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Building a Franchise Business with Haroon Danis

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world of business into a period of extended uncertainty, and that uncertainty has hit some sectors harder than others. 

In the latest of our remote Business Leader interviews, we sat down with Skin HQ’s Haroon Danis, who has committed himself to building a franchise business across the UK and Ireland. Check out the full interview in the video above and don’t forget to follow the series for more industry-leading insights!

A Time for Self-Care and Wellness

Getting our conversation off to a start, Haroon Danis begins by introducing himself and his business. The entrepreneur is the Founder of Skin HQ, a specialist skin treatment franchise which has already branched out to five different locations in its few short years in business.

He highlights that SkinHQ is one of the UK’s fastest growing 1% of businesses, with lockdown restrictions coming as an “interesting time” for the business. “That’s especially the case since we just sold our first franchise,” he shares.

Lockdown restrictions have given each and every one of us more time to focus on our own self-care, with many people discovering healthy skin care and treatment routines for the first time in their lives. For Haroon, this combination of skincare routines and treatments is essential, and he admits that his own routine was limited to shower gel before joining the industry. “Seeing the difference it can make is amazing. You look after everything else – so why wouldn’t you look after your skin?”

The relationships between healthy skin and positive mental wellbeing are undeniable, according to the Skin HQ founder. “If someone is suffering, it can show on their skin. Our therapists have really good relationships with clients, and our staff have had the right training in pointing those clients in the right direction if they need support,” he explains. 

“There’s a lot more research that has to be done in this area. But from our experiences, clients do tend to feel better after a treatment.”

What treatments do Skin HQ offer to clients? Harpoon highlights that the company offers a range of aesthetic, non-invasive treatments. On this topic, he notes the possibilities of non-invasive treatments and just how much can be achieved without conducting surgery. 

“A lot of facial electronics and facial technology now is amazing. And whilst the UK lags behind other countries in regards to laser clinics, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the potential benefits of non-invasive treatments.”

skin hq CEO haroon danis
Skin HQ is a franchise chain of specialist skincare treatment clinics. Image credit: Invest NI

Investing in Training and People

Part of the success behind Skin HQ has been in its continued investment and training of its staff: “The education levels we would typically begin with would be those with a beauty course – an NVQ, for example. They would complete more advanced learning, going through more training relating to the products, equipment and machinery that we use”. 

The industry’s rapid growth has presented challenges around training, particularly over recent years. “I think it’s mainly down to the fact this industry is so now – 15 years ago, this industry wasn’t really here. We’re innovating fast and the education system is now trying to keep up. We’ve devised our own training programmes here to fill the gaps,” says Haroon.

Skin HQ now employs over 50 therapists treating thousands of customers across the UK. But what inspired Haroon to roll out a franchise business? He recalls the opening of his first store in Manchester – a hugely successful endeavour that appeared to attract interest from several surrounding cities. 

Newly opened clinics in Bradford, Liverpool and London quickly became very busy franchises. “We switched to a membership model, and customers have full freedom over that contract – they can stop whenever they like, and they can visit any of our clinics across the UK. It worked really well, and we increased our clients ten fold.”

“As the lockdown came, we felt a lot of people were losing their jobs, they couldn’t rely on a business to pay their wages. They wanted financial independence, and we felt that we could develop that. 

“So, we prepared a franchising plan, putting everything in place and thinking that we could certainly do it. We decided during lockdown that we’d launch it, and the response so far has been amazing. We even had former competitors getting in touch, which is great considering the experience they’ve had. It’s been a  really interesting time, and that’s really what’s pushed us into franchising in the end.  However, when you look at the journey, it was all very natural and one thing built into another.”

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