Our team at Canadian Franchise Magazine had a chance to sit down with Linda Lefebvre, Canadian master franchisor and franchisee for MY SALON Suite.
As a fellow woman in franchising, we were excited to learn more about Linda’s journey to MY SALON Suite and her advice to women looking to open their own franchises.
Our questions are in bold. We hope you enjoy reading.
What is your professional background?
Before becoming a master franchisor with MY SALON Suite, I spent my career in the federal public service, the last 10 years of which were in executive positions. I held the position of director of intergovernmental affairs for five years in in the department of agriculture. Subsequently, I moved from a career in policy to one that specialized in programs where I managed implementation and oversight.
When did you begin franchising?
I became master franchisor for the entire Canadian market in the fall of 2013. We opened the first Canadian MY SALON Suite location in Ottawa in early 2015.
What attracted you to the MY SALON Suite franchise opportunity?
When my husband and I decided to look into business ownership options, we looked at a number of concepts in Ottawa. Throughout our search, none of the businesses we saw resonated with us or provided what we were looking for financially. We both knew we wanted to invest in a semi-absentee business. Additionally, because I enjoy working alongside others, I wanted to find a business that let me focus on people development. By this, I mean I wanted to work closely with people, but not necessarily manage them.
When the MY SALON Suite franchise opportunity was presented to us, we noticed that it required a semi-absentee owner who works well with others. Additionally, the franchise’s mission is to help empower salon industry professionals through business ownership. Given the obstacles that salon professionals are facing to open their own business, such as lack of business experience and/or financial means, we are all about helping them prepare to become successful entrepreneurs themselves. It is truly a rewarding and worthwhile endeavour to make it possible for salon professionals to go into business for themselves.
What are the biggest challenges facing women in franchising?
That is certainly a great question. Work-life balance has presented a great challenge for me in the past. Throughout my career, I have found that it is particularly difficult to be everywhere at once. I wanted to give both my family and my career everything that I have, and that’s not an easy feat. I have seen women decide to forego/avoid executive-level career opportunities because they were afraid it would be difficult to achieve an optimal balance between their careers and their families. Even though a woman is buying a proven franchised business, most non-absentee models require a tremendous time investment in the first two or three years to get the business open and profitable.
What is your advice for women looking into franchising?
First and foremost, I would recommend making sure that you will have an appropriate work-life balance. Are you able to commit yourself to building a business or are you setting yourself up for just burning your candle at both ends? From there, it is very important to ask yourself if the particular franchise will allow you to use your strengths. A franchise system gives you the tools to succeed, but make sure that you have the transferable skills needed to execute the model. When in doubt, trust your instincts — this will steer you in the right direction.
Where can we keep up with MY SALON Suite – Ottawa on social media?