Q&A with Cannell

The franchise consultants Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby quiz Cannelle founder France Baudet on the company's new business concept

Gordon Patterson: As a French person, why did you launch a business in the UK?
France Baudet: I came to the UK in 1996 with limited grasp of good English, so instead of searching for a job I looked for a way to establish a business. I felt that the beauty sector in the UK needed something new and fresh and, after researching the market, I became convinced that bringing a good quality (qualité) French style to the sector would have excellent customer acceptance - hence the launch of Cannelle in Oxford in 1997.

Gary Rigby: What are the distinctive features of the Cannelle beauty business concept?
FB: All our staff are trained the French way. This means that our beauticians have thorough training on technique. Our service brings the French attention to detail which seeks to make everyone look their best.

We use and retail quality French brand products such as Decléor and Couleur and we use our own branded wax in our hot wax treatment, which is unique to the beauty sector in the UK.

GR: What has been the customer response to these unique treatments?
A: The positive response is evidenced by the very high levels of repeat and referral business enjoyed by Cannelle. Our customers keep telling us how wonderful and less painful our waxing treatments are.

GP: Are your customers all female?
A: We have developed a range of treatments targeting the male population and 10 per cent of our customers are male.

GP: How are you finding business in the current economic downturn?
A: In this climate we have maintained our very high standards. With our recognised value for money treatments, we are enjoying constant growth of our client base.

GR: When did you open your second salon in Henley and how is it trading?
A: We opened Henley in 2001 to be a showcase example of exactly how our salon should look and operate. Its sales turnover is steadily increasing.

GP: Why did you decide to franchise your business?
A: We identified that the UK market is ready for the Cannelle brand to be rolled out nationally.

GR: What kind of franchise package does Cannelle offer?
A: We provide a very comprehensive package which includes training, launch programme, effective marketing and all of the essentials that provide the best opportunity for the new franchise owner to enjoy a successful launch.

GP: You seem to be particularly good on promotional activity. What is your strategy?
FB: We capture all customers' email addresses and inform them of ongoing promotions. This generates good activity in our salon throughout the year.

GR: What kind of person are you looking to appoint as a franchise owner?
A: Essentially someone who has a good feel for the beauty sector, has a passion for good customer service, is a business builder in attitude, who is committed to following our proven system and able to relate well to people.

Q: What is the basis for the projected earnings opportunity for the franchise owner?
A: It is based on our historical trading performance in the Oxford salon where we have five treatment rooms. The specialised equipment used is financed on a leasing basis and is provided for in the operating costs. The franchise model is actually a hybrid of our Oxford and Henley on Thames salons. The corporate identity and treatment room size is based on our Henley salon, whilst the equipment used and the five treatment rooms is as can be seen in our Oxford salon.