Benjamin Dessange Predicts Dramatic Growth for Dessange Luxury Salon and Spa Franchise

Chairman of the Executive Board shares details of Dessange International’s strategic growth in an interview with Eurazeo PME

Benjamin Dessange, Chairman of the Executive Board at Dessange International

Eurazeo PME, a leading investment company with $4.3 billion in investments, has a 74% equity investment in Dessange International, our parent company. The Paris-based investment company, one of the largest in Europe, recently published an interview with our chief visionary and leader, Benjamin Dessange. In the interview, Benjamin offers a glimpse into growth strategies for all three franchise brands owned by Dessange International.

One thing’s for certain: Benjamin is laser-focused on dramatically growing the footprint of the Dessange salon and spa luxury franchise. He envisions at least 30 new Dessange salon franchises in the coming five years.

Here’s some of what Benjamin has to say about the future of Dessange International.

What are the vectors of your growth strategy?

First of all, the group’s aggressive international expansion, with our sights set on the Middle East and Eastern Europe. We are also counting on the high-end salon chain Camille Albane and, since its acquisition in 2012, the Fantastic Sams chain — which is No.1 in the U.S. family segment. Our five-year U.S. target is to expand from 1,200 to 2,000 Fantastic Sams salons and to leverage them to open 300 Camille Albane salons and 30 Dessange salons within five years. In France, we will seek to breathe new life into the hair salons, to enhance their revenues and products, and to step up franchise training and qualification.

What were the highlights of your strategy in 2014?

Without a doubt, the across-the-board change in the management team of Fantastic Sams to restore dynamism and a vision to the chain. But also the recruiting of a new products division head who will be independent in terms of planning, manufacturing and distribution. Another highlight was the signing of a distribution agreement in Europe, outside of our captive chains, for our Phytodess hair care products.

What decisive contribution has Eurazeo PME made to your transformation?

It has been a big help in repositioning and injecting more youth into the management team of Dessange International, a team that can now cope with the ambitions of the brands. I might add the steadfast backing during the acquisition of Fantastic Sams and the subsequent organization of the subsidiary.

What concrete steps forward did you make in 2014 in terms of corporate social responsibility?

To reinforce the human resources role within the group, we have overhauled this department from top to bottom. We have also recruited a CSR manager, whose main role is to quantify, highlight and develop all the initiatives that, until then, had been conducted in isolation and to endow them with greater consistency. And, as the cosmetics sector is subjected regularly to European directives, we must be exemplary in all areas. For example, our plant in Brittany has been certified ISO 9001 since 2001, and we use outsourcing for our Phytodess products in close partnership with NGOs.

What challenges do you face in 2015?

We are embarking on a year of celebrations for the group, with Dessange’s 60th anniversary, Camille Albane’s 20th and Fantastic Sams’ 40th. Another major event: the worldwide repositioning and development of our shampoo licence, in partnership with L’Oréal. The Festival de Cannes will serve as a showcase for launching this operation. And we will continue to certify the Dessange chain in France, which is a true exercise in promoting excellence.

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Dessange Group North America is on the Move and Expanding the U.S. Market

Franchise signings are up over 70% from previous year

dessangeDessange Group North America is rapidly bolstering its footprint in North America by expanding the iconic Fantastic Sams salon franchise, opening new locations of its popular French salon franchise, Camille Albane, and attracting new interest in its luxury Dessange salons and spas.

The hair salon segment is seeing strong year-over-year growth and is attracting investors with its stability and high market demand. Fantastic Sams saw a 71% increase in franchise signings from the previous year, and the pipeline of prospects across all three brands is up over 700%.

The three salon brands give Dessange Group North America market dominance across the entire industry: the value segment with Fantastic Sams, the upscale salon segment with Camille Albane and the luxury segment with Dessange. Currently Fantastic Sams has over 1,100 locations open, Camille Albane has nearly 300 and Dessange has nearly 400, spread globally in over 34 countries.

Since its recent acquisition by Dessange International, Fantastic Sams has been undergoing a brand evolution, introducing a new store model, a new operating system and a focus on increasing owner profitability. The favorable results demonstrate an all-around increase in store revenues, customer loyalty and brand awareness.

Camille Albane and Dessange are newer to the US market but are attracting customers and investors in the upscale and luxury markets.

Source: Franchising USA magazine

Dessange Paris Launching Masstige Hair Collection in U.S.

