When Kay and Evan Carroll started bringing their son into the local Pigtails & Crewcuts back in 2011, they had no idea they would eventually become multi-unit salon franchise owners. They now own three Pigtails & Crewcuts children’s hair salons in the greater Charlotte, NC area.
In 2016, Evan was running his own protection dog training business, while Kay was at home taking care of their two children. Neither of them expected to become owners of a franchise, but the opportunity seemed too good to pass up when they bought an existing Pigtails & Crewcuts location from one of Evan’s friends.
“We weren’t looking to buy a business,” explained Evan. “But we believe that everyone gets three big opportunities in life, and sometimes it just takes you walking through the door.”
Investing for Success
For the first two and a half years of salon ownership, Kay and Evan worked diligently to get their salons up and running, having bought a second location in June 2017. They covered human resources, scheduling, inventory management, marketing, and maintenance.
Luckily, they understood that to get the success they envisioned, they would have to be willing to invest their time and money in their business.
“You have to have a clear vision of who you want to be as a business,” explained Evan. “I’m a firm believer in that you have to spend money to earn the market share.”
Once they get customers in the door, Evan and Kay strive to create the perfect experience to keep them coming back.
Delegating Ownership Tasks
However, once the pair gained a stronger grasp on the business, they were able to slowly transition themselves into more hands-off roles and give more responsibility to their general manager.
Now, instead of working daily at their salons, Evan stops by once every three weeks or so to sign paperwork and check in with their employees. Kay is in charge of their social media and marketing, while Evan takes care of doing payroll and acts as their handyman. Splitting up their duties while supporting one another helps them maintain a strong personal and working relationship.
“I think to be a successful husband-and-wife business, you need to be able to depend on each other,” said Evan.
Creating the Right Culture for Clients
Evan and Kay understand that there’s only so much you can do as owners to get people in the salon, and it’s up to your stylist team and your employees to keep people coming back. When the Carrolls are hiring, they work hard to ensure that their stylists are not only high-quality but also uphold the right culture of their salons.
“The biggest thing is that we rarely hire stylists without two or more years of experience,” said Evan. “We need someone who’s worked in a fast-paced environment and has hands-on experience. They need to able to connect with the clients and create those ‘wow’ moments.”
Evan also stresses the importance of hiring the right kind of general manager. The Carrolls’ current general manager started as one of their stylists and kept moving up in the ranks to now helping them run their businesses.
“The right general manager can see the trees in the forest and see the forest through the trees,” said Evan. “They need to be able to view the business from my perspective as an owner, as well as the perspective of the hairstylists.”
Maintaining a Strong Team
Part of the reason Evan and Kay retain high-quality employees is how they work with their team members. They understand that many of their stylists are parents. Because of this, they work hard to meet their employees’ scheduling needs, so their stylists can make it home to help with homework, spend time with their families, and pick their children up from extracurricular activities.
“The best way to maintain our employees is that we bend over backward and collaborate with them, creating an understanding and open relationship,” said Evan.
Not only do they work to create a positive impact on their employees, but they work to positively impact their communities as well. Since their salons cater to children, they do a lot of donations to the local Parent Teacher Organizations and offer up coupons for back to school or picture day.
Evan and Kay now own three Pigtails & Crewcuts locations in the Charlotte, NC area, with the third having been acquired in late December of 2019. But Evan is still thinking about opening more salons down the line.
“I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities,” he said.