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An Experience Worth My Time: How I Started a Men's Grooming Franchise

Ben Davis, founder and president of The Gents Place

I was once a busy insurance executive. Like most men who were in my position, I wanted to make the most out of my time. From meetings with clients to evenings with my family, if I was going to allocate my time to a grooming experience, I wanted it to be just that: an experience worth my time, instead of an hour out of my life with a smock around my neck. 

I knew there had to be a better way, so finally on October 1, 2008, with the near collapse of the U.S. economy, I was reminded that many of the biggest fortunes in history had been made in down-markets. My frustration with the grooming category paired with the knowledge that it was a $5 billion-plus industry and one of the fastest growing in the beauty segment, led to the inception of The Gents Place.

This luxury men's lifestyle club offers the next level in men's grooming, giving gentlemen the platform that they need to look and feel their most confident best. We pride ourselves on having one of the most unique service menus in the industry, epitomizing the exclusivity of an old-world speakeasy paired with an upscale, welcoming country club atmosphere. We offer a variety of services, including barber cuts, straight razor shaves, hand and foot repairs, beard/mustache trims, hair coloring and shoe shining. We are also a purveyor of hard-to-find retail goods from all over the world including the proprietary Rascal line of products, Truefitt & Hill, and Lakme, among others.

At The Gents Place we want to appeal to gentlemen and resonate with an audience that embodies every sense of that word – a chivalrous, courteous and honorable man who takes pride in his appearance. Our goal is to create a space for such a man and to assist him in his quest to look and feel his most confident best. The Gents Place is an environment that encompasses all of these components and prides itself on having one of the most unique service menus and lifestyle experiences in the industry.

From multi-store concept to fast-growing franchise

When The Gents Place was first launched back in 2008, we established four corporately-owned locations in Dallas, Southlake and Frisco, Texas and Leawood, Kansas. We began officially franchising just over a year ago, and in that short time, we've signed 14 franchise agreements in three states across six cities, and have locations slated for opening this year and beyond in Chicago, Austin, Houston and San Antonio. These agreements are all part of our aggressive expansion plans to grow the brand's presence throughout the country, with the ultimate goal of opening 150 clubs over the next five years.

While we've experienced great brand awareness and expansion, we have also learned the importance of partnering with brand ambassadors, franchisees and co-owners – such as NFL Hall-of-Famer, Emmitt Smith – who are just as passionate and committed to The Gents Place mission as we are. Our goal is to ensure that they're providing guests with best-in-class services and holding steadfast to our mission of offering next level experiences each visit.

About the author: Ben Davis is the founder and CEO of The Gents Place, a growing men's lifestyle franchise offering a wide range of grooming services.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.

Image Credit: Mark Ford