Dessange franchiseFRENCH LOCKS: Dessange Paris, a hair care line established by stylist Jacques Dessange in 1954 and licensed by L’Oréal to manufacture products in France and now in the U.S., is launching its debut masstige hair collection stateside in mid-September exclusively at Target.

The range, priced between $9.99 to $11.99, will consist of 14 stockkeeping units divided into four collections — California Blonde, Solar Blonde Naturale, Salon Color Restore and Oleo Miracle — addressing color preservation, shine, lightening and manageability. The house of Dessange, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, created signature looks for iconic actress Brigitte Bardot and later was the official hair partner of the Cannes Film Festival.


Lap of Luxury

Dessange salon opens in Tysons

Five years ago, Claude Courtet walked a spacious, airy 4,900 square-foot space on Towers Crescent Drive in Tysons, and knew instantly that his search was over.

DSC_4933“I knew right away that it was the one,” said Courtet, artistic director for the recently opened Dessange Tysons salon.

Courtet has been working with the Parisian luxury brand Dessange for the last 22 years — and his career has taken him from Paris to Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the United States. In 1999, Courtet moved to Washington D.C. to become artistic director and training manager at Dessange Chevy Chase, but he eventually decided to pursue his dream of opening up his own branch. It took five years to realize that dream, but on Sept. 12 Dessange Tysons opened its doors to the public.

Courtet knew that he wanted to find a location in the Tysons Corner area because many of his clients at Dessange Chevy Chase were from Great Falls and McLean.

“I knew this area would need a salon with highly skilled people and excellent services,” said Courtet.

Currently, the newly opened Dessange Tysons has eight employees, all of whom were hand-picked and trained by Courtet. The salon will ultimately have 40 employees once it is fully staffed.

“We had a lot of people apply, and they all went through trials with Claude and he chose them based on talent and personality,” said Tim Brockhoff, general manager at Dessange Tysons.

Masseuse and makeup artist Marie Ritz made the cut and moved from Paris to Fairfax last December. Ritz said she did not hesitate to take the opportunity to live and work in the United States.

“I first heard about America when I was 8 years old, and I said I wanted to come here,” said Ritz. “I prefer to be here because everything here is bigger and the people are so nice.”

Ritz speaks French, Italian and English and has been training and working as a professional masseuse for 18 years. She has studied techniques in China, Japan, the Middle East and Europe. In Paris she worked at the Cannes Film Festival and has worked with many celebrity clientele. Ritz said her favorite massage technique is a special method that combines both Thai and Chinese styles.

“This store is amazing,” said Ritz. “It’s so nice to work in a new place where we can show the clients our knowledge.”

Stylist Marisol also picked up and moved away from everything that was familiar to her to work at Tysons Dessange. An established stylist in Puerto Rico, Marisol left her home of 30 years to train with Courtet, and said she has no regrets.

“I have learned so much just in the last three months of training because his style technique is so different from Puerto Rico,” said Marisol, who moved to Alexandria five months ago. “I am feeling so many emotions right now, but it has been the best working experience of my life.”

There are 1,000 Dessange salons in 36 countries around the world, and Tysons Dessange is the 10th salon in the United States. At almost 5,000 square feet, it is one of the largest Dessange salons in the world, and it is the largest Dessange in America.

Outfitted with high speed Internet access, a fully stocked bar, a private suite and luxurious reclining massage chairs in the shampoo area and manicure-pedicure area, Tysons Dessange is geared toward a discerning clientele.

“The client has a remote control to choose their own massage setting,” said Brockhoff as he demonstrated the state-of-the-art Shiatsiu massage chairs connected to pristine, white tilting shampoo bowls. “Dessange is about the total experience.”

Brockhoff said that part of creating that experience meant paying close attention to each minute design detail as the salon was built. In the hair coloring section, special ventilation units suction air out of the building, sparing customers from chemical fumes. The spa area has its own sound system and heating and air conditioning units, to ensure a mellow and relaxing atmosphere that is separate of the hair salon and retail sections. After a haircut, women are given a complimentary cosmetic touch-up, and men a hot towel moisturizing face treatment.

“When people walk out of here we want them to not only look beautiful, but feel beautiful,” said Brockhoff.

Now that Tysons Dessange has finally opened, Courtet says he has one goal — and that is to be the number one salon in the Washington D.C. area. However, business goals aside, Courtet simply loves what he does for a living.

“I love cutting hair,” said Courtet. “I love making a woman look beautiful and then having the reward of seeing a smile on the face of a client.”