There is a new franchise on the block that seems to have taken the business world by the roots, literally, and it is apparently painless. Unfazed by trendy competitors busy feeding appetites with healthy sandwiches and frozen yogurts, this “smooth operator” franchise offers pain-free hair removal at prices that won’t make you wince either. According to the latest list of Top New Franchises of 2012, this Spanish-based franchise No Mas Vello (or No More Hair), is one to watch as it now has more than 1,000 centers worldwide and growing fast.
According to the company website, the key to their model success lies on service democratization, ie. to make hair removal accessible to everyone. For the long-suffering who wage daily unwinnable battles with unwanted body hair, the offer of “painless” hair removal for as low as USD49 must surely bring tears of relief. Using a technology called Intense Pulse Light (IPL), No Mas Vello is pulling in profits by the pores, pun intended. Claimed to be a safe depilation method that uses light to transmit heat to the hair root to remove the hair follicle, IPL has added benefits of removing blemishes or ingrown hairs caused by frequent waxing.
This new franchise seems to have caught on in Europe, Latin America and the United States, presumably where the most hair-challenged reside, and is sprouting like stubborn stubble all around the globe. It won’t be long before we see one in Malaysia, judging from the body waxing services already offered by spas and beauty centres in the country. Trend-conscious Malaysians are surely as caught up with the no-body-hair movement as passionately as they have embraced the global franchising business. Any visit to the local shopping malls will be met with some of the world’s top franchises that often jostle against locally spawned businesses that are gaining brand recognition.
Interestingly, the National Franchise Development Blueprint (NFDB). spanning 2012 to 2016, has identified new franchise sectors such as electrical and electronics, education, medical tourism, ecotourism, green products and services, service oriented products and services, as well as shariah compliant products and services. This is in addition to mainstays such as food and beverage, clothing and accessories, as well as health and beauty. To date, there are 586 franchises registered to sell their franchise in Malaysia, of which 69 percent are home-grown brands. Notably missing is, for now, No Mas Vello’s pain-free hair removal!
Inspired young entrepreneurs (or even oldies for that matter) keen on embarking into the franchise business would need knowledge on franchise law and to find a support group such as the Malaysian Franchise Associaion (MFA). A good place to start scouting for opportunities is the upcoming Franchise International Malaysia Exhibition 2012 (FIM2012), the largest in Southeast Asia sanctioned by the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives & Consumerism and MFA. Learning from the experience of others would also be a good strategy as not all franchise business ventures have succeeded.
According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), a franchise is the agreement or license between two legally independent parties which gives a person or group of people (franchisee) the right to market a product or service using the trademark or trade name of another business (franchisor). The franchisee gains the right to market a product or service using the operating methods of the franchisor with the obligation to pay the franchisor fees for these rights. The franchisor is also under obligation to provide rights and support to franchisees.
For new entrepreneurs, owning a franchise can be attractive as they get a viable business model that provides some degree of hand holding. This means you own a business “for yourself, but not by yourself” with a certain level of independence where you can operate the business. It helps that a franchise provides an established product or service which may already enjoy widespread brand-name recognition, giving a newbie the benefits of a pre-sold customer base and increased chances of business success. A franchises offers pre-opening support in site selection, design and construction, financing, training and grand-opening program as well as ongoing support such as national and regional advertising and other operating and management support.
On the other hand, the disadvantages include dependency on franchisor procedures and restrictions on products or services offered, pricing and geographic territory, among others. On top of that, in addition to the initial franchise fee, franchisees must pay ongoing royalties and advertising fees. Those more independent minded may find the restrictions imposed may conflict with personal business style and that any damage to the franchisor brand will impact on business. The franchisee should also be aware that the duration) of a franchise agreement is usually limited and the franchisee may have little or no say about the terms of a termination.
Despite all that, a recent article in the Washington Post says the franchise industry is thriving, according to the Franchise Business Index published by the IFA. Partnered with IHS Global Insight, the IFA index evaluates the changing economic environment for franchise businesses. With some 300 lines of businesses supporting nearly 18 million jobs, 825,000 establishments and providing for over $2.1 trillion in economic output, the franchise industry greatly impacts the US economy. For No Mas Vello, after opening the first franchise in New York in August 2011, the outlook for 2012 is more growth. A glance at this table can give an idea of just how much the painless hair removal franchise can cost.