71 - From A Business Plan on A Menu to Opening Their Third Location with Jason Laricchia of The Birthday Suit

starting a business | Dec 01, 2017

I've been following Jason's business on Instagram for a while now, and have loved watching their expansion happen.  Their story was incredible as they sat in a restaurant and started laying out the details of their first business, to, in just a few short years, embarking on their third location.  Jason came by to talk about the principles that have made them so successful and what the future holds in their business.

Having no prior experience as business owners, where did you all begin?  One of the things that helped was Stacey, his wife, had an extensive background in the beauty world she knew a lot about what it would take to run the business.  Jason had a pretty diverse background in the customer service industry, and knew how to really take care of the customer.  Jason also knew how to secure property, put together business plans, and navigate the leases.

Was your original business plan to bring on staff?  The idea was to have staff right away.  They built out with four treatment rooms.  They started with just a few estheticians.  Stacey had a great relationship with her previous fellow employees, and some of them came to work for her.

What are some things that you wish you would have known?  One of the big things in Las Vegas, was having to deal with the city when it comes to having to build out permits.  Las Vegas isn't the quickest or easiest city to deal with those types of things.  There can be a pretty strong barrier to entry, so they don't make it extremely easy for a new business to open.  The other thing was initial marketing.  Jason had experience, but he never had to deal with it on a larger scale.  He had to find out what types of things worked, and what didn't.

What would you say marketing wise was a huge hit for you?  They started at first, doing home mailers and Groupons.  However, the biggest thing that worked for them initially was Yelp.   Jason's sister has been an Elite Yelper for several years.  His sister was the one who explained what being an Elite Yelper was, and how you could host specific events where Elite Yelpers would come and get a preview.  So they talked to their PR company and set that Elite Yelp Day up.  They were able to tour the salon, and check out a few services.  From there some of them came back as clients, and put up some great reviews, which helped them take off.  They did do some paid services of Yelp, but now they just do an enhanced Yelp profile.

What moment would you say the momentum shifted in your business where things just got a little easier?  It was probably just a little after the first year of their business.  The first six months was in the middle of the summer, so they missed the season a bit.  They had a slow start, but it's always ramped up from day 1 if you consistently look at the numbers.  It was after that first year where they got out of the contracts with the home mailers, etc, they started putting their money towards what was really working.

When did you start thinking about scaling and what's the thought process that goes behind that?  The conversation about opening multiple locations started in the beginning.  They found that having a Vegas location, even though they market more towards locals, they had a lot of regular clients who were flight attendants or business people who were frequently in town.  Many of them were asking when they were going to start opening other locations.  It was about the two-year mark where they started to focus on scaling.  Our goal at that time was to franchise.

When they were getting stared, Jason set up a meeting with a national franchise leader.  He advised that Jason joined the International Franchise Association and attend their national convention.  He told them to attend the seminar and talk to people (which was just a few weeks away).  Jason booked the flight, and spent three days at the convention, and it changed him from the beginning.  People were willing to share so much of their expertise and experiences with them.  It made him realize that they still wanted to franchise, but they really needed to look at things differently.  They decided it would be better to open multiple locations on their own locally before they tried to scare it on a national level.

How do you plan on really scaling the customer service centric business?  Jason realizes that it's going to be a big challenges for them as they scale.  It's really all going to come down to the culture they develop within the company.  If they can start to show that and lead by example as franchisees come in, it will help to grow in that sense.  It's about drilling that mentality of what you're focusing on into everyone that walks into their door, no matter what role they're in.

You can find The Birthday Suit and all of their locations at www.thebirthdaysuit.com.

More About Jason:  I have seen a done a lot of things for work since before graduating high school in 1996.  As early as 12 years old, I would work summers with my dad in construction and was very used to being around professional settings.  My customer service background is a vital part of our success of The Birthday Suit, as we are always focused on providing the best service possible while staying affordable for the masses.  The business sense comes from working in Hollywood.  Having to balance expense reports for bosses and clients, and as a personal assistant, being in charge of someone's everyday life as well as their personal life is like running a business in itself.  The same principles apply with money coming in and going out, and having to make the right decisions to always be focused on furthering a career.  My wife Stacey has been in the skin care field for almost 20 years and she is the day-to-day engine that keeps the spa going.  I had no idea what waxing was, let alone how to do it, what to charge, or where to buy supplies.  Her knowledge of being "in" the spa, and my knowledge of being the guys in the background has helped make us the #1 waxing spa in Las Vegas and is propelling us beyond.  With 2 new locations opening in the next few months, and a possible 4th soon after, we are setting our sights on franchising our business to help our clients who travel from all over the country and world be able to get the same experience in their home town as they do when they see us in Las Vegas.

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