Australian franchise Hairhouse Warehouse has set its sights on a number of overseas markets as part of its next growth phase, including Asia, the United States and the Middle East.
Hairhouse Warehouse, which this year celebrates its 20th birthday, was founded by Melbourne brothers Tony and Joseph Lattouf, who opened their first Hairhouse Warehouse salon in 1992.
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There are now more than 130 stores across the country, with a huge focus on products in addition to haircuts and treatments.
Hairhouse Warehouse was named Established Franchisor of the Year at the 2011 Westpac FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards, and also claimed titles in marketing and social responsibility.
The franchise is currently in the process of assessing opportunities for overseas expansion, with America, England and Asia all on the map.
Joseph Lattouf says the company has hired franchising specialist firm DC Strategy to determine “which countries we can go to, which ones we can’t and which ones would suit our concept”.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from the states and from Asia, the UK and the Middle East. Hopefully, we’ll have one country definitely signed up for 2012,” he says.
“We have an existing franchisee who wants to pack up and go and run the states for us… The states are looking hot and the UK [is as well].”
“We’re in the process of finalising arrangements but we’ll do one [country] this year and a couple of countries next year.”
“The Middle East is [an ideal market] because they’re very much into their looks and the women spend a lot of money on themselves. Dubai is a very exciting option for us.”
Expansion on the home front is also on the cards, with plans to open up to 15 stores a year until the franchise reaches its goal of at least 200 stores nationwide.
According to Rod Young, managing director of DC Strategy, Hairhouse Warehouse continues to outpace many of its competitors.
“Franchise systems like Hairhouse Warehouse, Matchbox, Cartridge World and Total Tools are all seeing growth well above the average of other, less successful franchise models,” he says.
In addition to its offline plans, Hairhouse Warehouse intends to launch online retailing later this year, not only as a shopping platform but as a forum for customers and brand representatives.
“We want to have a website where people can go and are able to ask questions and to look at what a store has,” Lattouf told Franchising.
“Online will definitely be a big part of where we’re going, but we’re going to do it with our franchisees – we’re not going to do it against them.”
“It’s a very touchy subject and some franchisees could think ‘Oh my god, my business is going down the drain and head office is going to take all the money’ but that’s not the case at all.”
“Ultimately, our main goal is to get the customers back into stores, so we’re really going to promote the salon side of it.”
In order to maintain in-store visits, Hairhouse Warehouse will reward online customers with in-store treatments when they make a purchase.
The brand won’t be offering cheaper products online, and the products will be the same.