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It all started with Mr Jeff in 2015,” explains Carlos Vidal, vice president of enterprise at Jeff. “That’s the concept that kick-started everything. It was like the Uber of laundry.”
When Mr Jeff was first introduced to the world, it solved a very simple problem: the fact that 78 per cent of people think that washing and ironing is one of the worst household chores. The solution? A revival of the laundry industry, with a ground-breaking app handling the pick-up, processing, and subsequent return of a customer’s laundry.
Realizing early on that simply acting as an aggregator didn’t allow for consistent quality control, the Mr Jeff team soon pivoted to a franchise model. “We used franchising as a distribution method to grow our brand and keep a close, direct control on the processes and procedures; overall, boosting the customer experience,” says Vidal. “Since then, we have scaled worldwide, and now operate in over 40 countries with more than 2,300 units sold.”
THE START OF SOMETHING SPECIAL
Having established Mr Jeff as a leading international concept, the team behind the revolutionary service started looking for something new. Something bigger. The next step, it turned out, was based entirely on the lessons and infrastructure honed by almost half a decade of continuous growth.
“It was around a year ago when we decided: why not apply our same philosophy to other industries, in which there is no clear global leader?” says Vidal. “We could use our experience and build our technology layer into the offering. So we created a new vision for the company – to create a new ecosystem of services, with access to different industries under the same platform and proven branding; all of which customers could access through their phone.”
Off the back of this brainstorming came three complementary brands, which all contributed to the exponential growth of the Jeff name: Beauty Jeff, Fit Jeff, and Relax Jeff. All took advantage of the convenient business-in-a-box model perfected by Mr Jeff, and are supported by the group’s proprietary business management software, Jeff Suite.
INTRODUCING SMART BEAUTY
The first of these, Beauty Jeff, is built on the idea of smart beauty; that is, bringing the digital and physical worlds together through the use of one single, full-service app. The Jeff app allows Beauty Jeff customers to check available slots, and then request a ‘turn’ in the salon. Not only does this keep the experience seamless for the customer, but it allows Beauty Jeff franchisees to run a streamlined, efficient operation.
“This is a very fragmented industry, and there’s no clear international leader. That’s what we aim to be,” says Vidal. “It starts with a philosophy of putting a focus on the customer, and not on the stylist. We only include the most popular services in our offering; that way, we are able to specialize, standardize, and optimize our concept. It offers value for money for the customer, and that, paired with our technology layer, is a real differentiator in the beauty market.”
By only offering the most frequently used services at Beauty Jeff, the concept is able to remain timely and adaptable; each center’s offering is aligned with user data and feedback obtained through the Jeff app.
“It’s similar to a restaurant; if you just depend on your chef, you won’t be as efficient as if you depend on proven processes and systems, and the standardization of your ingredients.”
Relax Jeff, the organization’s relaxation and wellbeing brand is similarly driven by digital feedback. Four main massages are available – focusing on back/neck, head, leg/ foot, and full-body – but these are specialized so that only the most demanded services are provided. Sessions are also kept at 20 to 30 minutes, which not only minimizes wasted time but allows customer retention to remain at the forefront of business strategy.
“It’s not about having huge salons; it’s about efficiency,” says Vidal. “The common denominator across our brands is our smart investment model. We’re very considered when asking entrepreneurs to invest different amounts of money because we don’t want to waste any dollars. That way, we can offer a higher return on investment.”
PUTTING COMMUNITY FIRST
With Jeff’s fourth investment opportunity, Fit Jeff, much thought has been put into ensuring that customers aren’t just attracted to classes, but that they become long- time fans of the brand.
“Small group training and boutique fitness concepts are very successful, and also moving toward specialization,” explains Vidal. “The big-box gyms where people were working out independently are appealing to a small proportion of the population. But the people that don’t typically go to the gym? That’s the group that we’re really interested in and it’s where the opportunity lies.”
“Bringing the digital and physical worlds together through the use of one single, full-service app”
Designed as an oasis in the city, Fit Jeff locations are typically 75 square meters and require only one or two employees. Classes are kept small and community-focused, and a lack of machinery keeps investment and maintenance costs down for franchisees.
“It’s easy for fitness concepts to attract people, but it’s much harder to ensure that they stay for a lengthier period of time,” says Vidal. “That sense of belonging is what makes people stick around, so customer retention increases.”
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
Across the entire Jeff ecosystem, the group is looking for knowledgeable multi-unit investors who recognize the benefits of joining a tech-enabled platform. Specific experience in fitness, beauty, massages, or laundry isn’t required, because of Jeff’s “plug-and-play” model. What is needed is a passion for customer service, and the ability to scale-up a business once Jeff’s proven model takes hold in a franchisee’s respective market.
“We are a 100 per cent franchising company, so our success is completely tied to our franchisee’s success,” says Vidal. “But in order to be successful, we need to be really good at empathy and putting ourselves in the franchisee’s shoes. We only make money if our franchisees do; we only grow when they do.”
AT A GLANCE
Number of franchised outlets: 2000+
Location of units: LATAM, EMEA, APAC
Investment range: From $250,000
Minimum required capital: From $250,000
Contact: Carlos Vidal, firstname.lastname@example.org
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