Living through the global crisis set off by COVID-19 has left some stylists in precarious positions. The challenges faced during these uncertain times have many beauty professionals looking for something more, or different, in their work life moving forward. Where pre-coronavirus, they may not have been as focused on the education opportunities, community involvement, culture or core values of a company, today these are important factors stylists may consider.
The Great Clips® brand has 4,500 salons in the U.S. and Canada, making it the world’s largest salon brand. Great Clips, Inc. is the national franchisor for the Great Clips brand and each Great Clips salon is independently owned and operated by a third-party franchisee.
As the franchisor of the Great Clips brand, Great Clips, Inc. provides the systems, standards and requirements that must be met at all Great Clips salons to ensure a consistent customer experience. In addition, Great Clips, Inc. encourages its franchisees to create a working environment and salon culture that allows their stylists to grow, give back to their communities, and gain valuable education and experience.
Opportunity to Shine
From that first decision to choose beauty as a career, stylists are often surprised by the many opportunities available to them as they continue along their path. Great Clips franchisees help their stylists progress in their careers, developing their talents with education that advances competence and confidence.
Scott Sellers, national education specialist for Great Clips, Inc., and based in Wilmington, NC, has been with the Great Clips brand for 10 years – first as an employee of a franchisee-owned Great Clips salon and now as a National Educator for Great Clips, Inc. “I started as a receptionist in a Great Clips salon while still in school,” Sellers shares. “My career in the beauty industry started a few years before cosmetology school, in theatre, but I knew I needed to secure some stability if I wanted to last in this business.”
For the past five years, Sellers has been a National Educator for Great Clips, Inc. In this role, Sellers provides training and education opportunities to franchisees and their salon staff. “Today, I typically introduce myself by telling people that my favorite things to talk about or teach are salon leadership, excellent customer service and exceptional technical/cutting skills. ‘Effective Communication’ is my favorite topic in all those areas because those skills are so important in every aspect of salon life – from stylist coaching to doing a thorough consultation with a customer.”
Pre-COVID, Sellers traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada, taking his training out into the field. But with social distancing and governmental “stay-at-home orders,” Sellers and Great Clips Inc. needed to alter access to training. Sellers leads the Technical Advisory Group and has been a part of the Great Clips, Inc. team that recently created and rolled out new virtual training programs to the entire Great Clips system. Since so much of the educational content can now also be accessed online, the learning has never stopped.
“Great Clips University (GCU) provides onboarding courses for franchisees, stylists and managers and we build from that foundation.” As part of this training, Sellers instructs on the “5 Steps to Customer Service” to ensure that each Great Clips customer receives the same experience customers expect from the Great Clips brand. “We also have in-person and virtual training programs specifically designed for new Great Clips salon owners with a strong focus on helping franchisees build a positive salon culture. Franchisees, stylists and managers thrive in a personalized learning environment and our education team knows that.”
“Most importantly,” he continues, “there is a very broad selection of ongoing technical training for stylists and managers who want to develop their cutting and clipper skills and classes that focus on advanced techniques and trends for stylists who want to learn something new.”
From his first day as a receptionist inside a Great Clips salon, Sellers said he knew he’d found a great fit. From front desk to center stage, he can be found inspiring and educating, while celebrating the many opportunities and options open when you choose a career in beauty.
Delight in Making a Difference
We often talk about salons as being community centers. They are a place where so much more than great hair is shared. Great Clips, Inc. encourages its franchisees and salon owners to participate in initiatives that are important to Great Clips customers and a franchisee’s local community.
Frank Evans, Great Clips franchisee and owner of Nevans, Inc., has built giving back into his guiding philosophy both personally and professionally.
“My wife, Jane Evans, frequently said, ‘You need to give to get,’” says Evans, who had a 38-year career with Junior Achievement and now owns 15 Great Clips salons. “Between that and my non-profit background, we basically approached our Great Clips salon business as a way to make this world a better place to live.”
“Early on in my time as a Great Clips franchisee, I heard two Great Clips, Inc. vice presidents present a profile of great salon managers,” Evans continues. “I distinctly remember them saying that great managers create a work environment that is caring, nurturing, safe and where team members feel they are a part of a team and can make valuable contributions.”
