Over the past seven years we’ve opened 82 Dry Bars, each one growing our reputation as much as our team. It’s been an ambitious program of growth. But we still face the same challenges as everyone else: finding the right location and filling it with the right people. Our size definitely helps us overcome many of the obstacles. But I would argue that it’s our infrastructure, rather than the quality of locations, that has helped us grow so quickly. So here are my five top tips on how to scale successfully:
Scouting for the perfect place
Like many companies our size, we have a real estate division that identifies potential sites. Our sightlines have always been on high-density metropolitan areas, those with a wide mix of women aged 16-65 and a certain level of financial security. The challenge then is to find an appropriate location at a reasonable price. As we’ve scaled, we’ve found landlords more amenable, recognizing that a Dry Bar will add value to the area without cannibalizing sales of existing businesses.
A two-pronged approach
We run with a hybrid model. Seventy-five percent of our salons are corporate-owned, with the rest owned by franchisees. The directly owned locations are all within high-density metropolitan areas. But that model doesn’t fit so well in the less populated areas. We’ve found the most successful bars in these areas are those owned and run by people who are from that area and who know it and the local people better.
Right person at the right time
Having access to a winning team is another consideration when scouting for the perfect location. Our in-house recruiting arm follows a proven strategy. Central to it is a close relationship with the local beauty schools, so we’ll reach out to those in the vicinity we are targeting. Once we’ve got the required number for opening, we embark on an intensive education program to ensure every stylist is schooled to deliver to Dry Bar standards.
Again, size helps here as we have our own legal team that looks after new openings whether they are corporate or franchisee-owned. This is a real boon as their sole focus is Dry Bar at all times and work to discover areas of risk before it’s even brought to management’s attention. The alternative is building a relationship with a strong legal practice that allows them to really get to know the business.
Building a blowout bar
Every large chain has a skin that guarantees brand standards but it is easier to use the same general contractors each time. We strive to find general contractors that have regional scale and can build a quality shop format in multiple markets, but still we dispatch our team to oversee the build-out. This ensures that we get exactly what we planned for and on time.