How to start a beauty franchise

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beauty shop

Many of us in Britain are happy to part with much of our hard-earned cash in order to look and feel good. In fact, a survey commissioned by Fragrance Direct discovered that women in the UK spend an average of £482.51 a year on beauty products. That’s £2.39 a day spent on the 12 face products that most makeup bags contain.

And it’s the experimental youth who top the spending leader board, with 16-24-year-olds using an average of 16 beauty products a day, worth £153 in total. Unsurprisingly, the older generation fork out on the most expensive products, with anti-ageing serums costing an average of £17.41 a time.

Health and beauty businesses UK

So, is it a good time to open a beauty shop business in the UK? Well, the industry stats seem to confirm that the sector is thriving, and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

Despite the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the high street seemingly losing its appeal, humble cosmetics businesses are still a firm favourite for Brits. In fact, in the next five years, UK consumers will be willing to spend even more on health and beauty products according to GlobalData, which will see the market reaching £26.7 billion by 2022.

‘The UK Health & Beauty Market 2017-2022’ report cited a couple of reasons for the anticipated growth in the sector. Firstly, we’re increasingly living in a looks-obsessed culture fuelled by social media, which boosts demand for the latest products on the market. Secondly, with the introduction of new ingredients and continual product innovation, retailers need to ensure that they stay up to date with trends or risk losing out to competitors.

Beauty shop business names

The leading health and beauty business in the UK is Boots, with around 1,500 stores serving in the region of eight million customers every week. Not only does Boots stock a range of products from top beauty brands, but it also develops and sells own-brand products, some of which are leaders in their respective markets.

Which health and beauty businesses are frontrunners in the industry?

Surprisingly, it’s supermarket brands Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's that make the list ahead of Superdrug, which sits in fifth place. Thanks to the busy lifestyles that Brits now lead, the convenience of being able to purchase beauty products at the same time as doing the weekly shop is appreciated.

Low-cost beauty shop businesses

However, price also plays a huge factor for many consumers. This has resulted in consumers swapping low-value essential beauty purchases for even more cost-effective versions. Retailers such as Lidl, Aldi and Poundland have invested heavily in key beauty products to entice price-sensitive shoppers to make the switch.

In-store or online cosmetics business?

Buying products from a shop-front style beauty shop business remains the most popular way to shop. But while 90 percent of shoppers purchase in store, spending continues to shift online with sales expected to reach £3.1 billion in 2022.

Cosmetic businesses online

It may seem unusual that consumers would buy beauty products online without being able to see, touch and try them. But, in reality, this is the future of shopping. A lot of consumers rely on YouTube videos, online reviews and social media influences to decide which product they want to buy. This therefore means there is less of a need to look at the products in real life.

Online beauty shop businesses can offer some benefits that a physical version can’t. These include:

  • Convenience – Repeat purchases of regularly used products are easier to carry out online.
  • Reviews – Online feedback from other shoppers that have bought a product is a powerful influencer when it comes to beauty products. Consumers give more credence to the opinions of their peers than the sales assistant paid to sell the products in store.
  • Inspiration – Online shops can include makeover and beauty ideas on their website to encourage purchases. Tutorials about how to use different products are also helpful and play a large part in the shopper’s decision to buy.

There is an opportunity for retailers with a presence on the high street to compete with purely online retailers by differentiating their offering. They could gain a competitive advantage by implementing a way for consumers to achieve a ‘digital touch’ when it comes to their beauty products. These could include:

  • Developing apps with facial recognition or skin-tone tests to recommend products without the need to go in store.
  • Addition of consumer discussion boards so that shoppers can share product recommendations and tips as well as before and after photos.
  • Video tutorials from beauty experts.
  • Free delivery with no minimum spend.
  • Including free samples with every shipment.

Why is starting a beauty shop business a good idea?

  1. The UK beauty industry is thriving. As we’ve already discussed, the health and beauty industry in the UK is booming and is expected to continue to do so for many years to come.
  2. The UK beauty industry is innovating. There is constant research being conducted in the different sectors of the beauty industry in order to improve products and fulfil consumer needs. An estimated €2.35 billion is spent on beauty product research every year in Europe. One of the main areas of research is swapping natural ingredients for artificial substances.
  3. Social media influencers. Many customers prefer to see role models or someone relevant to cultural movements in cosmetics advertisements rather than big celebrities. For this reason, many beauty brands are hiring social media sensations as ambassadors. This has been one of the most significant evolutions in the beauty industry in the UK and across the globe.

How to start a beauty shop franchise

  1. Find a niche. You want to give potential customers a reason to visit your business rather than your competitors.
  2. Consider your target customer. The type of products you sell and the way you market them will depend on who they are aimed at.
  3. Craft a business plan. Writing a detailed business plan is important to secure funding from lenders.
  4. Purchase your stock. Buying from a wholesaler will save you money, but remember to read reviews thoroughly and request samples.

For a more in-depth look at the points covered here, see another one of our articles.


If you’d like to start a beauty shop franchise of your own, then you should consider Guinot. Founded in 1972 with more than 11,000 salons in 70 countries, 210 of which are franchised, Guinot has over 40 years of experience providing customers with high-quality products.

From a financial perspective, you’ll need to raise an initial investment of between £85,000 to £125,000. However, a personal contribution of just 30 percent to 50 percent is required. You can choose between one of two routes to franchise ownership. The first is conversion and involves transforming your existing salon into a Guinot unit. The second option will see you opening a new franchise unit and developing it from scratch.

In return for your investment, you’ll receive help to set up your salon, guidance on the Guinot branding and ongoing support from the experienced franchise management team. You’ll attend a one-week training course that covers daily operations, brand knowledge, advertising and digital software use. This is followed by a two-day period during which you shadow an existing franchisee.

Guinot offers an excellent opportunity to become your own boss while enjoying the benefits of being part of one of the leading beauty product suppliers in the world.

If you’ve always been passionate about beauty treatments and want to have a more hands-on role, you could steer away from beauty shop ownership and start a mobile beautician business.

Similar Opportunity

Rush Hair

Rush Hair is one of our most exciting hair salon franchise opportunities and it is one of the largest in the UK. There are over 90 branches in the UK, and they collectively colour, cut and style around 16,000 customers every week. The ambitious brand is keen to further its UK presence and is using the franchise model to do so.

It’s success has not gone unnoticed, and since its launch it has formed partnerships with leading hair brands like L’Oreal, ghd and REDKEN.

In order to be accepted as a Rush Hair franchisee, you need to make a minimum investment of £15,000.

Start a mobile beautician business

By starting a mobile beautician business rather than a beauty clinic, you can appeal to a larger pool of customers. Some customers might not be able to travel to the salon on their own due to mobility issues or an incredibly hectic lifestyle, and this is where your mobile beautician business comes in. However, some customers might prefer coming into a salon for a more luxurious experience if they don’t associate their home with relaxation.

By having your own branded vehicle, by simply being parked outside one of your customer’s houses you are exposing your brand to potential customers. Operating a mobile business means you can save a substantial amount of money on the cost of rent and utilities. Your main expense will be petrol and your products.

>> Read more articles on the Beauty Salon sector

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