When a brand emerges as an industry leader, it must create its own strategies to complement its unique business model. For Amazing Lash Studio, the leading provider of high-quality, semi-permanent eyelash extensions, finding the best real estate site for a new location is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
J.D. Prager, Senior Director of Real Estate for WellBiz Brands, Inc. the portfolio manager of the Amazing Lash Studio® brand, said that his team prioritizes strategically positioning studios within submarkets based on careful analysis. “It’s most important for us to be in the correct trade area based on a variety of factors,” he explained. “We look at positioning in relation to surrounding businesses, colleges and other drivers for our core consumer base. We pay attention to that first—if not both first and last.”
Some high-traffic retail locations are easy to identify, like large lifestyle centers lined up with high-end brands, plenty of casual and fine dining options and entertainment like movie theaters. “Sometimes those ‘A+’ centers are ideal, but they’re not the only good retail out there for Amazing Lash Studio,” said Prager. “We prioritize finding that balance of occupancy costs, availability of space and market positioning, regardless of the type of retail center.”
The brand’s real estate team looks at trade areas with existing businesses offering services subsequently attractive to Amazing Lash Studio clients, such as massage parlors, waxing salons and boutique fitness studios. “We see a lot of overlap with those consumers, and they’re not always in your big retail power centers,” said Prager. “In fact, those businesses are usually closer to daily-use and daily-needs centers that are often just down the road or across the street.”
These daily-needs centers are often high-traffic and highly convenient for Amazing Lash Studio customers who receive lash fill-in services every two to three weeks. “As creatures of habit, people tend to go to the same places over and over again—our gym, our hair salon, our dry cleaner, our grocery store,” explained Prager. “Our franchisees may want to be next to the neighborhood Starbucks. We may want to be near what a resident considers ‘their’ Whole Foods or ‘their’ Target. If we can position ourselves so that not only are we easily accessible, but we are convenient to someone’s regular routine, that’s where we want to go.”
When a franchisee begins the site selection process, Amazing Lash Studio’s support team takes a hands-on, funneled approach. “We start at a macro-market level, then look at submarkets such as neighborhoods. Once we identify a submarket with a good household and population count, we research consumer makeup,” explained Prager.
The brand takes a deep dive into psychographic information to analyze segments based on customer demographics such as age, marital status, dependents, spending habits and income levels.
“Folks ages 25 to 29 may not have a super high income or high net worth, but they’re spending money on health, wellness, beauty and retail apparel,” said Prager. “On the other end of the spectrum, someone who is 55, divorced and has a high net worth is also someone we want to identify. Sometimes these two segments are found in the same trade areas, and sometimes they’re found in the surrounding geography of the trade area but in different neighborhoods.”
Not only does this unique approach to real estate benefit the consumer with convenience, but it also creates a pivotal opportunity for Amazing Lash Studio franchisees. “Ultimately, we want to put franchisees in a position to generate revenue,” said Prager. “With our smaller square-footage requirements and individual rooms model, we are uniquely positioned to be able to move into a smaller space in a high-end mall, or look at trade centers that will capitalize on the same traffic and frequency as a big regional power center, but be somewhere without the expensive retailers that drive the cost up. It’s a balancing act.”
Through this approach, Amazing Lash Studio remains open-minded to meet the specific needs of a community and client base. With consumer habits varying across different parts of this large and diverse country, this flexibility is a key differentiator for the brand.
“States like Kansas and Nebraska are great markets for retail, and they often have those particularly dominant centers that work best for the brand. Cities like Denver, Chicago and Dallas have a lot of varying submarkets and trade areas, and we’d rather be customers’ across-the-street neighbor,” said Prager. “As another example, in some markets, it’s extremely important to consumers to have parking right outside because they're used to it; in others, consumers don’t mind parking half a block away. We are flexible and nimble and enter a market with all these nuances in mind.”
With more than 200 locations open across 29 states, Amazing Lash Studio opened 43 studios last year and is set to open approximately 45 more in 2019. The investment range for an Amazing Lash Studio franchise is $224,659 to $482,528.
For more information on franchise opportunities, visit https://franchising.amazinglashstudio.com.