Franchising · 21 January 2016

High Definition: A beauty brand with a different franchising vision

High Definition training image
The first High Definition Boutiques will open in Notting Hill, London and Manchester in early 2016

Beauty brand High Definition has announced the launch of a unique franchise model throughout the UK in a move to surge business growth. Business Advice spoke with High Definition co-founder and CEO Nilam Holmes-Patel to find out more.

Called “High Definition Boutiques”, the franchise model gives qualified beauty therapists and stylists the chance to own their own salon for a joining fee of £20,705. Comprising four styling chairs, two treatment rooms and a make up bar, franchisees will also benefit from exclusive territory, bespoke boutique fitting and training that could see them earn up to £250,000 a year.

(1) What’s the story behind the launch of High Definition Boutiques?

The vision behind the High Definition Boutique franchise model was to create a complete salon destination with a treatment menu that offered popular and profitable treatments that were proven to work. I’ve had the most fantastic 24 years working in the industry, and during that time I have worked with many beauty experts, as well as doctors and medical specialists, who I have gathered extensive knowledge and expertise from. All of these specialists have played a part in our franchise concept.

In 2008 I launched High Definition Brows – the first tailored brow treatment of its kind. Over the years we gained global recognition, winning a variety of awards, and still stand as the UK’s number-one, market leading brow treatment for high definition eyebrows.

The brand expanded in March 2014 to include an 81-product-strong make up range. Today more than 275 retailers now stock our make up line, with stockists ranging from individual make up artists to large salon chains.

(2) What’s unique about the franchise model?

High Definition Boutiques will be fully backed and supported by the brand, with every aspect of the business being true to the High Definition heritage – covering everything from marketing to uniforms.

We offer the full range of High Definition treatments, rather than offering a variety of beauty services under other branded names. Each boutique is supported by High Definition products and will house staff that have been exclusively educated at our High Definition institute; many of these treatments and products are unavailable anywhere else on the market and limited to franchisees.

This fully comprehensive business package allows active business owners to be a part of, and profit from, a leading beauty business, while at the same time becoming an extension of the High Definition brand.

(3) What are the legalities and financial factors involved in joining and/or setting up a franchise? 

A franchisee would normally go through an interview process to ensure they are a suitable fit with the brand. This is where considerations such as existing business commitments and funding will be evaluated. In the current financial climate, banks are supporting the franchise initiative as it is seen as safe, which is a great position to be in. It is important to remember that the franchisee has all the legal responsibilities that an independent salon owner has.

(4) Is franchising the best model for growing a business in the beauty industry? If so, why?

Independent salon owners have to carefully select different brands to enhance their reputation, which can sometimes be conflicting, or a problem if the brand loses credibility or popularity. Under our franchise model, all treatments and products fall under the same brand name, so franchisees already have a superior place on the market.  The Toni&Guy franchise model provides a great example of this: automatic recognition behind the brand’s name boosts new custom to the franchisee’s business, based on the company’s training, marketing and above all, reputation.

(5) How do you strike a balance between providing enough support for franchisees to succeed and not interfering with the day-to-day running of their business?

Too often we see therapists turn into salon owners with very little business training. On top of this the salon owner tends to have very little time to spend on business development when they are involved so critically in day-to-day operations. There are certain qualities that every franchisee should ideally possess and our process ensures that we “recruit” individuals who tick the right boxes.

We seek franchisees who have strong management and leadership skills, good business and financial acumen, but most importantly, the desire to learn and succeed. We offer them education, training and support before they open the doors. We offer 24/7 support, however the majority of the business decisions being made for the franchise will come from the franchisee, as it is their business after all. Most input from the franchisor is strategic on a wider scale, but the day-to-day management must come from the franchisee.

(6) How crucial is it for franchisors to provide support and guidance to franchisees?

The success of a franchise hinges on the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees. It is therefore crucial for to provide continual support and guidance. Our franchisees will be fully supported in every element, including education, the initial launch and on-going marketing support as well as recruitment assistance.

This on-going guidance and expertise helps to build and sustain successful working relationships between the franchisee and us, the franchisor. High Definition Boutiques automatically become brand ambassadors, so we have to ensure that management of the franchise is cohesive with ours.

(7) Where do you plan to go with High Definition Boutiques in the next few years?

Following the UK launch of High Definition Boutiques, the franchise model will then be rolled out internationally into major cities leading to the global marketplace. Plans are already in place to launch flagship salons in numerous locations overseas over the next two years.

Successful franchising can achieve fast growth for a business, and the method is gaining increasing exposure. Watching the latest series of The Apprentice, Business Advice recognised that two out of the five finalists pitched franchise-based opportunities to Alan Sugar. But what makes a brand strong enough to franchise?

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.


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