This blog is part of an ongoing series taking a behind-the-scenes look at opening a Pigtails & Crewcuts salon.
As Rudy and Sharon Hogan neared retirement, they started thinking about opening a franchise in their hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rudy, a financial advisor, thought opening a business would be a great project and a way to maintain a monthly income. Sharon, who once owned her own business making and selling children’s clothing, already had experience in working with the public, and was up for the challenge. They had just begun researching different industries—fast food, sub shops, in-home senior health care—when their 32-year-old daughter, Kelly Hailey, approached them with a different suggestions: Why not open a Pigtails & Crewcuts salon?
Hailey was already familiar with the children’s franchise, because a family member in Charlotte, North Carolina had great success with opening a salon. For years, the cousin had been encouraging the family to sign on with the top franchise and open a Pigtails & Crewcuts in Chattanooga. This seemed like the perfect time to do it. As a former business owner (she opened a doggy day care after graduating from college) and current stay-at-home mom, Hailey was looking for an opportunity that would allow her a flexible schedule and steady income. “I told my parents, ‘If you’re really serious, we think this franchise is a good idea. Our family could do it together.’”
Without hesitating, her dad made the call to our franchise team. We shared with the family an overview of the salon’s franchise business model, and encouraged them to contact other Pigtails & Crewcuts salons to decide if the business would be a good fit. Hailey took her son to a neighboring town’s Pigtails & Crewcuts, and was impressed by the look, feel and service of the salon. She talked to Pigtails & Crewcuts salon owners across the country, sharing with them her reservation: she didn’t know how to cut hair. They assuaged her fears. They, too, had no experience in the hair care industry prior to opening Pigails & Crewcuts. But, they told her, the executive team at Pigtails & Crewcuts equips you with all of the training you’ll need to succeed in the business. She spoke with other kid-focused businesses in Chattanooga to gauge whether Pigtails & Crewcuts was a good fit for the city. She walked away with a resounding “Yes!”
Around the same time, her parents flew to Atlanta and met with our team. We explained to them the step-by-step process of opening a salon, and emphasized that the Pigtails & Crewcuts’ goal is to help each franchise succeed. Bolstered by the support, the family decided that this was the perfect fit. “One of the reasons we decided to go with Pigtails & Crewcuts is they will help you with every step,” said Hailey.
After getting their finances in order and signing the necessary paperwork, the family began scouting potential locations for the salon. We asked them to study different parts of town, taking note of median income, schools and population. We suggested that they look for locations anchored by other large stores, and places that are convenient to main roads with excellent visibility. Then we planned a trip to Chattanooga to help them select the best location and negotiate a lease.
Rudy, Sharon and their daughter took us around to evaluate four locations. We handled the discussions with leasing agents and Realtors, bargaining for free rent, decreased fees and other incentives to sign a lease. We were also able to point out characteristics of the properties that the family hadn’t noticed—one location didn’t allow enough room for a large sign, another seemed too out-of-the way. By 2 p.m., we had two top choices, and both locations were competing to make the best offer.
Soon after, we showed the family four different architectural blueprints and asked their preference. The family agreed on one, and we connected them with a Tennessee-based architect, who will oversee the build-out. Construction will begin within weeks of the lease signing. From there, the family expects to open the children’s salon within three months—just in time for back-to-school cuts. Hailey and her mom plan to divide the day-to-day operations, while Rudy handles the financial matters. Together, it’s a true family endeavor with unlimited possibilities.