Business type : Boutique Salon
Staff size: 45+
Having worked as regional operations manager for a large health and wellness franchise, Heather Graham quickly realized she wanted to run her own business and, as she was already in the health industry and knew she enjoyed it, investigated the European Wax Center franchise. She launched her first studio in May 2014 and now owns four European Wax Centers across Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The European Wax Center is a family-owned business; two brothers enlisted the help of a chemist to create a proprietary, virtually pain-free, skin nourishing and soothing Comfort Wax™ using European beeswax. The franchise launched in 2004 and is now the number one specialty personal care brand in the US, with over 750 centers nationwide.
Graham’s second Pennsylvania site made close to $1million in revenue in its initial year. With the initial two sites, and two further sites now open, and a thriving business, she wanted a streamlined communications platform across them all. Graham’s friend, a Club Pilates franchisee, was using the OurPeople App on her phone to send messages to her team and Graham was intrigued.
Graham comments: “I looked into it and thought the OurPeople App was an extremely interesting concept. I’m not a fan of group texts and have always struggled with emails, never knowing if everyone has read them or lost the message in the melee of mass communication. The OurPeople App was simple to use and easily rectified these issues.
“Installed in August 2019, it has become our primary source of communication. Since opening my fourth site in Ohio, and with the issues COVID 19 has raised, I use the OurPeople App at least once or twice a day; it’s helped in numerous ways.”
The App has allowed Graham to share information on a regular basis now in-person team meetings aren’t as frequent. More importantly, she can see who has read the messages, can co-ordinate timely sign-offs on important documents, and always knows when completed.
Graham continues: “With the App installed, and 96% of staff active, there’s no more not knowing who has actually read my messages, and I love the accountability.
“There are a number of features I really like, such as when I book a meeting it can be uploaded to each person’s calendar on their individual phones and the fact I can schedule when information is sent out to the team ahead of time. That way communication is sent on a regular daily basis throughout the week, even though it is pre-planned and pre-uploaded.
“For example, we have a weekly product focus. On one day we will talk about the benefits of the product and the next day, how it’s used. During the week we may talk about its key ingredients, or how it can be communicated to customers while they are having a waxing treatment or by someone at the front desk. Using the OurPeople App means we can plan what we want to talk about each day, add all the messages in the app at the same time, and schedule them throughout the week as needed.
“Staff at the studios are very social; there’s great camaraderie and they work well together. When we introduced the OurPeople App it was easy to get everyone on board as they encouraged each other. Not only are staff obsessed with using their phones – which is why using the App works so well – they also hold each other accountable, which means they make sure they have all seen, read, and responded to any messages.
“The App is also great for communicating ‘shout outs’ when staff members are reaching targets or if someone has a birthday or anniversary.”
Graham’s minor at college was ‘Women’s Studies’ and, as women only earned the right to vote 100 years ago, she firmly believes it’s important her team exercise their rights. She’s planning to message her team, via the OurPeople App, offering the opportunity for them to take the day off on election day. This will give plenty of time to vote, and she will even pay them for the day.
“It’s essential everyone gets the message at the same time, as this eliminates any feelings of being less important if not told first, and also means the message won’t get diluted or lost. Each member of staff will know we are closed, why we are closed and what it means to myself and to them,” states Graham.
Each studio has its own personality and the last time they were shut down was in March, for thirteen weeks at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. Reopening on 9th June at fifty percent capacity and with additional sanitary precautions, appointments were 100% booked for the following twelve weeks, with customers also on waiting lists to be seen.
Graham says: “Customers were extremely excited we reopened. Usually, they would request to see their favored wax specialist, however, during this time a lot were happy just to get an appointment. One customer even drove over three hours, all the way from Michigan, for a fifteen-minute treatment!”
With a thriving business and customers on second and third visits, Graham is once again hiring, having recently appointed a director of operations and a trainer.
Graham and her two new team members send most of the broadcasts and messages to the staff, although the individual studio managers also send out messages for schedule changes, such as cover due to illness. Staff also use and like the ‘cover’ feature on the App when they need to reschedule their workdays, eliminating the use of ‘sticky note labels’ left on the notice board!
“I feel extremely fortunate to be hiring again and growing the business, especially given how many other companies have closed down. Using the OurPeople App has helped strengthen communication across all sites. It’s easy to use, even for non-tech savvy people, and the messaging features have made us all feel more connected in what can sometimes feel like a disconnected world at the moment,” Graham concludes.
Heather Graham - Owner