Stories from the Covid-19 Front Lines: CEO Q&A with Meg Roberts of The Lash Lounge
Name: Meg Roberts
Title: CEO, President
Brand: The Lash Lounge (a Franworth company)
Segment: Personal care services, beauty
Units: 103, approx. 20 more pending
Locations: 30 states
How has Covid-19 affected your brand?
Covid-19 has shuttered the doors of every salon, but it has not dimmed the spirit of our company, our employees, or our enthusiastic clients. As with nearly every business, Covid-19 has affected our operations, our ability to serve guests, and our ability to create a place to work. Interestingly though, it also has affected our hearts and our affirmation of the service we provide: it’s not just about lashes, it’s about living, connecting, and being with others. It has affected our belief that we are certain our guests and employees are part of a bigger community that is our salons.
What are you doing to help your franchisees through this?
On March 16, we initiated a Daily Digest protocol, where each day we focused on a single message. This approach helped to soothe our franchisees’ worries and affirm for them that their questions and ideas were being considered, while not overwhelming our team. Each week started with a clear schedule of deliverables, day by day, topic by topic. We even branded our “comeback” plans,” built our entire program around this fun “brand identity,” and initiated a Refresh & Revive social campaign to share good news among our network. Our franchisees have been directly guided on everything from proper closing procedures, membership retention, and cash flow analysis to retail pivots, social engagement, and a new hiring platform.
How are you supporting your corporate employees?
Our team is in four remote locations, so we adapted quickly to “Zoom Nation” and have enjoyed meeting twice a day, at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., to triage and confirm our Daily Digests. After 3 weeks of twice a day, we are meeting with executives once a day and the entire team once a week. We make an effort to have fun, laugh, and tell jokes on our calls. We even hosted a pet party!
How are your franchisees supporting their employees?
Our franchisees are focused first on reopening strong so their employees have a great salon to return to. We also proactively started a private Facebook community just for stylists well before Covid-19 as a place for learning and engagement. This community has proven to be a great lifeline for stylists to engage with one another, to talk lashing, and to feel connected – even though it’s informal and not a requirement.
How do you see the future of your brand, operations, market, etc. post–Covid-19?
We are really excited to reopen and ROAR! Like most newer franchise concepts, we had kinks to work out a few years ago, but we had just hit our stride in Q1 2020, so we know with 100% confidence what this system is made of, how tenacious and talented our franchisees are, and, frankly, how devoted our lash clients truly are. We are incredibly optimistic about reopening with a bang and having all the systems and processes in place that perhaps we didn’t in our earliest openings. If ever there was second chance to make another great impression… well this is it, and we are taking it! In terms of direct operations, we will be even more adamant about our strict hygiene and cleanliness requirements. We expect our stylists, whose certification by The Lash Lounge is incredibly detailed, to perform their craft with the expertise and professionalism that differentiates us from the rest. And we are certain our guests and members are eager to return to our lash beds and be reminded of our attention to detail, cleanliness, and care.
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