At least once a week someone comes in with more questions than necessary, more prying and more interest than a standard client. It's always funny when you realize the person or people in your place are spying for either their place, their employers, or their "future" business.
Over the past 2.5 months that we've been open we've had our fair share of spies. Some were really cool, open, honest about their intensions and I was more than courteous providing information, where I got what, how much, etc... Others have been really shady and nosy.
Last week was really interesting. An older couple came in, the woman first and headed off to get shampoo'd while the man came in after parking the car. As soon as he walked in he told me "This is a nice place, how do you feel about opening one up on the Main Line?" to which I responded "Sure!". The man proceeded to tell me that we can be partners and that he's already got the location. Long story short, it was the strangest thing I've ever seen, the woman left with her hair still wet (by choice of course) and the man gave me a business card and said he'll be in touch. WTF?
-- Update: Never heard from the man again, but I do understand they're opening a high-end Men Only salon & spa.
How about the woman that was standing outside taking pictures prior to coming in for a blo/out. Turns out she owns a salon in the area. Or the woman that called in to "get information" and make an appointment that she later cancelled for a Keratin Express treatment, upon getting her email address I realized who she was and which salon she owns in Philadelphia.
I totally understand it and I'm pretty cool with it, I have done it and continue to do it as well albeit not as blatantly. My intention is not to compete with every salon in the area, otherwise I would have opened up a full service salon and I'm pretty sure I would have earned clients away from other salons. I support competition and although it does bother me when someone tries to step on my toes, I operate with the belief that if you do something better than anyone else, you deserve to succeed.
I would totally prefer people to just approach me and either ask me openly or inquire about partnerships, I'm partnering up with people all the time! We also take in investors into specific locations whenever we can! For example our Rittenhouse location which is currently in the final stages of completion is still welcoming an investor that can have ownership of that location!
This industry is awesome! There is crazy amounts of potential and when treated like a real business rather than a mom & pop shop, it is very lucrative for all involved.
I'm not looking to leave it anytime soon, so as per the ancient proverb: "Come at me bro".