Cartoon Cuts Franchise Interview

Cartoon Cuts Franchise Opportunity

Cartoon Cuts Franchise Opportunity

Franchise Interviews Meet with Cartoon Cuts

Franchise Interviews Meets with the Cartoon Cuts Franchise Opportunity

Cartoon Cuts Franchise

Cartoon Cuts Meets with Franchise Interviews

Franchise Interviews- What were you doing before becoming a Cartoon Cuts franchisee?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- I spent 14 years working in various sales, marketing, and customer support roles in the telecommunications industry. My last position was as Director of Marketing for Alcatel, where I supported several very large key accounts, including Verizon and Sprint. My business unit was responsible for selling Optical Transmission Products for North America.

Franchise Interviews- It must have been a huge change going from Corporate America to owning your own Cartoon Cuts franchise.

Al from Cartoon Cuts- Yes, I went from high-tech to hair. It has been a dramatic change for me. The telecommunications industry has been going through a real downturn in the last 5-7 years. Alcatel was downsizing, and many changes were going on in the industry. I was not very happy the last year I was there and saw this as an excellent opportunity to get out and try something new. After I departed from Alcatel, I spent the first six months looking for something I wanted to do when I discovered Cartoon Cuts.

Franchise Interviews- Have you always wanted to own a business?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- I always dreamed about being my own boss but never had the opportunity or was afraid to venture out alone. The changes at Alcatel brought clarity to what I needed to do. I spent most of my career creating success and making money for someone else, and it was time to try to do the same for myself. As a small business owner, you are the key decision maker and wear many hats. I was up for the challenge and believed I had the skills to succeed. It's a different environment than Corporate America.

Franchise Interviews- How long have you been with Cartoon Cuts?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- We have been open for over 19 months. Before opening, I spent several months creating a business and marketing plan to make sure I understood what needed to be done. Moreover, I had to secure funding, identify the appropriate site, negotiate a lease, hire the right people, etc. The support I received from Cartoon Cuts - especially Jorge Salvat, the President and CEO was terrific. Jorge and his staff were with me every step of the way.

Franchise Interviews- How has your life changed since becoming a Cartoon Cuts franchisee?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- It's changed in numerous ways. I don't have a typical 9 to 5 job anymore. As you grow a business, your time and energy are focused on the company's success - you have to work hard and smart, which typically means more time and stress. Moreover, I am the one guy in charge of everything now. The ultimate responsibility for every decision resides with me. It's a challenge and not for everyone.

Franchise Interviews- Do you wear many hats now?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- I could delegate tasks to other departments like human resources or accounting in my previous life, but now it's up to me to do everything. You need to have strong time management skills to deal with everything. It would help if you also had much perseverance. The only thing I have not done is cut hair.

Franchise Interviews- That's an interesting comment. Time management and perseverance are common traits of successful entrepreneurs.

Al from Cartoon Cuts, you have to be able to manage your time well. One suggestion for someone just starting their own business would be learning to say "No." This advice will save you much grief. Sometimes, if you let someone get their foot in the door, getting them to take their foot out is hard. The first six months were the toughest regarding perseverance because it was a new industry for me. The 12-month mark was a cause for celebration. After that, we focused on growth and streamlining costs and processes.

Franchise Interviews- Your sales and marketing background helped contribute to your success.

Al from Cartoon Cuts- Definitely. The time I spent working in customer service, sales, and marketing gave me the strong business acumen to launch Cartoon Cuts. It gave me the solid foundation I needed to operate the business daily and allowed me the strategic vision I needed to grow the business.

Franchise Interviews- What other characteristics do you think make for a successful entrepreneur?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- You must have their support and understanding if you have a family. That is key. If you don't have patience, then you need to learn patience. It would help if you had faith that the next day or month would be better. It would help if you also had wisdom, solid time management, and organizational abilities. But first and foremost, you need the passion to succeed. It is the passion that will get you out of bed every morning and provide you the strength to deal with the ups and downs of your business.

