Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 58. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, Phorest FM is a weekly show that puts forth a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, salon/spa marketing tips, company insights and information on attending Phorest Academy webinars. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.
Phorest FM Episode 58
More often than not, the guests we welcome on the show either work in a what we’ll call a “traditional” salon (if you may) or own one. This week, however, we venture out of those two scenarios to chat with MJ Déziel, a talented hairstylist and platform artist for Redken Brews, who has co-founded a mobile B2B2C business with her partner Philippe Bélanger. Their mission? Give back time to people and increase well-being within the workplace.
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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 58. I’m Killian Vigna.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer.
Killian Vigna: This week’s episode focuses on a different kind of business model within the hair and beauty industry.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Joining us on the show today is Montreal-based hairstylist and co-founder of The Regulars, MJ Deziel. As always, we top of the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy webinars.
Killian Vigna: So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning Killian.
Killian Vigna: Good morning Zoe.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: You’re just back from a run this weekend.
Killian Vigna: Yeah, one of the guys in Dev pulled me along, but it was a good crack, a little hill run. Definitely feeling the effects of it today, very jelly legs.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Last week, before your jelly legs, we were both at the Summit for insights on salon success and things like that, right?
Killian Vigna: Yep.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: This week, we’re switching things up a little bit and we’re discussing a different business model. I remember telling you about this business model for the first time because MJ, who we have on the show, she has a company called The Regulars. It’s a mobile business kind of like a B2B2C.
Killian Vigna: Yeah, it’s very interesting. When you were pitching it, I was like… because you know MJ.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, I know her, yeah.
Killian Vigna: You’re pitching the idea and I was like, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool, but the whole idea of B2B2C sounds confusing.”
Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s why we have her on the show today, to shed a bit of light on how that model actually exists within the industry. Welcome to the show MJ. How are you?
MJ Déziel: I’m pretty good, you? Thank you for inviting me.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think you’re our first Canadian guest on the show.
Killian Vigna: Yeah, definitely you’re the first. We’ve had someone in the UK, someone in America, and now Canada, so you’re helping us branch out.
MJ Déziel: I feel very special!
Killian Vigna: Like Zoe was saying, it’s a really cool business model you have going on here. Basically, I suppose before we get into too much. You actually go out and you build relationships with companies, so you’re more of a business to business model as opposed to business to client, or business to customer.
MJ Déziel: It’s actually a B2B2C. It’s pretty new things to work because, in Canada, we’re not really allowed to just go… At first, I just wanted to do like a barber truck. So I would just cut hair, just like a food truck, but then the laws, it was super complicated and it was easier for me to actually go on a private site, which was an office and then cut hair to clients. So basically I’m selling the project to the business, at first, and then reach out to clients. So it’s a B, like business to business then to client. It was our way to go around the law and be able to work.
Killian Vigna: What was the whole buildup to The Regulars? What was your experience before that made you, because it’s such a unique model that… What made you decide rather than open up my own salon, or my own barbers, I’m going to do this? What was your path to that?
MJ Déziel: Honestly, I didn’t want to make it a business at first. It started from a joke where I was really busy in the salon and I wasn’t doing a lot of money. In a salon, you pretty much give… because you’re paid by commission and I was paying, I think, 40% of all my incomes. I think my commission was even like 37%, like very cheap, so I was working my ass off, not getting paid enough. Then I was really busy and one of my clients, who was a headhunter at Frame Store, at the time, it’s a movie effects office based in London, but they have an office in Montreal, and was like, “MJ why don’t you come cut hair at my office.”
It started as a joke and I said to Pierre Luc, “Yeah, sure, I’m going to come, but give me a few people to cut hair, so I don’t come just for you.” Then it happened. I didn’t have a proper setup. I was in front of the elevator where there was a mirror. He gave me a stool to put my tools on and an office chair. I had over 20 people coming to get their hair done. I was exhausted. I worked from eight to eight. It was something crazy, but there was a demand for it.
Then it was in November 2014, I think, then it was close to… They asked me to come back during December because it was Christmas and everything. I went there two times because it has over 40 appointments and then it started from there. I was like, “Okay, there’s demand for it.” It was guys, at first. So, guys, they don’t want to go out to get their hair done. They have it at work and I made a lot of money because it was only cash. Then with the cash I made I bought, it’s like a makeup case. Then just like a proper setup.
I bought that from China. It cost me like 1,000 bucks. Then I went there over a year. It was like my regular place if you will, and I make a lot of money. Then I asked one of my friends if he wanted to come with me. It kind of started like this and then one time it was New Year’s Eve and then there was another HR, like a friend of Pierre Luke, from Ubisoft and she’s like, “Oh my God, it’s a project that Ubisoft would like for sure and on and on.” They have over 3,000 employees there, you know. It was kind of a big deal for me.
Then during that time, I found my partner Phillip, who invested a lot of money in the company. Then pretty much started from a joke basically.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s really cool though how it grew really fast without you really having to push too hard for it. At the moment, the way it looks and the way it’s built, at the moment, if someone just fell upon your website, how would you describe the project to them, or if a company approached you?
