Dessange International: Manage the growth of a premier beauty brand

Dessange International, founded in Paris in the 1950s, has revolutionised and modernised the world of hairdressing with its total beauty care concept. A world leader with 1,000 salons in 45 countries, the company is seeking visionary partners to expand the brand into the UK and Ireland as Master Franchisees. Rachel Spaul reports


This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter a market sector that's worth over £6.5 billion*, at the helm of the world's number one premier hairdressing brand. Described as 'the Harrods of hairdressing and beauty salons', this is a major business with an excellent pedigree.

Every day more than 50,000 men and women visit one of 1,000 Dessange, Camille Albane or Frédéric Moréno salons worldwide, which make up the Dessange International network. These luxury brands offer customers a unique haven dedicated to beauty and relaxation.

In the first instance, Dessange International is looking for suitable partners to establish its main brand, Dessange, in the UK and Ireland. Successful candidates may be highly skilled beauty professionals, or entrepreneurs with impressive business portfolios, able to establish a flagship salon and training facility before expanding the brand via company-owned and/or sub-franchised outlets. The Master Franchisee will gain access to over 50 years of experience and know-how, a substantial research & development and logistics division, and worldwide training facilities.


Dessange International's Founder and Chairman Jacques Dessange is a forward-thinking Frenchman, whose passion, pioneering spirit and insistence on quality remain the cornerstones of the brand's continued development. His revolutionary approach to hairdressing and his hairstyling demonstration shows - 'Prestige and Creation' - continue to inspire and inform hairdressers working today.

Under his leadership Dessange International, created in 1954, has become a real success story. In 1975 Jacques Dessange began development of the first network of franchised hairdressing salons in France. Driven by his pioneering spirit and supported by a team of loyal managers, Dessange International was the first to develop salons outside of France (1962), develop a skills development centre (1979), launch a range of care and make-up products (1990), and distribute a designer brand of hair care products in hypermarkets (1992).

The brand has gained consistent exposure through its long association with show business as an Official Partner of the Cannes Film Festival, the Official Hair Stylist of the Deauville Festival, the international tennis tournament at Roland Garros, and the Paris Masters Bercy.


Dessange International has created an all-embracing approach to beauty salon franchising based on the philosophy that 'beauty is not something that can be dealt with piecemeal, but must be considered as a whole, as a harmony between hairstyle, colour, make-up and skincare.' Central to this concept are three complementary brands:

Dessange is a luxury brand focused on quality and creativity and represents two per cent of the total styling market. Dessange salons are large centres of beauty located in town centres, sometimes associated with beauty institutes. They provide luxurious and customised services to discerning, sophisticated women, sell face and body care products and make-up under the brand name Dessange Beauté and the Phytodess and Natural Pigma hair care products.

Dessange has worked for many years in partnership with L'Oréal, which supplies its professional/technical products. Lascad, a L'Oréal subsidiary, exploits the licence for 'Jacques Dessange Compétence Professionnelle' hair care products sold in hypermarkets.

Camille Albane is a hairstyling, colouring and make-up brand in the mid to top end of the market and represents three per cent of the total market. The image, identity and price positioning are all designed to target 'women of expression' who demand quality.

The Frédéric Moréno Coiffure Company was acquired in May 2002 and has allowed Dessange International to significantly increase its market share in a segment in which it was previously absent: the mid-range market. Frédéric Moréno salons represent three per cent of the market and are designed to build local customer loyalty through an attractive pricing policy and made-to-measure services provided in a comfortable atmosphere.

For the last 13 years, Dessange International has designed and distributed care products for the hair, face and body as well as make-up ranges. It also distributes collections of beauty accessories such as glasses, handbags, scarves and jewellery in its salons. In 1998 Jacques Dessange created an internal products division, Dessange Paris, and over the years has made considerable investment in its development. In 2003 Dba SA : Division Beauté Accessoires was created to design, manufacture and distribute the hair and care product ranges to the franchise network.


Dessange International has its own structure dedicated to international development, and managed by Bernard Sagon.

Dessange International is pursuing an aggressive international expansion plan via Master Franchising and the extension of the Camille Albane and Frédéric Moréno brands, with the aim of becoming a major world player. Dessange International is present in 45 countries, with international sales representing 45 per cent of turnover.

The Swiss Master Franchisee Franco Fontana previously managed a number of salons as a franchisee before investing in the Master Franchise in 2002. He currently operates 22 Dessange, six Camille Albane and 10 Frédéric Moréno sub-franchised and company-owned salons.

He says: 'Dessange is both a prestigious and upmarket brand of hair salons. The advantages of this business reflect the qualities that distinguish the group from other brands: we are an international hair care and aesthetics group that boasts three complementary brands with a wide range of products and the training commitment to back that up.

'Dessange allows for professional development through its nine training centres around the world, where trained hairdressers can join the Dessange group and be trained in the techniques used by each of the brands, and over subsequent years, can perfect their artistic, technical and creative skills.'

Enrico Bregolin, the Italian Master Franchisee, previously worked for the Maletti Group. He has 120 franchises under Dessange and Camille Albane and is aiming to launch Frédéric Moréno into the market in the future.

'Each distinct brand can rely on the accumulative expertise of the Dessange group,' Enrico explains. 'This knowledge base means that there is the technical support you need to get new staff trained and up to speed in a minimum of time but ensuring maximum quality. This is essential to the salon's profitability. This means we've got rid of the traditional approach so typical of most Italian hair salons where the individual hair salon operator sets the terms and does not operate as part of a larger entity. In brief, the Dessange group offers its brands strong management support as well as know-how in marketing, brand and salon image.'

The management and development of Dessange International is now under the responsibility of Benjamin Dessange, Jacques Dessange's son. Dessange International will work in very close partnership with its UK and Ireland partners to set up a flagship salon, recruit a training director and set up the training centre, and to facilitate the distribution of hair treatment and care products to the salons themselves.