With the help of his parents, Jason Volk became a salon owner at the age of 18. The early years taught him a lot about running a business, and also what worked well within the beauty industry. The diligence required in this beginning phase set the foundation for Jason’s development as a confident leader.
Jason Volk is now a recognized expert in the beauty industry. He is currently President of the International Salon/Spa Business Network, an organization that represents a global voice seeking to effect positive change in the professional beauty industry.
His personal philosophy includes creating shared success opportunities; where cutting-edge beauty professionals can enjoy a career that provides long lasting satisfaction, personal growth and financial reward.
A strong believer in family values and supporting charities, Volk supports and encourages his employees to follow suit and keep family and personal connections a top priority
BeTheBoss: What is the Tommy Gun’s franchise opportunity all about?
Jason Volk: The Tommy Gun’s franchise opportunity is about offering a key personal service to a very specific demographic. Within our barbershop we have reinvented the time honored tradition of a place where men and boys are comfortable to come for grooming services in a relaxed atmosphere.
BTB: Who is your ideal candidate for a franchise?
JV: An ideal franchisee is someone who is business savvy with strong team building skills, solid customer service experience and a competitive nature. Through our many years in the salon industry we have seen it proven that great franchisees possess very similar characteristics. The franchisees who have the best success rate – including everything from staff and customer retention to sales and services numbers come into the business with strong people skills. Creating a great work atmosphere takes application of leadership and motivation principles. Operationally, systems can be followed to result in general business success, but having and honing people skills is the greatest factor impacting overall success for Tommy Gun’s franchisees.
BTB: What type of training and support do you offer?
JV: At a corporate level we are owned by the same group that owns and operates Chatters Canada, the leading salon company in Canada. Franchisees receive in-depth support from the very best leaders in the hair industry in the country. Actual hands-on training consists of two in-depth weeks in a Tommy Gun’s training facility. Extensive, ongoing support and training is provided as needed. We believe preparedness is key to success.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Tommy Gun’s franchisee?
JV: The advantages are numerous but first and foremost is the application of tried and proven business principles that work best in a salon/barbershop operation. Over 25 years growing the Chatters concept has allowed us to continually innovate and improve. This knowledge has served us well as we develop a second brand. We have also invested substantially both in terms of our professional support infrastructure for franchisees and financially to hone our business model and operational logistics. We have a tested concept in many markets with a proven track record. We are purposefully first in the marketplace to capture the consumer demand and strategic with our locations to benefit from high-traffic areas.
BTB: Are you a member of any Associations?
JV: We are a member of the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA). We are also very directly involved with the International Salon Business Network and this is my third year of serving as President. This is an incredible strategy sharing organization that helps salons and spas companies grow into healthier, more profitable businesses and stronger brands.
BTB: Tell us a little about the men’s grooming industry?
JV: This niche industry is quickly growing in Canada as men take a closer look at their appearance and give themselves permission to enjoy more than the regular haircut. Facial detailing, hot towel shaves and facial waxing are some of the main services in high demand. As for the interest in grooming, it is known that more and more men are attributing certain aspects of business success with personal grooming, and therefore are seeking to put their best professional appearance forward.
BTB: How successful is your company today and what are your future growth plans?
JV:The Tommy Gun’s concept is already highly successful. In fact, this concept is showing more growth year over year than I have ever experienced in my 25+ years in business. We have 27 locations now with many more planned for the last half of this year. We are aiming for 33 locations by the end of 2014 and 55 by the end of 2015.
BTB: How would you describe the growth of the franchise to date?
JV:The Tommy Gun’s growth has been phenomenal. Our new store numbers are strong, yet we are cautious in regards to choosing the location and owners of our new and future locations.
BTB: What are you seeing in terms of trends in service growth?
JV: It’s very steady. Men are returning to the barbershop. It's growing monthly, driving guy back to the barbershop from the salons. The more awareness we have, the more guests we attract.
BTB: What has the various community responses been to your new locations?
JV: The response has been outstanding. People are enamored with the concept. They are thrilled when a location comes to their market. The boys like it which makes the families like it. It is very well received and that’s because it caters to men, and also has a family appeal.
BTB: Do you have a diverse range of franchisees?
JV: We are seeing several that have industry background, or experience in a franchise. All of them have a business background. Some come from a sales profession, some are hairdressers and some of them are hairdressers. There are a significant number of them who own more than one location. Some of them buy their first location with intention of owning more than one.
BTB: What are your franchisees saying about the business?
JV:Franchisee Rick Ball, who owns a Chatters Salon and a Tommy Gun’s location says that the concept was an immediate draw for him. It fits the male demographic perfectly and the cool atmosphere geared specifically to men has created a strong demand for services.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
JV: Avoid tunnel vision when it comes to choosing your franchise category. Give adequate consideration to new categories. Do your research on the Franchise itself, talk to existing franchisees to determine their satisfaction with the business concept.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Tommy Gun’s would be a great opportunity for someone?
JV: Men’s grooming is becoming one of the most talked about trends in the salon industry in Canada. This concept is in demand both from customers and entrepreneurs and has great indications of long-standing growth in the industry. Tommy Gun’s provides a remarkable business model that is meeting consumer demand. Tommy Gun’s is proving to be a great investment with strong returns and a proven track record.