South-Western - Management  
Mom Entrepreneur Posts Record Growth and Opens 52nd Snip-Its Children’s Hair Salon
Topic Entrepreneurship
Key Words Entrepreneur, franchise, branding
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News Story

The Snip-its salon franchise, started by Joanna Meiseles in 1995, is a unique haircutting salon for children that combines a necessary service with entertaining fun to create a great experience for kids and solid returns for investors. The franchise has shown a 67% growth in 2006 and is on track to open 20 new franchise stores in 13 states in 2007, with more expected.

Snip-its has capitalized on the trend of parents spending more discretionary income on experiences for their children. It also reflects the growing number of entrepreneurial moms who are creating successful businesses that fit their lifestyles and values. The initial franchise investment is about $210,000 and owners report high returns on their investments.

Meiseles offers the following lessons to entrepreneurs who are interested in creating successful businesses:

  • Brand your product. Brand loyalty starts at a young age. Snip-its cartoon characters help associate the brand with grooming and appear in the salon interiors, in videos and games, and on products in the waiting area.
  • Understand your customer needs: For example, at Snip-its each child’s chair has a comfortable parent’s chair next to it so parents feel relaxed and comfortable too.
  • Provide incentives so customers return: At the end of each haircut, children receive a prize from a “Magic Box.” Loyalty card customers are awarded a 9th haircut for free.
  • Apply customer service principles: Snip-its trains its franchises to reflect its founding principles of quality haircuts, positive interactions, and sanitation.
  • Bring the experience home: Snip-its sells a line of all-natural self-branded, tear-free shampoos, body washes, and styling products that kids can call their own. The products outsold early forecasts of more than 1,000 bottles a week.
  • You can’t be all things to all people: Stick to your core product and focus on one or two things that your company does well. Don’t compromise quality or brand. For example, Snip-its does not do adult haircuts.
  • Become an expert: Meiseles recently launched a blog to discuss the challenges of being a working mother and entrepreneur. Ultimately, Meiseles wants to make visits to Snip-its one of the most positive experiences in a child’s early life.

Questions
1.

What is a franchise? What are the benefits and drawbacks to an entrepreneur who is trying to decide between striking out and launching his or her own business versus buying a franchise and running that business?

2.

Meiseles says that brand loyalty starts young and is very important to a business’s success. Do you agree? What are some ways that Meiseles instills brand loyalty in her customers? Give at least two other examples of businesses that instill brand loyalty in children and how they go about doing it.

3.

Meiseles also says that doing one thing well is very important to the success of a business. What does she mean by this? Can you think of a business that does one thing very well? Give an example of a company that tried to do things that were outside its core competencies and failed.

Source “Mom Entrepreneur Posts Record Growth and Opens 52nd Snip-Its Children’s Hair Salon,” Business Wire, Jan. 10, 2007, pNA.
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