Franchise Interviews- What do you like best about being your own boss?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- I didn't have much flexibility in the first six to twelve months. Now, it's getting to the point where I have more flexibility with my schedule. I also enjoy making changes as I see fit without the enormous company bureaucracy.

Franchise Interviews- Out of all the franchise opportunities available, why did you choose Cartoon Cuts?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- I did much research before I chose Cartoon Cuts. I looked at many other hair care franchise systems. What I liked most about Cartoon Cuts is the fun and unique nature of the concept. They deal with kids primarily. Kid's haircutting is a niche market. The Frisco area, where my salon is based, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Cartoon Cuts looks for areas with approximately 10,000 kids in a 5-mile radius. We chose our location in the Stonebriar Mall in Frisco because the demographics were off the charts. The hair business could be construed as recession-proof because you must get your hair cut every five to six weeks. You are getting these customers from when they are infants until they are 12 or older.

We also cut adult hair. The other thing that appealed to me was that Cartoon Cuts has 21 company stores on the East Coast and is considered the innovator of kids' haircut experience. They hadn't franchised in the United States but had two franchise stores in Puerto Rico. Many other franchise systems had very rigid operating requirements when I looked at them. Many franchise systems tell you precisely what will be done and how you will do it. Cartoon Cuts welcomed me into their family and allowed me the flexibility to make changes from store design and marketing to everyday operations.



Franchise Interviews- That's interesting. You mentioned earlier that you don't get flexibility with some of the bigger franchise systems. There is no flexibility with big systems.

Al from Cartoon Cuts- Cartoon Cuts is in its infancy in franchising, but they proved they could operate their corporate stores. Many franchise systems start with one or two stores and immediately go into franchising. Cartoon Cuts decided after 13 years of operation to start franchising.

Franchise Interviews- Cartoon Cuts certainly has a long track record. Going back to something you said earlier, Al, the market for kids is huge, and it makes sense to offer services to parents as well.

Al from Cartoon Cuts- We make it convenient for the child and the parent. We don't want to lose track of our primary business - our niche is kids, but all our stylists are licensed cosmetologists. Before working for Cartoon Cuts, they all worked in full-service or traditional haircutting salons catering to adults and children.

Franchise Interviews- How would you describe the Cartoon Cuts system?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- We focus on children 12 and under. Three-quarters of our stores are in malls, and the rest are in strip centers. Our stores differ from traditional salons because our design concept is bright, colorful, and geared toward kids. We have TVs and video games at every hair station. We have a video distribution system playing the latest cartoons and movies for the kids while they are waiting or being serviced.

Our signature item is our "Elephant Trunk Wash." We learned early on that shampooing a child's hair in the traditional manner with a chair and sink was not a fun experience for our little clients. Our concept allows the child to lie on a comfortable bed while the elephant's trunk is used to wash the child's hair. We also offer our clients a "Guest Paging System" if there is a wait to be serviced. Our customers are given a pager and allowed to venture into the mall. When their stylist is ready, we page them to return to the salon. We value our clients' time, and our paging system allows them to do other things with it than waiting in our salon. This opportunity is a unique offering.

Franchise Interviews- You have an elephant mascot named "Ellie."

Al from Cartoon Cuts- We didn't have a mascot before I came on. I did some research for the company, and we found a firm that designed our mascot. The mascot is an incredible marketing tool, and it's also good for branding the Cartoon Cuts name.

Franchise Interviews- How has the response to Cartoon Cuts in your area been so far?

Al from Cartoon Cuts- It's been very well received. We opened November

of 2003, and almost one year later, the readers of DallasChild Magazine voted us the "Best Kid's Hair Salon" in Dallas. The Mall also has monthly retailer awards for the Top 10 retailers based on sales, customer service, and participation in mall programs. We have been selected as a top 10 retailer five times since we opened (There are over 165 retailers in this mall). We have also won awards based solely on our customer service.