Beth Nilssen
February 1, 2024 / Great Advice

How a routine haircut led this retiree out of retirement

After retiring in 2018, John Diaz realized he was bored. He considered investing in a franchise. Little did he know, a routine haircut at a walk-in hair salon would turn that dream into reality.


John Diaz found himself at a crossroads after retiring in 2018. Bored and feeling a lack of purpose, he explored the idea of investing in a franchise. His initial choices weren't promising, and he hit a roadblock in his research.


Then, on New Year’s Eve 2022, John and his teenage son went to a Great Clips salon for their end-of-year haircuts. His son asked him if he’d consider investing in a no-appointment hair salon business like the one they were sitting in.


At that moment, John was getting his hair cut by stylist Jacquelina “Jacky” Gonzalez—“the sweetest, bubbliest, smartest stylist I ever met,” John recalled. “Right then and there, I asked her if these places were franchised. She said, ‘Yes,’ and the next thing I knew, I was talking to the people at the Great Clips corporate office. The minute I met Jacky, I knew I was going to be a Great Clips salon owner, and if I could, I wanted to own this salon!”


To demonstrate his commitment to being a salon owner, John understood he had to join the franchise before moving forward with acquiring an existing salon. In March 2023, he purchased his first franchise agreement to initiate franchisee training and learn everything he could about being part of Great Clips. As fate would have it, he discovered the salon he was looking at was one of five being sold by a Houston franchisee.


Despite the salon’s initial underperformance, John believed in its potential. He had done his homework: He studied the car traffic from the parking lot and went in for three or four haircuts. He fast-tracked the onboarding classes Great Clips provides new franchisees and was able to purchase the salon within a few months of joining the system.


As the new owner, one of John’s first decisions was to promote Jacky to manager. Within a month, salon operations improved, which John credits to Jacky’s personality and his own day-to-day involvement in the business. He prioritized supporting the stylists and ensuring the salon's success. His focus on marketing, engaging with the local community, and expanding hours reflected his commitment to growth.


“I want to get there, the sooner the better,” John says about expanding hours, “but I don’t want to do it so fast that the stylists are overwhelmed.”


Right now, John’s priority is making the salon team feel recognized and valued. “A motivated and engaged team will lead to better customer experiences and increased success, which will definitely grow the business.”


For those considering business ownership after retirement, John has a simple piece of advice: Refresh your business attire! “After being retired for a few years, I actually like getting up in the morning and putting on a pair of pants, rather than shorts or sweats. I actually had to go buy pants—I’m up to three pairs!”


John Diaz's journey from plant operator to retiree to Great Clips franchisee (and a well-dressed one, at that!) is an inspiring example of how embracing new opportunities and seeking support from an experienced franchisor can lead to personal and professional growth. As John continues to develop his salon, we can only expect great things from this dedicated salon owner.


If you want to know more about what it might look like to build a successful hair-salon franchise business, give me a call. I’d love to talk to you. Wardrobe conversations optional!


Beth Nilssen

Director of Franchise Development | Great Clips, Inc.
800-947-1143 | [email protected]

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on February 1, 2024
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