It’s not often that employees have the opportunity to help their company grow from a simple concept to a franchise brand with more than 1,550 stores across the U.S. and Canada. But Julie Vargas—Sport Clips’ Senior Director of Career Opportunities—has been instrumental in helping the brand get to the successful position it’s in today.
Julie first started with Sport Clips back in 1993, two years before the brand started franchising. In fact, she initially worked as the manager of the very first Sport Clips store. However, after five years, she became an area coach as the brand opened up more locations, and then went on to work as a regional coach. But Julie really hit her stride when she moved into her current position as the driving force behind recruiting and retaining Sport Clips’ professional stylists.
Passionate, hard-working and experienced stylists are a large part of what sets Sport Clips apart from the competition. That’s why bringing in the best talent—and providing a positive work environment—is crucial to the franchise brand’s success. But according to Julie, Sport Clips’ biggest selling point is something that’s already engrained in its DNA.
“From a recruitment standpoint, what we really try to get across is our unique culture. Sport Clips offers stylists a one of a kind opportunity to work in an environment that’s both stable and fun. You can’t find that anywhere else in the men’s grooming industry,” said Vargas. “We try to drive that message home in every way that we can. Social media is one of the best tools to show off our culture, especially as more millennial stylists enter the workforce.”
But Sport Clips goes far beyond social media in its efforts to recruit and retain the best stylists. Vargas and her team have established strong relationships with cosmetology schools across the country, ensuring that the brand has the opportunity to make itself known to up and coming professionals. Those national relationships are then beneficial to franchisees on the local level—when new local owners are starting their businesses and looking to hire staff members, they already have one foot in the door at the top cosmetology schools in their area.
Julie also works closely with Sport Clips’ Artistic team. Together they travel to trade shows in order to network with and meet both new and upcoming professionals in the industry. This gives her team the chance to build a heightened level of brand awareness while at the same time creating a positive perception of Sport Clips’ numerous career opportunities.
“Sport Clips is the leading brand in a consistent industry—men are always going to need to get their hair cut. That business model is incredibly attractive to stylists,” said Vargas. “Haircutting professionals who want to start their own business typically wouldn’t see a solid revenue stream for years. We can guarantee an hourly pay, service and retail commissions, and provide a career path that can allow them to move into store management, area management or become an educator or member of our Artistic Team. Our primary goal is to make stylists aware of all that Sport Clips offers so we can continue to build a Championship Quality Team to ensure our clients receive our signature Championship Haircut Experience.”
These programs give Sport Clips’ ever-growing system of franchisees a strong competitive advantage - and Julie ensures that the brand’s local owners know how to tap into these resources long before their store is ready to open. During Sport Clips’ Discovery Day, she speaks to the candidates about how the brand helps them find the right team members to deliver the Sport Clips Championship Haircut Experience. When our new franchisees attend training, she takes them to cosmetology schools and guides them through the stylist interview process so they know what they’re looking for when hiring talent back home.
“We make sure our franchisees get to know Julie and her team right off the bat. We want them to take advantage of everything that they have to offer,” said Dave Wells, director of franchising for Sport Clips. “We’re incredibly proud of how Sport Clips is able to recruit and retain some of the best stylists in the industry. We aren’t just the ideal business opportunity for local franchise owners—our franchisees also offer stylists the chance to successfully launch and build their careers.”