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6 Questions with Franchisee Erika Benjamin

Q: What were you doing professionally before you opened your first Blo location?

A: Before opening my first Blo I worked for Marriott in room operations. My degree is in Hospitality Management so my former career was spent at hotel front desks and housekeeping departments, honing my customer service skills and running large departments.

Q: What sparked your interest in joining a franchise system?

A: I wanted to become a business owner so I could work just as hard but for myself. I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and joining a franchise system seemed like an endeavor in which I could have input, apply my skills without having to come up with my own concept. I would much rather become part of something already in existence that I could relate to and continue to grow with. Having the support of a corporate team and other franchisees was also something I knew I would benefit from to lead me in the right direction.

Q: What made you choose Blo?

A: Initially when I considered joining a franchise I took into consideration what was lacking where I currently lived. My entrepreneurial spirit wanted to bring in something fresh and be one of the firsts as I didn’t want to join a franchise that had already saturated my market. Orlando did not have any blow dry bars at the time, so when I walked into a Blo Brickell because I needed a blow out, the lightbulb in my brain just turned on. I researched a few other franchise companies, however found Blo to be the most responsive and well organized of them all. I loved how catchy the branding was and the finances made sense as it wasn’t a huge investment in comparison to other franchises.

Q: What do you enjoy most about owning your locations?

A: My work environment overall is wonderful, we provide a service that makes people feel good about themselves and that is very satisfying.  Although initially the startup was a lot of work, once we were up and running I thrive on meeting all my clients and pushing my stylists to be the best they can be.  My bar has a such a positive energy that being at work is like social hour for myself as well as for the clients. Although I do work hard, my hours are flexible and I am able to have a work life balance that I didn’t in the past. As an added bonus I am passionate about all things related to beauty and fashion so this is a business in which I enjoy indulging.

Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned since opening your first location?

A: Being present. Although I am no longer there from open to close, being at my locations as much as possible is vital. My staff is wonderful but it’s important to continue to focus on excellence, setting expectations and modelling dedication to our clients on a daily basis. It all goes back to the simple statement of “practice what you preach “. When they see me involved and working hard alongside them when needed, they push themselves just as hard. Being sensitive and flexible to their personal needs also shows that I care about them and has continuously helped build loyalty with my staff.

Q: You have a unique mini location. How does that operation differ from running your main location?

A: My mini location has unique benefits and challenges. Staffing correctly is key for this one. As we are located inside a hotel and they process billing for us, my stylists work alone without supervision or a blo boss. They also have to follow the hotel’s expectations on appearance and hours. As stylists are creative, artistic individuals who like to express themselves through their appearance and have a flair for drama, it makes it harder to find the perfect fit. It’s essential that the people assigned to the mini location are reliable and can address any challenges that may arise. A pro of this location is that because of the large property size, we are guaranteed clientele. Other than a little collateral for within the hotel, we don’t spend on any marketing or advertising initiatives and don’t run discounts as we do at our other location. Compared to most hotel salons our services are still at a lower price so clients are less likely to hesitate.


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