Following the successful opening of three salons in five years, Brian ‘Leo’ McCallum shares some candid advice on business expansion
“When ROAR first opened its doors in 2017, I had a vision to create a space that offered more than just hair services. Fast forward two years, and the journey of business expansion began, resulting in a second and now third salon. I’m going to give an honest account of how ROAR managed its expansion, whilst staying true to the brand’s vision. We want to grow organically to the biggest salon group we can be!
Learning the business ropes
The journey began with a passion for hair but limited business knowledge. To give you some background on ROAR and where it all began, I was a hairdresser and didn’t have a huge understanding of business. I enrolled myself in some courses with the Princes Trust and learned so much via this.
I learned all things business and upon completing the course, we were given the chance to present to them for a loan to start the business you had planned for. I was lucky enough to be granted this and received a loan of £8,000. That’s what I started ROAR with. Opportunities like this are priceless and I would encourage you to explore alternative avenues as well as going to talk to your bank.
The decision to grow
After around eighteen months of operating the first salon, the demand exceeded capacity. Facing a choice between expanding sooner than planned or turning clients away, the decision was clear: open a second salon. Location was crucial, and my familiarity with the Southside of Glasgow guided the choice. Keeping the new salon nearby allowed for maintaining a personal connection with clients, a philosophy at the core of ROAR’s success.
Building the right team
Expanding to multiple locations meant giving up control over every detail. Trusting the team became so important. I learned that surrounding myself with reliable and skilled individuals was non-negotiable. The importance of a strong team extended beyond the salon floor; having a supportive personal network was equally important during the expansion.
Building an exceptional team was attributed to respecting and treating individuals the way the founder would want to be treated. A guiding principle emerged: always ask, ‘how would I feel as a stylist working here?’ This perspective fostered a positive relationship with every team member, forming the backbone of ROAR’s success.
Designing a unique experience
ROAR’s objective was clear: to create comfortable, intimate spaces with a colour-focused theme. We want to create a relaxing environment that is naturally comfortable. A distinct colour bar took centre stage, allowing the salon to deliver a specialised service. Removing the front desk contributed to a warm and personalised ambiance, creating interaction among clients and staff. My main tip would be to remember to enjoy looking after your guests on the salon floor. Our mission is simple, to make each and every one of our guests look and feel fantastic!
Promotions and engagement
Promoting the new salon involved a strategic blend of social media, newsletters, and collaboration with PR partners. Professional imagery showcased the sleek interiors and communicated the brand’s essence. Hosting a showcase event allowed clients to explore the new space, creating a memorable experience and introducing new products.
In an industry where creativity meets entrepreneurship, ROAR’s expansion journey showcases the importance of learning, adapting, and embracing challenges. With a commitment to my guests and an unwavering passion for hair, ROAR continues to grow organically, leaving its vibrant mark in the world of hairdressing.”