By Peter Saunders
On December 3, 2012, the first Taylor and Colt ‘barber spa’ franchise opened in downtown Toronto. This new concept was developed by the same franchisor behind Trade Secrets, a well-established chain of beauty stores. This time, the targeted customer base is all-male and there is a much greater emphasis on services than on products.
“We realized there was a huge hole in the market,” says Doug Warren, director of franchising for both brands. “A lot of men today are tired of horrible haircut experiences and are looking for a more upscale experience.”
Taylor and Colt will offer not only the haircuts, shaves and hot towel service of a traditional barbershop, but also styling and esthetical services, such as laser skin care and eyebrow waxing, with a full-time esthetician on staff.
This concept was heavily informed by the brand’s first franchisee, Mohib Amanzai, who already operates three Trade Secrets stores within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
“After looking for waxing services in Canada for men, as you find in other countries like Germany, I spoke to the franchisor team,” he says. “They were thinking about barbershops, so we combined the two ideas.”
The name is intended to reflect this combination.
“We wanted something both urban and western,” says Warren. “It’s a ‘guy’ name to go with the décor. We want to appeal to men across the whole country.”
The first franchise joins the bustling retail concourse in Royal Bank Plaza, near a high-end men’s clothing store. The concourse connects office workers with public transit and other downtown amenities.
“We know there’s going to be huge demand, with all of the businessmen going past our door,” says Amanzai.
“We wanted a convenient, high-traffic area for white-collar professionals,” says Warren. “It’s also a relatively small location, to help test the concept while building brand exposure. We would like to open four more locations in the GTA before the end of 2013 and then our goal is to go national.”