Australian Haircare Giant ‘Just Cuts’ Announces Canadian Expansion, Eyes Alberta and Ontario for Initial Salons [Interview]

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Australian-based Just Cuts is set to launch its first of many Canadian salons in the near future as the brand looks to expand to the Canadian market.

Just Cuts was founded by Denis McFadden on one simple idea – that people want quality style haircuts from a qualified Stylist, at an affordable price. This notion changed the hairdressing industry forever and still remains the purpose of Just Cuts today, 30 years on, says the company.

The company, which began in 1982, is based in Sydney, Australia. It started franchising in 1990. 

Rendering: Just Cuts
Denis Mcfadden

When McFadden started the business with six dollar haircuts and no appointments, he had a line up out the door.

“He said I’m onto something here,” said Amber Manning, CEO.

She said one day one of his hairdressers told him that she wanted to start her own business but she wanted to do it exactly how McFadden was doing it. She asked McFadden to speak with her father about it.

Amber Manning

McFadden, Manning’s step father, went to speak with the hairdresser’s father who asked about a franchise agreement. 

“He said ‘I’ll get you that’. He didn’t know what a franchise agreement was. Looked up in the Yellow Pages the Australian Franchise Association and contacted them and asked for a franchise agreement. That’s how the first franchise salon in 1990 took off,” said Manning.

“It was interesting. She was obviously a hairdresser but what had happened she was actually pregnant and had a baby the time the salon was opening. And that was when he realized the business could run itself and you don’t have to be a hairdresser to run Just Cuts. So that’s why we do have a combination of franchisees where we have some owners who are actually hairdressers in the business but a lot of our owners are investors or multi-unit owners. Sixty five per cent of our salons are multi-unit owners meaning they own more than two stores.”

Rendering: Just Cuts

Currently the brand has 235 salons. They operate in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Taiwan.

“We’re looking to open (in Canada) between July and September. We’ve got three deals in Calgary. Our focus areas are looking at the Toronto, Calgary, Ontario areas to begin with and then we’ll look to expand from there,” said Manning.

The brand is set to open this year locations in Calgary, Edmonton and Mississauga.

In addition to their Canadian launch, Just Cuts is also offering its line of affordable hair products, JUSTICE, in-store and online. 

“This year we’re aiming for five (in Canada) and then 10 in the second year,” added Manning.

Image: Just Cuts

She said salons are about 800 to 1,000 square feet. 

“We’re predominantly in shopping centres. Because we’re a no appointment, no request, salon, people are out shopping, getting their groceries, they’re just hoping to get a haircut. We’re not an appointment destination salon. It’s a convenience. So people come to Just Cuts for value and for convenience. They know they can pop in, get their haircut, pop out,” said Manning.

“I guess the great thing with our technology is they can check in for their haircut on the app and they will receive an SMS when they’re next on the queue. So they actually can continue shopping until they’re ready to get their haircut.”

Manning said the Canadian market is similar to Australia in terms of culture as well as government and policy. 

“We really feel the culture of franchising in Canada is a really good one,” she said. 

“We’re just seeing a gap in the market. When we’ve done our research in shopping centres it’s quite expensive to get your haircut. Sometimes it can be upwards of $60 to $100 to just get a haircut in a shopping centre. So we know that we’re a value-based brand. We’re very much in that middle market and we want to be affordable for everybody but obviously we want to be in locations where it’s high foot traffic. So our price point is around that $35 to $40.

“There are no surprises. Whether you have short hair, long hair, male or female, we don’t discriminate. Everyone is charged the same price.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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