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How WellBiz Brands Inc. Created Some of the Most Well-Positioned Brands in the Biz

CEO Jeremy Morgan spoke with 1851 Franchise to tell us about the company’s record-breaking year and discuss his predictions for the future of the health-and-beauty segment.

WellBiz Brands Inc., the preeminent beauty and wellness company, is making serious waves in the franchising industry. In 2021 WellBiz Brands saw $500 million in systemwide sales, reached close to 900 locations and 250,000 members, and added two new acquisitions to its portfolio — making it a year of tremendous growth for the company. Now, with a portfolio featuring category leaders Drybar, Amazing Lash, Elements Massage, Radiant Waxing™,  and Fitness Together®, WellBiz Brands is well-positioned to dominate the franchise industry and enjoy another banner year in 2022.

1851 Franchise spoke with WellBiz Brands CEO Jeremy Morgan to learn more about the company’s growing portfolio of brands, gather his insights on the beauty industry and hear his plans for the future.

Big News from the Last Year

In 2021 the brands managed by WellBiz Brands signed over 100 new franchise agreements, expanding its category-leading concepts in major markets as well as expanding to new communities around the country. In addition, the company further solidified its place as the leading curator of beauty and wellness brands by adding two new concepts to its portfolio.

“The growth and scale we’ve seen in 2021 has created a record-breaking year overall,” said Morgan. “And a big part of that was acquiring the franchise rights for two new brands, growing our portfolio from three brands to five.”

The company added leading blow dry bar salon Drybar and the company’s first waxing studio Radiant Waxing to its portfolio. Within months of acquiring the franchise rights for Drybar, the leading blow dry bar salon, WellBiz Brands signed a franchise agreement with Harrods, which opened the brand’s first international Drybar location in its flagship store in Knightsbridge, London, England. 

“This year, these iconic brands will work together to open up Drybar shops in Edinburgh, Scotland and multiple H beauty stores,” said Morgan. “We are excited for the incredible growth we are positioned to have, both with top-line revenue among existing locations and with new franchise sales.”

Additionally, Morgan says the growing portfolio of brands means franchisees have the opportunity to invest in multiple concepts and open several locations in one market, leveraging the same network, resources and systems to expand their business.

Why the Health-and-Beauty Segment is Poised for Growth

As trends continue to point to the resiliency of personal services — which was evident in WellBiz Brands’ double-digit sales growth compared to 2019 — the health-and-beauty segment is primed for significant growth in years to come. According to a recent report, the global personal care services market is expected to reach $488.9 billion by 2025.

“There is so much runway in this segment — it is worth half-a-trillion dollars and is growing at 5% annually, which is much faster than the economy in general,” said Morgan. “We look at all of our services under the banner of self care. We offer an opportunity for our guests to unplug and unwind and find some time for themselves. With the pandemic, that offering has never been more valuable.” 

Additionally, Morgan says as millennials and Gen Z continue to grow in their careers and have more expendable income, it is clear the younger generations are more willing to spend money on self care. Specifically, in a post-pandemic world, they are looking for personalized, private experiences that feel safe, which Morgan says is exactly what WellBiz Brands’ concepts offer. 

“Amazing Lash Studio’s system wide sales were up 121% above pre-COVID volumes this year,” Morgan points to as an example. “The strong interest for lash extensions has stayed high over the past two years, and is now keeping that trajectory in 2022. As is the case with all of our self care services, the demand isn’t going anywhere.”

Why Franchisees are Getting on Board with WellBiz Brands

Backed by a management team with nearly a century of combined leadership experience, Morgan says WellBiz Brands has solidified itself as the future of membership-based brands, which is one of the primary reasons the company signed over 100 units last year. “Our main differentiator is our expertise in membership-based businesses, both as it applies to people and tech,” said Morgan. 

In terms of people, Morgan says WellBiz Brands offers a competitive edge for franchisees by prioritizing world-class service provider recruitment, training and retention tools. Even before the pandemic created a labor shortage, Morgan says recruitment and retainment were a key focus for Wellbiz Brands. While this strategy first started with Elements Massage due to the traditional shortage of massage therapists, Morgan says the Wellbiz Brands team has expanded that approach across its entire portfolio.

“We launched a talent acquisition platform to help with recruiting and hiring last year,” said Morgan. “The labor shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now, and WellBiz Brands is uniquely-positioned to overcome that challenge because of the work we put in to be a best-in-class employer and career provider. All of our concepts are single-service modalities, which means we are easily able to work with franchisees to create a best-in-class employment experience for those providers. We give them the tools to interview, select and source strong prospects, and ultimately build a stronger studio culture.”

On the technology side, Morgan says WellBiz Brands has continued to invest in its centralized tech platform, which is used to drive sales for franchisees and allow for streamlined operations amongst staff. It also offers a seamless consumer experience, Morgan says, including a best-in-class online booking system, communication tools and more. 

With an expertise in digital marketing, the company also developed a cross-brand digital marketing program that drives effective member acquisition strategies. “We have a team of digital marketing experts, as well as a membership team that works with franchise owners to ensure they build the right memberships,” said Morgan. “Our membership approach really allows us to stand out with recurring revenue streams, and the predictability of those revenue streams builds a much steadier approach for cash flow. We know how to help owners build those revenue streams before the studio even opens.” 

Morgan says WellBiz Brands franchisees are supported throughout the entirety of the franchising process — from site selection and pre-opening marketing to training and grand opening. “It all comes together in a way that ensures franchisees are launched successfully and can get off to the races as quickly as possible,” he said. “When you are doing that in a booming category, you are very well-positioned to succeed.”

The Investment

Since day one, Morgan says the WellBiz Brands team has set out to create attractive business models and investment opportunities in the beauty-and-wellness segment. Now, with a diversified portfolio of brands, WellBiz Brands offers experienced and prospective entrepreneurs opportunities to find a business and investment that fits both their passions and their financial goals.

For example, the initial start-up cost for a single-unit Amazing Lash Studio location ranges from $239,210 to $508,510, with a franchise fee of $39,900. The total initial investment for an Elements Massage studio ranges from $251,950 to $491,350, which includes the initial franchise fee of up to $39,900. The initial cost to open a Drybar shop ranges from $604,956 to $1,313,865.

And the brand’s winning business models aren’t going unnoticed in the industry. WellBiz Brands has garnered national recognition on lists such as the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 and Franchise Times Fast & Serious, and the company was recently honored with the 2021 Franchising@WORK Silver award by Franchise Business Review

Why the Leadership Team is More Excited than Ever

Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, Morgan says the WellBiz Brands company has never been in a better position to thrive. “We really have built a moat around ourselves — we know our consumer better than anybody, and with nearly 900 locations, we bring more than any one brand can on their own,” he said.

Morgan says he is proud of what the WellBiz Brands team has done to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic and the last few years. “We’ve made a lot of changes internally to create a truly differentiated beauty service approach,” he said. “Our leadership team is really focused on meaningful opportunities to work with franchisees and help them operate more efficiently. We have rolled out tech initiatives, membership initiatives, people initiatives, all of which are big value generators.”

Now, Morgan says WellBiz Brands franchise owners experience a 900-unit support system, with the playbook, people, resources and support that is reflective of that bigger enterprise. “The work we’ve done to transform into a true multi-brand platform has been remarkable over the past few years, and it sets us up for success for this year and beyond,” he said. “There is truly no limit to what we can accomplish.”

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