Phenix Salon Suites

Phenix

With more then 85 years of family experience, Phenix Salon Suites offers an innovative salon concept

for franchisees in the fast-growing beauty industry.

By Stephanie Crets

Phenix Salon Suites says it is the fastest-growing salon concept in the United States with 163 locations in 27 states and another 38 opening next spring. The company was founded in 2007 by a family of salon professionals with more than 85 years of combined salon experience.

Co-founder and President Gina Rivera grew up in the industry, so she understands what the industry is truly like: standing behind a chair for 12 or more hours a day, experiencing the stress of double-bookings and working with no maternity or bereavement leave. Her empathy and compassion for fellow salon professionals was part of the reason she founded the company.Phenix Phact Box

“That makes us unique in terms of a brand,” co-founder and CEO Jason Rivera says. “Many salons are run by businesspeople, but people gravitate towards the fact that Gina is one of them. When she developed it, she wanted to put the salon professional first, and by doing so we’re rewarded as a brand and company. With competition, it just makes us stand out a bit more. You become part of our family. It’s something more than a salon space because you’re with someone that understands you.”

Unlike Others

Phenix Salon offers a simple model to prospective franchisees. A franchisee gets a 5,000-square-foot salon staffed by nearly 30 licensed salon professionals. The best part for the franchisee is that they all run their own businesses. There are 5,000 salon professionals working in the company’s different locations, and the Riveras view them as 5,000 independent business owners because they handle everything themselves.

“Every time we open a location, it brings a smile to our faces,” Rivera says. “These salon professionals are in tears when Gina shows up for grand openings – thankful for the opportunity she created so they can be independent and a business owner. I’m proud that these professionals believe in us.”

Because the stylists are independent business owners working in the salon, franchisees don’t have to deal with employees or many of the headaches found in running a regular business. “I tell prospective franchisees, why would you work 40 hours a week and save all your money just to buy another job that’s going to cost you 40 hours a week?” Rivera says. “Our concept is super unique. Once you’re up and running and it reaches that mature stage, the average franchisee may spend an hour or two a week there. We encourage them to stay out of their properties to a certain degree and let the salon professionals do their thing. The biggest advantage is just the time and freedom you get.”

Rivera adds that he was a former Olympic athlete, and while living in the training center for four years, he started a successful international marketing company. He worked more than 70 hours a week until he sold his company to help his wife Gina out with Phenix Salon when she had two locations in Colorado Springs, Colo. “We decided to take the concept national by franchising,” he explains. “I went from 70 hours a week and being 100 percent occupied to having nothing to do. I found myself taking my kids to the park and going on field trips. It dawned on me how much flexibility and freedom our concept gives our franchisees. They can view this as a passive income type of opportunity, where they can reinvest and continue to build new stores, or even retire after five years.”

In addition to the flexibility, Phenix Salon is a unique opportunity because the beauty industry is more recession-resistant than others. The Riveras found that, even if customers were getting laid off, they were still booking appointments to get their hair styled, opting instead to cut cable or go out to eat less often.

But Rivera admits there is one challenge that affects opening new locations: Construction costs are on the rise. “We overcome that by constantly value-engineering our product and looking at new ways to save franchisees money,” he continues. “We started developing some of our own equipment and can save them 15 percent on equipment costs. We’re also developing some of our own real estate and building locations from ground up to cut down on costs.”

Phenix Salon is very hands-on with its franchisees, beginning with selecting the right real estate to the construction process to opening the new location and assisting with operations. “We work with them for best practices in operations and for handling any issues,” Rivera says. “Every member of our executive team is a franchisee within our company. Our franchisees take comfort that no one is going to jump ship; everyone is very invested in the Phenix brand.”

Fastest Growing

Phenix Salon sees tremendous opportunity for growth for its franchise concept. If the company captured just 10 percent of the salon market, it would be opening up 4,000 locations – that’s how much white space there is to fill. The company plans to grow strategically by bringing in the right franchise partners, developing the brand nationally and hopefully going international sometime in the near future.

“We’re extremely excited for our franchise partners that we can share this idea with them, help them and allow them to grow a business in their community that they can be proud of,” River says. “It makes it all worthwhile to see the hard work you put in when you see that type of excitement in a store. We see franchise partners so proud to be a part of the brand.”

 

Sidebar: Brand Recognition

To capitalize on its growth, Phenix Salon is releasing a line of professional styling tools, shampoos, conditioners and other hair products. These products will be launching through the Home Shopping Network to reinforce its brand and message.

“We’re doing constant branding,” co-founder and CEO Jason Rivera says. “Our brand can continue to expand; there’s opportunity there. With our product division, the sky’s the limit, so we’re excited about that. I call it reverse marketing where we can have the branded products at different retailers and drive our brand home.”

 

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Franchising Today

Cringleford Business Centre
Intwood Road
Cringleford, Norwich, UK

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