How to Choose a Hair, Beauty or Cosmetics Business That's Right for You

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choosing hair beauty cosmetics business

You know you’d like to start a business in the hair, beauty and cosmetics industry – but you’re not sure which type of venture is right for you. Here, we take a look at some of the most common hair, beauty and cosmetics businesses and the attributes you’d have if you were well-suited to running them.


It’s a great time to join the beauty industry; it’s thought to be worth more than £410 billion across the world and is growing day by day. The skincare sector in particular is experiencing a surge in profitability, having increased in value by £15.5 million between 2014 and 2019. In the UK, 43,000 beauty businesses generate over £7.5 billion of revenue, so there’s clearly a market for new businesses to tap into.

But if you’re not sure which type of beauty business is right for you, don’t despair. We’ve created a rundown of some of the most popular types to help you make your mind up.

1. Hair salon / barber shop

A hair salon or barber shop is a great choice if you enjoy providing hair treatments over other kinds of services. The majority of people visit a salon for their haircuts, so you’ll meet all sorts of people who you can build up a relationship with.

If you’re going to carry out the haircuts yourself, you’ll need to be able to work quickly to make sure customers don’t spend hours in the chair, and perform other small jobs. This could include sweeping up the workstation after each haircut and taking appointments on the phone. Being a hairdresser or barber also involves being on your feet a lot, so you’ll need to be fit enough to stand for most of your working day.

Choosing the right hair salon / barber shop franchise

The most profitable hair businesses provide a range of different services to attract as many customers as possible. Look out for businesses that offer supplementary treatments alongside cuts and blow-dries, such as hair masques, highlights and perms. Also, most franchisees are given a list of approved suppliers and stock, so make sure the franchise you join uses popular and high-quality products.

Before deciding to use a new hair business, many customers judge it on how it looks from the outside. For this reason, franchise units with a smart exterior and stylish interior are likely to outperform those that have seen better days. Bear this in mind and opt to join a franchise with an attractive brand identity and a dedication to investing in good equipment.



2. Beauty treatment salon

This header covers a range of different types of beauty businesses. By setting up a treatment salon, you could provide any number of the following services:

  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Waxing, eyebrow threading and other forms of hair removal
  • Facials and skincare treatments
  • Make-up application (for weddings and other special events)
  • Foot treatments

By opting for a beauty franchise with the capability of offering one or more of these services, you can hone your skills and specialise in a particular area. One of the biggest advantages of starting a business in this sector is the opportunity to be a part of your customers’ special occasions. For example, a make-up artist might help the bride and bridesmaids get ready for a wedding.

Choosing the right beauty treatment franchise

Beauty treatment franchises come in all shapes and sizes. Find one with an atmosphere and set of values that suit you. Your chosen business should also uphold good practices and safety standards, and move with the times, offering the latest techniques and trends to keep customers interested.

You may also want to think about joining a franchise with established partnerships. For example, a make-up company will be able to attract more customers by attending wedding fairs or networking with event planners.

If you’re interested in becoming a beauty business franchisee, take a look at Lash Perfect’s investment opportunity here.

3. Massage / tanning parlour

This type of business is similar to the treatment salons above, but takes a slightly different approach. The atmosphere is relaxing and it is not necessary to make regular conversation with customers. Your clients might treat your services as more indulgent than getting their nails done, for example, so it’s a great route if you want to develop an upmarket business.

Choosing the right massage / tanning parlour franchise

Like the beauty treatment parlours listed above, massage and tanning parlours need to have an attractive exterior if they’re to appeal to potential customers. So, look out for a franchise with a smart appearance and brand identity that encourages people to foster trust. Reputation is also key for businesses offering massages and tanning services, so don’t invest in a franchise without positive reviews and good standing.

4. Beauty products store

Another route to take is selling products as opposed to services. Opening a store will enable you to offer customers cosmetics, perfumes and toiletries, and become an expert in beauty products. To excel in this position, you should be keen to advise customers and give recommendations to improve their skincare and beauty routines.

Choosing the right beauty products store franchise

As previously mentioned, you may be limited in the stock you can choose to showcase in your store. For this reason, you should choose a franchise with a product range you’d be proud to sell yourself. You may also want to think about buying into a franchise with additional income streams; for instance, Boots offers make-up treatments to customers who pop in.

Guinot could be the franchise for you if you want to start a beauty products store. Click here to find out about its investment opportunity.

5. Mobile salon

For flexible working hours and the chance to get away from your desk, opt for a mobile salon. You’ll be able to mould your working day around existing commitments and be there for your friends and family. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get out and about and meet with new people on a daily basis.

Being a mobile hairdresser or beautician gives you the chance to form deeper relationships with your customers, as you’ll arrange one-to-one consultations and appointments in their own homes.

Choosing the right mobile salon franchise

The franchise should have an effective marketing scheme in place and provide branded equipment and products wherever possible. Vehicle liveries and branded uniforms are two major factors when it comes to successful marketing.

Also, make sure the franchise can offer its franchisees a good support network, including invitations to annual conferences and networking events. As you may be working on your own for most of the day, you’ll benefit from being able to meet with likeminded entrepreneurs from time to time.

Healthy Feet is just one of the mobile beauty businesses in operation at the moment. Click here to learn more about its franchise opportunity.

6. Online store

Starting an online beauty store can give you even more freedom than a mobile franchise. By managing a store from the comfort of your own home, you can improve your work-life balance and spend more time with your family. If you have the motivation to lead your business to profitability, this could be the opportunity for you.

Choosing the right online store franchise

Again, you should opt to join a beauty store franchise that stocks a good range of products. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their shopping choices, demand for new kinds of products is growing. So, make sure the business you choose sells environmentally friendly products, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

And because you won’t occupy a spot on your local high street, it’s vital the franchise puts the work in when it comes to marketing. Find a beauty business with an innovative and proactive approach to advertising, particularly on social media, where many consumers learn more about the latest trends and products.



Joining the hair, beauty and cosmetics sector

There are a few factors you need to bear in mind, no matter what type of beauty business you want to invest in. A trustworthy brand and positive reputation will always set franchisees on the path to success and profitability. And if you’re not already an expert in your field, make sure you join a franchise with a comprehensive training programme. Then, you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know before you launch your new business.

To learn more about some of the best hair, beauty or cosmetics businesses looking for franchisees, see our article on the top hair and beauty franchises in the UK.

>> Read more articles on the Beauty sector

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