STRAIGHT TALK: THE BUSINESS OF BEAUTY
Written on the 11 February 2016 by Karen Rickert
BLENDING business with beauty, Francesca Webster has put her best face forward after being named Franchise Woman of the Year.
The Brazilian Beauty founder was recognised this week at the QLD/NT Excellence in Franchising Awards, which acknowledge the contribution franchises make to the local community.
Webster says the award win confirmed the proudly female-focused company's roadmap to growth was on the right track.
"My personal philosophy and our philosophy at Brazilian Beauty centres around empowering women to be the best that they can be and also empowering women to own their own style of beautiful," Webster says.
"Winning this award is about all the amazing women that we have within the Brazilian Beauty brand."
Established in 2004, the beauty salon franchise launched an aggressive expansion strategy across Australia with 21 locations 18 of which are in Brisbane.
Webster is looking to add more interstate salons to her portfolio, with another two salons set to open in Melbourne and Sydney this year.
She shares her insight with Business News Australia about helping other women to achieve their entrepreneurial goals in the beauty industry.
What are three leadership qualities you identify with and how have they contributed to your success?
Firm: I think it's a prerequisite that any leader projects and shares a clear and firm vision of the business' purposes and values and stays true to these values day-to-day in every touch point of the business.
Fair in their thought process and decision making, having the ability to look at situations from the customer's, the team member's and the franchisee's perspective and not being clouded by personalities or personal agendas.
Fun: I love to laugh and have fun at work and I want all team members to come to work every day and have fun, feel empowered and want to bring their best to the brand daily.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the beauty industry?
Training and educating our team to be the best that can be. Because of the 'closed door' nature of beauty therapy, the average beauty therapist leaves college and participates in little or no personal development or training, except maybe external courses from product suppliers. One of our biggest challenges was ensuring consistent treatments across all Brazilian beauty salons. We've done this by training each and every new team member that joins the brand at our head office for a six-day period and via paid two-hour weekly training session in salon, weekly one-on-ones, regular therapist salon health checks from the head office team and mystery shopper reports. It's taken years of refinement and resources. It's all about the systems and process that have been put in place to support both our team members' personal development and our client experience.
Overcoming price wars with competitors who in most cases are substandard and offer ridiculously low prices in laser/IPL treatment categories. This type of technology is expensive to implement and takes multiple resources to ensure client safety and consistency via the extensive training and development of team members. Ultimately with many other brands it's the client that loses out.
Raising funding for incoming franchisees to embark on their business journey. Many of our potential franchisees are young entrepreneurial women who simply cannot raise the funding to own a Brazilian Beauty even though they would be fabulous business owners. This topic is on my radar for 2016-17.
What do you regard as the highlight of your career?
I have highlights every day. It has to be seeing our team and franchisees blossoming into amazingly talented individuals within their chosen area of the brand. There's nothing more satisfying than having the ability to empower someone to reach their full potential both within and externally to the brand, as I believe the confidence that can be gained from success in work also plays out in the rest of your life. I'm proud of this.
What have been some of your influences in business?
There are so many. I'm always keen to listen and learn for other people's stories and journeys and, if someone extends a helping hand, I grab it. Tom Potter, Sheryl Sandberg, Vanessa Garrard (E3Style) Desley Grundy (Ernst & Young), Leah Weeks (CBA) tare among them. I'm very fortunate to be Brisbane-based and to be surrounded with such a sharing business community. There are so many intelligent and supportive people who are always willing to give help, support and mentoring.
What opportunities do you see in the future of Brazilian Beauty?
Brazilian Beauty now has a rock solid foundation with 21 locations across Australia, great systems and processes in place. The opportunity is centred on making Brazilian Beauty accessible to customers across Australia via the franchise model.
The beauty industry is always changing and there are lots of innovation in the pipeline, including new technology-based treatment categories for slimming and weight management, stem-cell integration into skin care lines and the new generation of cosmetic tattooing applications.
What do you love most about Brisbane?
The people and the diversity. The lifestyle, the warm balmy evenings, the accessibility to beaches. Running and jogging around the city a 5am when the river is calm and there are little or no people around. The spectacular views as I run through the beautiful lush botanical gardens, along Eagle Street Pier (seeing people still milling around from the night before) and over the spectacular Story Bridge. Just breathtaking.