Evans’ wife Jane helped spearhead the Clips of Kindness program for the Great Clips system. As part of this program, Great Clips salons in the U.S. and Canada provide complimentary clipper cuts to customers facing hair loss due to cancer treatments. Rhoda Olsen, current vice chair of the board and then-CEO for Great Clips, Inc., approached Evans’ wife Jane in mid-2010 and asked her to help develop a systemwide program to allow stylists to serve others in the way they are most equipped – with their skills as hairstylists. Less than four months later, Jane was diagnosed with stage 4 metastasized breast cancer and, soon after, she was receiving her own clipper cut. In October 2011, Jane helped launch what is now Clips of Kindness. Jane passed away in 2015 after her battle with cancer.
Evans’ organization currently supports a number of charitable organizations and initiatives, including Clips of Kindness, Children's Miracle Network/Children's Hospital Colorado, Susan G. Komen Colorado, Veterans Day, Rocky Mountain Vibes Reading Program, Greccio Housing "Adopt-a-Family" Holiday program and the annual Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day.
“My salons also often give out free haircuts to neighborhood fundraisers,” he adds. “As much as possible, we ask our salon staff to attend such events and they often run into customers who then see them and us in a different, community-involved light.”
Evans says that because of the relationships that his stylists and managers have built up with the customers they serve, they fundraise for causes close to everyone’s heart – and see tremendous success.
“We have been involved with the Children’s Miracle Network since 2008. It was really our first engagement in the community. We decided to make raising money fun, so we had incentives the stylists could earn. That first year we raised over $12,000. In 2019, we raised over $59,000. And, since 2008, we have raised a cumulative total of $485,532, so we’re going past the half-million mark in fall 2020! ”
Achieving Success Together
The synergy between Great Clips franchisees, their teams and Great Clips, Inc. means that a career at a Great Clips salon can be the beginning of great things.
“After cosmetology school, I worked in a full-service salon for a little under a year before deciding to move to a franchise-owned Great Clips salon,” says Tami Waltz, Great Clips general manager of Catch the Wave, Inc., a Great Clips franchisee. “Almost 30 years later, it’s still one of the best choices I have made for my career.”
Waltz, based in the Twin Cities metro area, started as a stylist at a Great Clips salon when she was just 21 years old in 1992. “I became an assistant manager within the first year, was promoted to a manager within two years and became one of my franchisee’s first multi-unit managers after approximately seven years. I’m now a general manager with my franchisee.
“I love working to develop our team’s skill sets both technically and personally to be amazing leaders within the Great Clips franchise system and the industry and to help them learn to trust in themselves.”
Because of the close working relationships among Great Clips, Inc., franchisees, and franchisees’ salon teams, there are opportunities to work on projects that will have wide-reaching application within the organization.
“In May 2015, the salon I managed at the time in Shakopee, MN, was chosen to pilot the new Great Clips, Inc. point of sales program for the entire system,” says Waltz. “It was a wonderful opportunity to help forge the way for technology within the Great Clips brand. I had input on how the program developed and I continued to help it evolve. It was an amazing opportunity for me.”
In fact, the technology that Great Clips, Inc. has put in place means that the Great Clips system has been well-positioned to respond to COVID-19 concerns around managing client flow and touchless check-in. By accessing Great Clips, Inc.’s Online Check-In app or visiting greatclips.com, customers can add their name to the service queue before they head to the salon. Additionally, stylists can tap into Great Clips, Inc.’s Clip Notes software to keep technical notes on a customer’s haircut to enhance consultations. This makes the return to a Great Clips salon easier for clients and stylists, alike.
“As I reflect on my 28 years with the Great Clips brand, I can say it was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made," Waltz wraps up. "Our teams and customers are like family to me and, in some cases, they have become family! My decision to join a Great Clips salon has truly been a blessing to me.”
See more about the great opportunities available when you start a career at a franchise-owned Great Clips salon by visiting jobs.greatclips.com.
Great Clips salons are independently owned and operated by third-party franchisees.
As independent business owners, each franchisee is responsible for all employment- and personnel-related matters.
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