Episode 024

Denis McFadden

Podcast Length: 58 min | Date Published: 28th January 2020

110,000 clients a week, 231 salons, 3,500 staff, 3 separate countries. The story behind building ‘Just Cuts’ a successful salon franchise.


The hairdressing industry on the surface is a very simple business model.

I think that because of that many budding entrepreneurs see it as an opportunity to scale it through a franchise model. I’ve seen many people try and most of them do not succeed.

But my guest today has built a business spread over 3 countries with in excess of 231 salons and over 3,500 staff and continues to expand. The salon group is called ‘Just Cuts’ and is based in Australia but also has salons in New Zealand and now the United Kingdom.

The founder of the business is someone I have known for 30 years and I always find talking to him refreshingly inspiring and uplifting…

In today’s podcast we will discuss:
  • The story behind the Just Cuts brand
  • The important steps in building a franchise for both the franchisee and the franchisor
  • What are some of the challenges involved in expansion on that scale?
  • How do you find and keep good people? 
And lots more!


In This Episode:

[01:48] Welcome to the show, Denis!

[02:25] Listen, as Denis speaks about his journey from a hairdresser to founding a franchised brand.

[06:23] Denis talks about how he started the Just Cuts brand without really knowing he was building a franchise prototype.

[07:45] He chats about one of his stylists wanting to have a Just Cuts salon, which was his first franchisee.

[10:26] Denis speaks about the early days being more about sponsoring people than actual franchise fees.

[11:41] He details how he used to collect franchise fees, not through haircuts per week instead of percentages.

[14:10] His salons only do haircuts, and the price is the same for men and women.

[14:55] Why don’t you do chemical treatments like colour or perms?

[19:00] The clientele in his salons is split down the middle, 50% women and 50% men.

[20:30] There are no receptionists, clients check themselves in through an IPad, and they have the option of adding ala carte items like a shampoo or a blow-dry.

[25:21] Denis tells us the salons have about a 7% growth each week.

[26:04] What is the number of haircuts each stylist does per day? Is there a benchmark?

[28:28] Business is growing; they now have 231 salons.

[29:11] Denis speaks about embracing technology so they can run salons from different countries.

[30:30] How do you train your staff? Online or in-person?

[32:18] A lot of the franchise owners are not hairstylists, and they get reports from managers that run their salons.

[34:10] Denis says that some owners are more dedicated, but others don’t do as well because they are managing remotely.

[34:48] Are they all franchised, or are there any company-owned salons?

[36:12] Denis explains how they train franchisees, especially if they are not stylists.

[38:27] What apps do you use? Are they for the owners, stylists, or both?

[40:09] He shares that all salons have a POS system with the ability to keep track of all transactions.

[42:46] Denis that the total yearly sales in his salons are approximately 90 million dollars and his goal is to have is retail products “Justice” be 20% of that total.

[43:25] He encourages his franchisees to embrace local charities; he describes some of the charities they support.

[45:45] Denis chats about some of his stylists that have saved a client’s life because they noticed issues on their scalps.

[46:42] Denis, what drives you? What keeps you going? What challenges do you face?

[48:01] He shares about the Olympic games and how many athletes his stylists gave free haircuts too because another company pulled out at the last moment.

[50:27] What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned while growing your business? What advice would you give new business owners?

[52:22] Denis discusses how he retains his 3500 stylists and how they recruit.

[56:29] There are no appointments, and you can’t request a particular stylist at Just Cuts.

[57:15] Denis, thank you so much for being on the show today!

Find Denis

Denis McFadden

LinkedIn | Facebook

Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to Denis for sharing his story with me for this week’s episode. Until next time!