MJ Déziel: Basically, we address the project differently for who we’re talking to. If we’re talking to the business, then it’s pretty much like a perk. We take care of the organization. It’s a clé-en-main. They don’t have to do anything, it’s free. Their employees are the ones who pay, so basically we are a company that goes into offices to offer lifestyle and well-being services, like right at the office.
Killian Vigna: That makes sense what you mean by it’s B2B2C.
MJ Déziel: Exactly.
Killian Vigna: So Ubisoft and such aren’t actually paying you, it’s, they’re giving you that freedom, or that space, to go in and then their clients will pay for it.
MJ Déziel: Exactly, that’s it.
Killian Vigna: I think it’s a brilliant idea because even this week alone you always see it in our company. Whatever about the girls, the girls always look great here, but the lads, it’s always like coming up to payday, or if we have a work event. That week you’ll just see all the lads daily getting their hair done. But, for me, I was trying to get it done in a bit of spare time during work, so I was trying to run out to the closest barber and most barbers then, because I’m going out at lunch, everyone else is busy during lunch. It took me three days before I could even get the haircut, so by offering a service to come in. We’d be more than happy, as a staff, and not just as a perk, but as a staff then to actually support a service like this.
MJ Déziel: For sure. We always say we’re giving you back free time. We’re giving you back your Thursday night or Wednesday or Saturday. It’s fun because you said the guys are happy with this, but you would be really surprised how much girls are coming in the chair, at the office, because they don’t want to lose time either. Our prices are gender neutral, so there’s no [inaudible].
Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s the thing, your prices are based on the time that the haircut takes.
MJ Déziel: The time, exactly, exactly. And that’s how it should be in my opinion. In every salon I worked in, there was gender price and, for me, it didn’t make any sense. I was starting my business, I do whatever I want.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: The Regulars doesn’t just offer haircuts. I was reading on the website, the other day, and you also offer massages and nail services and other things like that. You have quite a big team, at this stage?
MJ Déziel: Yeah, pretty much, and also there’s an application that’s coming, an app.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Sweet, so you can book-in in advance?
MJ Déziel: Yeah, let’s say The Regulars come at your office and then you guys just go on your app and there’s your information like your bank account is in there. Then you just book your massage. You book your nails. You book your hairdresser. So you’re basically at one click of your haircut.
Killian Vigna: You could even do that from your desk.
MJ Déziel: Yeah. It saves a lot of time.
Killian Vigna: I suppose it saves-
MJ Déziel: And it gives you fresh and happy.
Killian Vigna: Now, it’s a brilliant idea. Like you’re saying, you offer just more than haircuts now, at this stage. Anyone could go down and… Even if you didn’t plan on getting it done if you’re in the building you’re going to be more inclined to go down and get it done because you’re saving time.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely.
Killian Vigna: You’re not having to use up your lunch break. You’re not having to use up your evenings. How do you go about… Because, now I know it’s B2B2C, but you’re not marketing to the clients, really. How do you go about gaining this attraction to the bigger businesses?
MJ Déziel: What do you mean? How do I get clients or how do I get businesses?
Zoe Belisle-Springer: How do you get the attention of, say, Ubisoft, or I know you’ve worked with Cirque du Soleil or WeWork. Do the people usually come to you, or do you have to market through different ads or anything like that?
MJ Déziel: We didn’t do any campaign, like marketing campaign, it’s still a very startup-ish business… But as of January, we have a marketing plan. We just hired-
Zoe Belisle-Springer: A salesperson.
MJ Déziel: A salesperson, yeah, and another person at the opérations. We have this marketing plan, but, for now, we didn’t really market anything. It just happened. The HR people know each other and they just talk about the business and then we get a call. Then we just do a tryout. Then it goes on and on from there.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: How does it work? Do you go in every week or every two weeks, every month?
MJ Déziel: Every two weeks.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Every two weeks, okay. That regardless of the service? It could be hair. It could be nails. Does all the team come in on the same day-
MJ Déziel: No, we tried to be discrete. So we don’t go in, like all the team, at the same time. Usually, it’s more, let’s say, on Mondays is hairdressing, on Tuesdays, there’s the massage and stuff.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s amazing. That’s really cool.
MJ Déziel: Thanks, I’m proud.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, well, congrats on launching that anyways. I know that obviously, that’s one part of what you do on a day-to-day basis, but you also work with Redken, Canada’s Art Team, and you’ve been all over the place recently, like the Contessa Awards, the Redken huge campaign. What was that campaign about exactly?
MJ Déziel: Redken for Men is relaunching, they’re repackaging their line because they didn’t do any campaigns since 2007, I think. Then with all the fresh waves of barbering and stuff like that, they felt they needed to be in the game, so they repackaged everything. They launch beard oil, skin care, new products and stuff, so they asked me to do all the visuals to actually launch this campaign. It’s a pretty big deal, for me, at the moment. It’s moving fast.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I bet it is. I mean, at the same time I’m supposing you plan out some time to perfect your own training. I know you’ve gone to London quite a few times. I mean, you were in Dublin last year and we met up.
