“I sleep, live and breathe Sport Clips. I sometimes think it’s in my DNA.”
While those types of statements are often reserved for company founders, franchisee Shahin Urias feels that strongly about her connection to Sport Clips. And given her long history with the brand, it’s no surprise. She’s been with Sport Clips from the very beginning. After working as a part-time stylist in the brand’s very first location, Urias knew she wanted to take her commitment to the brand a step further. At first, that meant managing an Austin, Texas store, where she was able to take it to the top three Sport Clips in the nation. Then, after moving to Tucson and marrying her husband Larry, Urias decided to become a Sport Clips franchisee.
Since becoming a part of the Sport Clips brand—which currently boasts more than 1,700 locations across the U.S. and Canada—Urias has opened six locations in the Tucson area. According to her, one of the main reasons she’s been able to achieve that level of success is the brand’s one-of-a-kind environment.
“Sport Clips has created a positive environment in which people want to work. That starts with our commitment to our core values. From Gordon Logan, the founder and CEO, all the way down to the team member level, our values are upheld. We also stay true to our message and branding. Since day one, we’ve been focused on haircuts for men and boys, and we’re still doing that. It’s simple, clean and makes us stand out. We’re not sending out mixed messages to our clients,” said Urias.
Urias’ journey to becoming a successful franchisee wasn’t always an easy one. Originally from Iran, Urias survived wars, lived in a mud basement for a time and witnessed the nightmare of bombings while clinging to her children in a bomb shelter under her staircase. However, through her perseverance and determination, she moved to the United States and took full advantage of her opportunity to become a business owner. After working in a cafeteria, parenting children and walking to beauty school every day, Urias is now living her American Dream.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Urias left this year’s Multi-Unit Franchising Conference with the American Dream Award. And even though she knew she had been nominated by the Sport Clips team, Urias says that actually winning the award has been a surreal experience.
“Winning the American Dream Award is definitely an accomplishment, but I obviously wasn’t alone in the process. Larry has played a big role in making our Sport Clips businesses successful. Knowing that we’ve accomplished something means more than money to me. This was just a dream for me once, and it’s something I never could have accomplished back home. The opportunity given here in this country is something that we didn’t have there,” Urias said. “This award also means so much more to me because I came from a different country not knowing the language and not having gone to school here. But the opportunities are there if you want to reach out to it. No one is holding you back but you.”
The American Dream Award also means a lot to Urias because it shows that her American Dream is now helping pave the way for others to achieve their own goals.
She said, “It’s amazing to know my American Dream is now helping others realize theirs. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to see that I have over 50 team members who are making a living from my Sport Clips locations. They’re buying their dream houses and cars because of what I created.”
Now, on the heels of winning the American Dream Award, Urias will continue to support her staff by growing her Sport Clips locations. While her journey to business ownership has required—and will keep requiring—a lot of hard work, at the end of the day, Urias says it’s well worth it.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it—we all work hard. There’s a lot of work that goes into being a successful franchisee, especially when you’re bringing Sport Clips to an area where it’s not known,” said Urias. “But because I love it so much, it’s easy for me. It’s a no brainer. When you love what you do, it doesn’t even feel like you’re working.”