Canada's No. 1 Beauty Superstore

The ultimate shopping experience - with ambient music, hundreds of exclusive beauty brands, tester bars and full-service salon - is heading for the UK

Combining high-end, internationally-known branded product lines with an affordable superstore concept has seen retailer Glamour Secrets become the largest professional retailer of its kind in its home country of Canada. With 66 stores opened since is was launched as Trade Secrets in 1989, the company has expanded across Canada and is starting to expand in the USA, with growing demand for its premium beauty brands and services - traditionally only available to consumers through salons.

"Glamour Secrets has filled a market niche for leading brands at reduced prices," reports Doug Warren, Director of Franchising. "We have seven multiple store owners, which is a good indication of our success, and have ventured into diverse locations including shopping centres, financial concourses and outdoor big box retail centers."

According to Warren, looking good is an international industry and Glamour Secrets is aiming to establish a presence in 25 countries worldwide within 10 years. Among these target markets are the USA, Ireland, France, Italy, Eastern Europe, Singapore, South East Asia, the Middle East, South America and the UK, where Glamour Secrets is looking for an executive entrepreneur or organisation with significant business experience to take on its Master Franchise.

Candidates do not need specific experience in the beauty industry, but should have a good understanding of how retail works and will need to establish at least one corporate store with a view to sub-franchising.

Former salon owner Joe Belotti founded Glamour Secrets having discovered that what generated the greatest returns was not cutting hair but selling associated beauty products. The result is a one-stop beauty superstore that combines a wide selection of beauty products with the complement of a full-service salon. "We attract people who are willing to spoil themselves with better products," Warren relates. "It's a high repeat business - once a customer tries Sebastian or Redken, they never go back to the supermarket for their beauty products. This is a very underdeveloped niche. These professional high quality slaon products are only sold in salons and specialised beauty retailers like Glamour Secrets."

The key to Glamour Secrets' international success is replicating the total shopping experience in every market, from the stylish shop frontage right through to the ambient Latin music. Each store also features 'try before you buy' tester bars, stock between 4,000 and 5,000 different items including hair dryers and curling irons as well as cosmetics, and are staffed by licensed cosmetologists. Glamour Secrets carries professional, high-end, internationally known brands from companies such as Redken, Rusk, Bedhead, OPI and Abba. Many stores have small salons, where both men and women can indulge in over 40 services including nails, aesthetics, skin care and hairstyling.

An average store is between 1,000sqft and 1,200sqft situated in high-traffic, high-end convenient locations. "We are very choosy about location and have stores next to some of the best retailers in the world," explains Warren. "Our store volumes are very high and margins are very good.

"No other company is offering the same as Glamour Secrets - a proven turnkey franchise system that offers the opportunity to develop your own chain of one-stop beauty stores. Franchise owners will have the advantage of years of proven success systems such as site selection, design and construction, merchandising, customer service, accounting, national advertising, ongoing training and support, and brand recognition that grows daily.

"We will train the Master Franchise Owner for four weeks in Toronto on all aspects of the role, from selling franchises, to support compliance, store construction, inventory and warehouse management, and will provide ongoing support and products from North America."

Warren describes the Glamour Secrets Master Franchise as a "Starbucks-type" opportunity in that it offers the chance to get in on the ground floor with a speciality niche brand. He continues: "We're offering the opportunity for franchise owners to take full advantage of over 20 years of pioneering a success story in the beauty product retail industry, and turn it into a lucrative business of their own."

Reported by Stuart Anderson