POSTED IN Franchising ON 31 January, 2019
31 Jan FG Newport – A Romance Built on Francesco Group Foundations
A ROMANCE BUILT ON FRANCESCO GROUP FOUNDATIONS
Jon Main has been with Francesco Group since he was 16, opening FG Newport in 2002. Trained by the hands of both Frank and Pete Dellicompagni, he is someone for whom the FG Ethos is engrained.
Paula Main was a loyal Francesco Group client who frequently asked her Stylist, Mia Dellicompagni, if there were any opportunities to work in a non-hairdressing capacity, for the company she loved. Mia put Paula’s name forward, which led to her being interviewed by Jon for a management position; three years later they were married.
This serendipitous meeting laid the groundwork for one of Francesco Group’s most successful partnerships, allowing Jon to continue providing clients with top-notch haircuts, whilst Paula tackled the managerial aspects of running a business.
We spoke to Jon and Paula about what they have learnt in their 18 years together as a business and romantic partnership.
Why did you choose to open your salon with Francesco Group?
Jon – It was a natural progression for myself, I was a Senior Stylist at the Eccleshall salon and I’d been on the Senior Management course twice. The first time I went on it, it scared the life out of me and I said “No, I’m not ready for that!” but after a couple of years I asked Pete (Dellicompagni) if I could go on it again. The second time I felt prepared to take on a more advanced role and I told Pete that I was ready for my own salon. It took a while to find the right location, but we eventually found the salon space in Newport and we opened in 2002. I’ve been with FG since I was 16 years old and it was the ideal way to stay with FG and advance my career. I knew I didn’t want to be solely responsible for managing staff, because I wanted to hit the ground running bringing in clients, so that’s why I looked at hiring a manager to assist me.
The training is unique, once you become a Francesco Group trainee, the ethos and everything about Francesco Group becomes so important.
What makes Francesco Group a better business option over opening an independent salon?
Jon – It’s the business umbrella; you’ve got the infrastructure that can support you, which you don’t have with an independent salon.
Paula – You have the back-up and you feel part of a family.
Jon – There is also a standard with FG that independent salons struggle to replicate.
Paula – The training is unique, once you become a Francesco Group trainee, the ethos and everything about Francesco Group becomes so important. Jon began his career working with Frank (Dellicompagni) at Bridle Road and he then went on to work with Pete at the Eccleshall salon. Jon is FG through and through and if you begin your career like that you understand what the brand is; it’s a family that supports each other and it’s a big network that you can pull on when you need to. Help is always just a phone call away, and that’s so important.
The same ideals have remained, which is ensuring that we have happy, loyal clients and we provide them with fantastic hair.
What do you do that sets you apart from other salons?
Paula – We look after our team, because we’re a partnership. If you pay your staff well and you look after them, they look after you and that’s the biggest hurdle to overcome. To our younger employees we’re definitely seen as their work mum and dad!
Jon – You also have to let staff express themselves and feel heard, give them an input.
Paula – Organisation is also such an important thing, always planning ahead and predicting things that could go wrong and ensuring that you look after your team when they do go wrong. You have to be one step ahead all of the time.
Jon – It also works because we’re so different. We come at things from very different angles but it means we have everything covered. Paula struggles to switch off and she gets back to every client query in around 1.3 seconds!
Paula – I think when a client comes to this salon they come away pleased with our attention to detail, our friendliness and of course… their hair! Clients know that we’re the best; we have one lady who lives in New York but comes back to Newport for her haircut!
Jon – We make people feel like gold-dust, that’s always what matters most.
Jon is FG through and through and if you begin your career like that you understand what the brand is; it’s a family that supports each other and it’s a big network that you can pull on when you need to. Help is always just a phone call away, and that’s so important.
What is one thing you wish you’d been told before embarking on a professional career running your own salon?
Jon – I think you’ve got to deal with the bad things in order to improve. We just keep on fighting; I don’t think anything good comes easily.
Paula – We’ve struggled through the recession but we’re not quitters, it’s important to grow from mistakes.
You’ve got to be prepared to give 150%, it’s more than a fulltime job. You also need a purpose, we’re doing all of this for our son, we’re building him a future.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Jon – Cutting hair! That’s 100% where my passion lies.
Paula – Watching the team grow and helping them to grow; I love encouraging them to believe in themselves. I also enjoy interacting with clients and seeing their transformations. Everything basically!
We make people feel like gold-dust, that’s always what matters most.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to open up their own Francesco Group Salon?
Paula – Think long and hard and make sure you’re really ready. Definitely do the management course, it’ll open up your eyes to the realities of running your own business.
Jon – Maybe try and open with a franchise partner, but if you don’t want to do that, ensure you have a really strong manager.
Paula – Chat with other franchisees and visit other FG salons, really get to grips with what it is you want to do and how you want to do it.
Jon – You’ve got to be prepared to give 150%, it’s more than a fulltime job. You also need a purpose, we’re doing all of this for our son, we’re building him a future.
What are your core principles and values for your salon and have they changed over the years?
Paula – I think for Jon it possibly has, because the journey began with him running a business on his own and then quickly turned into a partnership.
Jon – The same ideals have remained though, which is ensuring that we have happy, loyal clients and we provide them with fantastic hair.