Jean Chriss Camilletti is a multi-unit franchise owner with Blo Blow Dry Bar, North America’s original blow dry bar, with over 85 locations. Jean is the owner of Blo locations in West Hartford (CT), Long Island (NY), and Manhattan (NY). We spoke to Jean about her decision to become a Blo franchisee, her experiences partnering with the corporate team, and why her businesses are successful.
What were you doing before buying a Blo franchise, and how did you decide that you were interested in this franchise opportunity?
I was in the fashion industry for 30 plus years. When I left about a year ago, I was running several businesses at a president’s level and had sales, marketing, and design teams reporting to me. I was looking to shift gears and do something else. I wanted to work hard, but work hard for myself.
I started looking at franchises, and since I came from the fashion industry I wanted to find a brand that I could connect to. When I did my homework and realized that Blo was the original blow dry bar, I knew I wanted to be with the original. So I started on this path knowing that I was interested in being a multi-unit owner.
How prepared did you feel after you went through your original training, and how do you find the ongoing support from the corporate team?
I recognize that when I opened Long Island (my first location, 3 and a half years ago), there were only about 30 Blo locations. The training was very different. There was a smaller corporate team at the time that trained my staff and myself. Even though they were small, they were very on point. I felt prepared, and I felt that my team was prepared. Of course, not until you open your doors, do you learn everything. Even at that point, if I did feel uneasy, or didn’t feel like I knew enough, I was very comfortable to make a phone call to corporate to brainstorm, to come up with new ideas, or help solve problems. At the beginning, staffing was so different than what I came from that I had a million staffing questions. The corporate team, even though it was a small team, was always there to help. I never felt left alone. Today, I would say it’s even bigger and better because now you’re looking at over 60 bars open and a bigger corporate team. They’ve grown as we’ve grown. But even today, if I make a phone call to corporate, I either speak to someone right away or get a phone call back right away. I feel like that support has always been there, it’s just bigger and better now.
What is your relationship with corporate like when you have new ideas, or want to brainstorm system-wide changes?
I think that this was one of the reasons that I was so attracted to this franchise system. When I looked at other franchises, because they had been in business for such a long time, they seemed much more rigid in the way they were thinking. Blo is a relatively young franchise, so there’s still an entrepreneurial spirit at corporate. If I have a new idea, not only do we chat about it, and figure out how it could work for my location, but we also talk about how it could scale across the system. Any of those thoughts are embraced and we’ve put some great systems together. I do feel that it’s a partnership.
What do you like best about this business?
I enjoy the challenges. I enjoy the ups and downs of any business. I like people. I get to touch people every day, and that’s something that I really do enjoy. I love taking staff that want a career, and nurturing them and teaching them what I know about business. I also really enjoy being part of a brand that is near and dear to my heart. I love the whole branding aspect. I like that women know who we are, and have exciting stories to tell. Having women feel good and look good and keeping the customer satisfied is really amazing. When we get great reviews we share them with our team because we are very proud. That is all very satisfying.
You’ve touched on a few points about what drives success in this business. If you were to summarize it, what does it take to succeed in this business?
Number one would be customer service and quality control. Making sure everybody walks out with happy hair. That’s something that we talk about all the time. Clients go out and tell their girlfriends how great their experience was. That’s your best advertising. We do everything we have to do to make that client happy, no matter what.
Then, of course, your staff being the best that they can be. Ensuring that you are hiring quality staff, and making sure that they are following their training. Our chief style bosses are constantly making sure that everybody is following the training.
The marketing side is another thing. We constantly reach out to local business, like hotels and venues. We just connected to two more hotels in Long Island!
The bridal piece is also huge for us. How do you expand the business? How do you bring the volume in? How do you raise the numbers? Bridal is something that can help this.
One of the things you’ve decided to do recently is look to incorporate makeup into your business. Can you give us some insight into what’s driving that for you?
It seems to be a natural addition, and we are excited because the West Hartford (CT) location has the space to be able to do that. We’re going to be building a makeup bar for them, and as we are in the process of building, we let the clients know that we are offering makeup services. We are booking up very quickly! It’s a natural addition. I don’t think you want send clients away somewhere else when you can do all of the services there. That’s another way to bring in extra revenue. As we continue to open, we are going to be sure that each location has a makeup bar.
Jean, knowing what you know now, would you make the same decision again?
Absolutely. Positively. Without a doubt. This career change felt natural to me. I also really do enjoy working with a great corporate team. It is such a pleasure. I’d say that in front of anyone – I love working with the team. They are knowledgeable, and helpful. Most importantly, it’s the self-satisfaction and the fact that I can bring my business background and apply it to this everyday. It truly is enjoyable, and challenging, and exciting.
Blo has franchising opportunities available! For more information, visit http://franchise.blomedry.com/