Growing up with a younger sibling, I learned the art of leadership and compromise at a very young age. Whether it’s offering advice or finally sharing that toy I adored more than life, I was constantly growing and learning as an older child.
My little brother, Steve, taught me that you can fight with someone, truly go head-to-head, while still loving them with all your heart. Disagreements are bound to happen, but we’re family. We have carried this mindset throughout adulthood and throughout our relationship as business partners.
Take the entrepreneurial plunge
Throughout my career, I have always had a knack for business development and growing brands. Before becoming CEO of Cherry Blow Dry Bar, I served as an executive at Maaco for 20 years. During my tenure at the auto-painting and collision-repair franchise, I grew that franchise from 300 units to 550 units. I was also a Goddard School franchisee for 15 years.
After my time with both companies, I knew I wanted to expand my entrepreneurial resume. As I began to think of my next business venture, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted my brother by my side. In 2008, we made this partnership happen, and we served as regional developers for Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa. Together, we have grown by more than 30 locations, three of which we own and operate ourselves.
The success we saw with our first beauty and lifestyle concept motivated us to bring on another. After a trip to Orange County, California, I began to notice the niche market of blow dry bars. The concept of quick glam services seemed to resonate with women everywhere. After researching, Steve and I signed on as regional developers for the Cherry Blow Dry Bar brand.
When we opened our first salon in Cherry Hill, N.J., we knew we wanted to take the business to the next level. Armed with nearly 50 years of combined experience in franchising and expertise in membership models, my brother and I saw an opportunity to create a unique model within the industry; and that’s exactly what we did. We acquired the Cherry Blow Dry Bar brand in May of 2015.
Know your roles
One of the reasons Steve and I work so well together is because we balance each other out. After growing up in the same household, we understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to strategically divide our responsibilities.
Steve is the wide receiver of the business. He is the reason our franchisees are trained to open their salon doors; and of course, a new opening is always a touchdown for us. He is also responsible for overseeing Cherry Blow Dry Bar’s operations, trainings and new openings, which keeps the business uniform.
My role is like the quarterback. I’m responsible for handling real estate, mapping floor plans and securing advertisement.
What I do in the backfield impacts the success Steve sees; and how Steve executes his plays effects the advancement of the brand. We use our strengths to create a stronger business and navigate without crashing into one another. However, while Cherry Blow Dry Bar is a small company, we both wear many hats to ensure we are doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
When we decided to acquire the brand, there were already six salon locations open and operating – all with existing franchisees. The most difficult part of the acquisition process was replacing the previous owner’s operations to implement our strategies and tactics. Keeping in mind that you must take the good with the bad, Steve and I realize you can’t give up when things don’t go your way.
We knew which way we wanted to grow and the steps we had to take to see these results. We aimed to create an environment where women could come to be pampered, feel healthy and look pretty while socializing freely. More importantly, we wanted to provide this at an affordable price.
Using our previous experiences and knowledge of the industry, we created a unique membership model. Cherry memberships offer the best prices, and include 10 percent off all retail. Membership packages start at $59 for two blowouts per month.
After seeing success in our first two years, we now operate 11 Cherry Blow Dry Bar locations across six states. When we look for franchise partners, we look for individuals who believe in our proven business model and mission to provide glam styling services at affordable prices.
Always focus on the end zone
As we continue to grow as a business, we know good things take time. At the end of the day, we’re business partners; but most importantly, we’re brothers. We both want the Cherry brand to succeed, and we are confident this beauty niche will continue to do just that.
About the author: Fred Vicario, president of Cherry Blow Dry Bar, served as a regional developer for the Cherry Blow Dry Bar brand along with his brother Steve Vicario. Armed with nearly 50 years of combined experience in franchising and expertise in membership models, Fred and Steve decided to acquire the brand outright in May 2015 after opening their first location in Cherry Hill, NJ. The brothers now operate 11 Cherry Blow Dry Bar locations across six states. To learn more about Cherry Blow Dry Bar, visit www.cherryblowdrybar.com and follow Cherry Blow Dry Bar on Facebook.