The South African man is a man’s man. He’s a meat-eater, he’s a tackler, and salons are where girls and guys who wear pink golf shirts go, not him. But he’s also starting to relax a little with his macho image. He’s prepared to use skin care products, but only if it’s in a manly bottle, with a manly scent, and says “for men” on the bottle.
This is the beginning of an emerging gap in the market that’s already well-established in the States: A salon for men. Get your foot in this door and you could be looking at being the master of a franchise empire like Gordon Logan’s.
Making man feel at home
Sport Clips Inc. is a hair-care company that spans 41 states and is due to open its 1000th store before the close of 2012. What makes this franchise unique is who it caters for: Men. Each salon is designed with features reminiscent of a sports bar or a locker room. There’s large flat-screens tuned to sports channels, and sports memorabilia around the shop, and is designed to make men think “this is my kind of place.”
Logan launched the company in 1993 and began franchising in 1995. Even with the recession, none of the 930 stores have closed and retail sales hit $250 million.
While the market is reaching saturation point in the US, it’s an emerging market on South African soil. Flash back to the early 1990s after evaluating the industry trends, Logan discovered that the traditional barber shop was fading away, leaving men with the option of family oriented hair-cutters, beauty salons or unisex salons. Logan and his wife felt that if they developed a space where men could feel comfortable, that there was a golden niche market waiting to be mined.
“We realised that men and boys don’t really look forward to getting their hair cut, so we decided to place a lot of emphasis on a great experience, which includes ambiance and stylists trained in techniques for male haircuts.”