Tommy Guns Franchisee - Corine Sim


Date: JAN 6th, 2012

Topic: Spotlight on a Franchisee

The beauty industry is known for attracting passionate, creative individuals as well as entrepeneurs. Beauty is indeed big business. After pursuing degrees in education and psychology, Corine Sim enrolled in hairdressing and then joined the family business, which at the time included two salons name "Green Apple" in the Red Deer area. Shortly after this, Corine and her brother Jason were seeking a new lease and ended up purchasing a Chatters Salon. Corine worked as a stylist behind the chair for 8 years while also managing one of the family salons. From here, the rest is history. The Chatters network of salons has continued to grow exponentially. In 2009 Chatters Canada fostered the opening of a brand new concept: Tommy Gun's Original Barbershop. The birth of this new brand was to designed to fill the void that existed for men's grooming services.

"One of the biggest surprises since opening Tommy Gun's is to realize how much business we didn't have and that we had not fully tapped into this market. We know this to be true since our first location opened in a city where we already had 6 salons. Opening Tommy Gun's in this area did not affect these salons."

Sim states that the differences between Chatters Salon and TommyGun's Original Barbershop are many. It's still the beauty and hair car industry, but several business components are in fact quite different. This includes operations, marketing, hiring, wage structure, community partnerships and involvement as well. However, the core values of both companies are in perfect alignment, which is valuing staff and providing 5-star customer service.

What benefits are there for those considering buying a franchise versus opening their own independent, stand-alone business? Sim states that "when you combine the advantages of years of experience and knowledge, franchise owners are farther ahead as soon as they open their doors. The branding, the consumer following, overall awareness and quicker return on investment are all notable advantages. Not only that, in a franchise network, the educational benefits for staff are substantial compared to what may be available for small operators." And it's true, as a franchisee, you tap into the sense of "belonging" to a system, you're an independent operator yet with solid support for your business.

When asked if she had an opportunity to do something different, Sim said, "putting program infrastructure into place sooner, like franchisee expectations, staffing and dress codes. This has been an incredible journey developing the Chatters brand and then creating the Tommy Gun's concept. I've learned a great deal about people and through this process, learned what it is men want from a barbershop.

Corine describes the best advice for new business owners as follows: continually educate your staff and help them grow, treat them right by being their advocate and always see your staff as an integral part of growing your business. Chatters Salons and Tommy Gun's Original Barbershops employ some of the most successful hairstylists in the industry in Canada.