and services that parents want. We have products that are organic, not tested on animals and are the most natural available for parents to use on their children.
FC: Why did you decide to start franchising?
WB: I started franchising primarily because I understood the need for a concept like this nationwide. Parents needed a place that was designed for children, but was also designed for parents to be comfortable. There needed to be a consistent brand that was clean, well operated, and up to date with all the most recent techniques and products.
There have been a number of mom and pop type operations doing children’s haircuts but not one of them, that I have found, has had the backing and support to grow beyond the local level. I felt like my experience and the nature of this business lends itself to a successful franchise concept.
FC: Why is Pigtails & Crewcuts relevant for potential franchisees?
WB: We are relevant because we have a proven and viable concept that has been shown to provide a needed service. Some businesses lend themselves to franchising and some less so. I believe that Pigtails & Crewcuts is one that really does lend itself to being franchised.
The combination of a hardworking, local owner who wants to provide a valuable service to their community and the systems and support that we deliver from the corporate office gives our franchisees the greatest opportunity for success.
FC: What kind of support does Pigtails & Crewcuts provide franchisees?
WB: Our belief is that if our franchisees are successful then we will be successful. Therefore, our entire business is built around supporting our owners. I actually believe that the support should begin before a franchisee is even a franchisee. We don’t try to sell franchises; we award them to people who have vetted our concept and feel that this business opportunity is right for them and their families. Once we have mutually agreed that this is a good fit, our support really begins.
We help with site selection, lease negotiations, design, and construction. While the buildout phase is going on, franchisees will come to our office for a week of extensive training which includes: marketing, financial management, staffing, operations, and all aspects of running a small business. Then, one of our excellent franchise support specialists will come to your salon at opening to help you train your staff and get you open and comfortable with the day-to-day operations.
We have a process to get you from the novice stage to the expert stage. We do that with a series of phone calls taking the owner or the manager through what we have seen as the steps to get there. No one starts out knowing everything about how to operate a Pigtails & Crewcuts when they open. You have to do it for a while. We know what you need when you need it.
In addition to that pre-opening and recently-opened support, we are constantly looking for better ways to help franchisees operate. We regularly make improvements in our approach to marketing, technology, financial management, staffing issues, and all other aspects of the business. We attend conferences and work with vendors to bring innovation to our franchisees.
FC: Who is an ideal franchisee for Pigtails & Crewcuts?
WB: We have successful franchisees from many different backgrounds. We have women who recently had children who are ready to go back to work, but don’t want to get back into the corporate world. They want the work/family balance that owning a Pigtails & Crewcuts offers.
We also have people who want to invest in a concept that lends itself to multi-unit development. Both types of owners are folks who want to provide an exceptional service and give back to their communities.
FC: How many locations does Pigtails & Crewcuts currently operate?
WB: We currently have 61 locations open in 22 states and another 57 in different stages of development.
FC: Tell us about the company’s expansion plans.
WB: We have an excellent support team at our corporate office and we are taking an aggressive approach to expand in desirable markets nationwide. We are working with existing franchisees to help them develop additional locations and have put together an extensive marketing plan to attract qualified new franchisees.
FC: What is the investment for potential franchisees?
WB: The range of investment is $98,750-$230,250. That is a big range, but it really depends on a number of variables including the size of the space, part of the country, tenant improvement allowance we can negotiate from a landlord, and construction costs which vary by city and region.
FC: How can someone learn more about the franchise opportunity for Pigtails & Crewcuts?
WB: We’d love to hear from interested people. They can visit our website www.pigtailsandcrewcutsfranchise.com and reach us online by filling out the “Contact Us” form. If they choose that method, we are very quick to follow up to speak directly about your interests. Or they can call Hannah Swanson, one of our great franchise development folks at 770-752-6800 or reach her by email at email@example.com.