What Is Camille Albane?
Decades of trendsetting chain-salon experience in Europe give Camille Albane franchises unique position in U.S. beauty marketplace.
When it comes to beauty, fashion and style, France plays a major role in trendsetting. From haute couture to street style, there’s something alluring about French style. That indefinable something extra, known in French as ne plus ultra, is why customers flock to French beauty brands.
Camille Albane, a Paris-based franchise brand owned by upscale European salon chain Dessange International, is expanding into the U.S., making French beauty accessible to the urban American market. Customers are already crazy about the services, techniques and pampering they get at our flagship U.S. store in Boston, and more salons are being developed throughout the United States.
Although Camille Albane is an established and mature brand in Europe, we offer potential franchisees a ground-floor opportunity in the United States. Many prime metro markets are still available for salon development. Our franchisees will have the training, marketing and support systems of an almost 2,000-unit chain with decades of franchise experience.
“It’s not just about the backing and the huge support system you get with Camille Albane, it’s about the 60 years of heritage in the hair industry,” says CEO John Costanza. “That’s a tremendous amount of experience in the salon franchise industry, and our franchisees will reap the benefits.”
Camille Albane is already established as one of the most popular franchised hair salons in Europe for high-end beauty. We put out collections in spring and fall to coincide with Paris Fashion Week. The collections include haircuts, make-up and nail color. Our salons are not only in the world’s fashion capital, they extend everywhere from Monaco to Moscow to Saudi Arabia and beyond, and now they’re bringing the service tradition behind authentic French beauty to America.
The least competitive hair salon franchising segment
When people think of hair salon franchises, they tend to think of deep discount or haircut-only chains like Great Clips, Supercuts and Hair Cuttery.
Since these no-frills, deep-discount brands don’t charge as much for their services, they can only survive by making sure customers aren’t sitting in their chairs for very long. They often try to serve three to four customers per hour, per chair. If customers don’t get in and get out fast, their model breaks down.
In the higher-end salon segment, which caters to a more sophisticated client, there’s very little chain competition. The market is dominated by independent salons who do not have the training, marketing sophistication or budgets of a national brand. They often approach the business as “artists” rather than business people. In the upscale salon business, the winning formula is to approach the business as both an artist and an entrepreneur. We provide the beauty acumen; you bring the business smarts.
Intelligent chains love operating in what is known as a highly fragmented business — there’s no McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Apple or other dominant brand to contend with. There is a large market share to be grabbed from the unsophisticated independent operators, which make up more than 90% of the market.
Our average ticket price is $90, and it’s not at all unusual for our clients to spend $200 in a single visit. There’s a huge market for higher-end salon services. Only a few other national brands are in that space, and those brands only serve a small fraction of the available market. Independently owned salons, where prices, services and quality vary widely, provide most of those services. Customers value consistency, and that’s a key advantage Camille Albane brings to the table. Our business and training systems are proven to create both a high-quality product and a high-end customer experience.
This attracts skilled stylists who wish to capitalize on our training and brand power to ascend to the top of their field, which contributes to a sustainable cycle of success that will carry our brand far into the future.
It’s traditional in France for aspiring stylists to start studying and training in their field as teenagers, spending years as apprentices to perfect their skills before they’re ready to take on clients of their own. This is the sort of expertise and tradition Camille Albane is bringing to our salons in America.
For customers who want to achieve a certain look, it’s not about convenience and discounts, it’s about finding someone who has mastered the art of style. That’s the market that Camille Albane is tapping into domestically. And our first U.S. franchisee, John Prichard, was excited by that potential.
Customer experience like no other
As the largest franchise owner in the Fantastic Sams hair salon system, which is also owned by Dessange International, John Prichard and his wife, Patti, already manage 27 salons. When they learned about the Camille Albane opportunity, which would expand their reach into the upscale segment, they wanted to find out more.
The Prichards visited a dozen high-end salons in their market, where stylists charged anywhere from $40 to $200 for a haircut. They wanted to see what was available at these salons — and what was missing. No matter what the price point, they noticed, there wasn’t really a significant difference between the high-end salons and their own value salon franchises. The customer got a consultation and the hair services they’d requested, and then they were done. They were usually finished in 45 minutes to an hour.
At Camille Albane the experience is all about the details. The client is the center of attention from the moment they walk in the door. Everyone is there to make the client feel good about themselves. Our customers are coming to us because we’re a fashion-forward brand. We give them coffee or tea, a French pastry, their own assistant. We do their hair, offer a manicure and pedicure, and even touch up a client’s make-up before she leaves. When the customer walks out, they are ready from head to toe to take on anything that might come their way.
“We make her feel like she’s the most wonderful woman in the world,” says Maria Cavard, General Manager.
The Prichards are now in the process of opening five Camille Albane salons in their market.
Camille Albane Franchises’ plans for nationwide expansion
Camille Albane is adding 200-300 new locations over the next decade, and we’re looking for people like the Prichards who want to help us make French beauty more accessible. Our salons offer clients exactly what they could get if they went to Paris. They offer franchisees a chance to make a smart investment in a wide-open franchise segment.
If you’ve got business experience and are passionate about this opportunity to help build an established European brand in new American territories, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill out the form to the right or click on the button below to learn more.