MJ Déziel: Well, I’m taking a class again in London in January. Man, where to begin? We’re launching in January, the first week in January, we’re launching the Redken Brews in Austin, Texas. Then I come back on the 24 of January, I’m going to London, taking a class. Then going to Berlin, come back here. February will be a quiet month. Then we’re doing this across Canada, a campaign. So starting in the Maritimes, ending on the West Coast. We’re doing every province in Canada to launch the Redken Brews. It’s going to be a pretty busy year, actually, with this launch.
Killian Vigna: Because running your own business isn’t busy enough.
MJ Déziel: Yeah, exactly.
Killian Vigna: How are juggling all of this? But it just goes to show, not only did you come across a really good idea, which is why we wanted to shed light on it because it’s such a cool idea and niche market, but you’ve built up those skills. You obviously have the background to enforce this, as well, like recruit by Redken and we’ve got list here, London, Dublin, Tokyo, Las Vegas. You’re all over the place. Well, globally I mean.
MJ Déziel: I really enjoy what I do. It seems like I work a lot, but I enjoy every second of it. It doesn’t… I’m working a lot, but it’s fun at the same time, so it doesn’t bother me, at all.
Killian Vigna: It does come across, because like you say, to be able to do well and stuff, you have to enjoy it. Don’t you?
MJ Déziel: Yeah, totally.
Killian Vigna: You have to enjoy what you do to help grow and develop it.
MJ Déziel: Of course, yeah.
Killian Vigna: MJ, it’s been great to have you on the show. Like we said, we were trying to think this week, “What would we do for a topic?” Zoe mentioned your venture and we just thought, “This is such a cool idea.” We just wanted to shed light because we always focus on salons, brick and mortar, just want to show what other people are doing outside of shop front businesses.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, because in the end, I mean, it’s clearly working better for you, this kind of business model, than to you working in a salon, in the end.
MJ Déziel: Yeah, giving me the freedom to actually not be in a space.
Killian Vigna: Yeah, exactly.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: It just goes to show that everyone is different and you just need to figure out what’s your own thing and what works for you, in the end.
MJ Déziel: Yeah, totally.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: If you’re not meant to be in a salon, maybe you’re meant to be an entrepreneur and, clearly, that’s your path.
Killian Vigna: Well, listen MJ, thanks for very much for joining us on the show. Wish you all the best with your ventures in 2018 because it sounds like it’s going to be one serious year for you.
MJ Déziel: Thank you so much guys for having me. It was really fun.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, keep us posted anyways on how things go. If we can catch up throughout the year.
Killian Vigna: Exactly.
MJ Déziel: Follow me on Instagram!
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’ll put the link up in the footnotes.
MJ Déziel: Thanks guys.
Killian Vigna: Alright, take care.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Cheers. So now, as usual, moving on to our Phorest Academy webinars section. We have on the schedule…
Killian Vigna: Yeah, so we only have one coming up this week and what we have is the final one of the Salon Growth Series. What that one is, is boosting your online presence and attract a new business. That’s going to be the client-based on and that’s done with our in-house, online reputation expert, Niamh Greaney.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Then, if you’re looking a little further down the line, we have on January 22nd, the next Instagram masterclass with Chris Brennan on Phorest Academy, so that’s on from 10 AM to 11 AM, US Eastern time, or 3 PM UK, or 3 PM to 4 PM UK, Irish time. If you want to jump on that webinar, all you have to do is actually go through our Facebook page, in the events section, find the webinar called Instagram Masterclass, get tickets. The tickets are free. It’s just a registration link and you’ll get your joining link through your emails, for joining in on the day.
Killian Vigna: Next week’s episode is… It’s actually a pre-recorded one. We did do it last week because it’s a take off of the Salon Owners Summit that we had here. The day after the salon owners we had Inside Phorest where salon owners can come in and learn more about the product, meet staff, and things like those; presentation with Patty. But on the day, we actually had a panel show.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly, yeah.
Killian Vigna: We brought two salon owners on and we brought our business analyst on, from our customer success team, and what we talked about was how to review, or how to go about reviewing your business.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Things to look out for, reports to look out for.
Killian Vigna: Exactly. But we just brought salon owners to get how they do it and then kind of introduced the audience to see if there’s anything they’re missing, or if everyone’s on top of it. Then Sean, our business analyst, names his top reports and things like those. It all works towards building your strategy for 2018.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, that’s next week’s episode. If you want to leave a comment, or even suggest someone for us to get on the show, please leave us a review on iTunes, on Stitcher, we’re there as well, this year. If you want to hit us up through any of our social media channels, feel free to do that, as well. Other than that, we wish you a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Monday.
Killian Vigna: All the best.
Thanks for reading!