Julie Vargas: 25 Years of Helping Stylists Grow Their Careers At Sport Clips

As a newlywed and young mother, Julie Vargas felt the struggle many parents feel in the attempt to create work-life balance. As a salon manager with a competing brand, she saw her effectiveness as a store manager being questioned just because she was a working mother.

It became clear to her, that she and the rest of her team were viewed as replaceable rather than as valued team members. This lack of investment the company had in their stylists and managers did not sit well with Vargas.

About the same time a friend told her about a new concept coming to town. Vargas was instantly intrigued with the Sport Clips brand. After learning more about Sport Clips Haircuts, she could tell this was a company she wanted to be a part of.

“Sport Clips has always been about putting people first. The way they develop their managers goes far beyond the rest of the industry. The opportunities for professional development are unparalleled. The culture encourages growth and sharing of strengths.”

Offering flexibility and the ability to support a family, Sport Clips offers better work life balance in an industry that often lacks a defined career path for stylists. In 2018, Comparably, a company which provides employees comprehensive company compensation and culture data, recognized the brand in the top 50 for best company leadership, best company managers and best CEO for women, ahead of Fortune 100 companies like General Motors, eBay, Delta Airlines and Dell Computer. Sport Clips is the only franchise to be included in this elite group, a reflection of the strong culture and family feel that permeate all Sport Clips nationwide.

Vargas career path attests to that. Beginning her career with Sport Clips in 1996 as store manager for one of the brand’s very first stores. From there she became a coach, moving up from regional coach to an area coach and then to a technical coach for the entire network. Today, she is senior director of career development and part of the brand’s leadership team.

Vargas is one of the haircutting industry’s top thought leaders when it comes to recruiting and retention of stylists. She says, “When I was asked to head up career opportunities it was a new position for the company at that time. We really didn’t know what that would look like in the beginning. Gordon is so well respected in this industry and he helped me get connected with the top people to learn from. I’ve had some incredible mentors who have helped me along the way.”

Over the years, Vargas has seen Sport Clips grow exponentially, as the brand went from one store in Austin, Texas to today having over 1,700 stores and a presence in all 50 states and in Canada. Saying, “Throughout all the growth, the foundation of the core values and the 5 Point Play have stayed the same. From there it has been about perfecting services and pricing tiers.”

“Sport Clips does a good job managing standards and staying true to the model. The technical structure established ensures consistency, accuracy and ergonomics. Other brands allow owners to dilute the concept and it loses its effectiveness,” she adds.

Vargas has achieved great success during her impressive career with the brand, but when asked what makes her most proud about working with Sport Clips she says, “One stylist in particular comes to mind. When she first started with us, she used to have to tell her son that he could only have one thing from his Christmas list every year. We celebrated the year she came to me and said she was able to buy him his entire list. And just recently she was able to buy her first home! It was incredible to see how far she came, and her career with Sport Clips helped her get there.”