Nancy Vandiver will tell you that very little has changed at Sport Clips Haircuts over the last 25 years, though certain things have been fine-tuned and technology has made things easier. As someone who has been with Sport Clips system since the beginning, Vandiver has a unique perspective on the brand’s journey to become one of the most successful haircare franchises.
With 47 years in the haircutting industry, Nancy’s expertise and experience has been an incredible asset to the Sport Clips brand. Founder and CEO, Gordon Logan, then a Command Performance franchisee, first met Nancy when she was a stylist and then eventually in charge of training for the same brand. As he went to assemble his All-Star Team to develop Sport Clips, she was at the top of his list.
Nancy says of the brand’s beginnings, “No one else was focusing on guys at the time. We did a focus group of this demographic and listened to what they wanted in a salon. They wanted convenience, quality, no hassle, and most of all simple.
“Everything was designed with guys in mind, even the layout of the store. It’s an elevated barber shop. We wanted it to be the neighborhood place to go, where guys felt comfortable.”
Nancy became vice president of education for Sport Clips. She had a hand in laying much of the foundation, which has made the business model so simple and sustainable. “It was very important that we never outdistanced our ability to train and support team leaders. We were very careful to build an infrastructure and foundation that would grow with the company,” says Nancy.
Adding, “I have great admiration for the early team leaders that, at the time, took a risk on such a new concept, followed the systems and made the company what it is today. I could teach it, but with them and their commitment, it might not have gotten to be what it is today.”
The decision to not require stores to sell branded products was intentional, and as a result, Sport Clips doesn’t make money from products sold in-store. In addition, according to Nancy, the stylist training system is extensive and easily duplicated, ensuring consistency and quality across the network. Nancy was instrumental in the creation of the brand’s operations manuals. “We were very deliberate and meticulous in the creation of the operations manuals,” she says. “The intent was to make expectations very clear. It shows team leaders what a good job looks like. It covers everything, even cleaning, maintenance and sanitation.”
After retiring from a leadership position with the brand, Nancy opened her first Sport Clips store in 2000 and will soon be opening her fourth. The decision to become a team leader was twofold. “First, I love this industry, it feels good to have my own stores,” she explains. “And second, I felt it was important to walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk. I can better mentor other team leaders because I am a team leader, too. I am experiencing the same things they are.”
Nancy concludes, “From the beginning I have felt a passion for the foundation of Sport Clips, from the values and mission statement to the standards and Five Point Play, and most of all the people.”
Whether as the vice president of education or as a team leader, Nancy has spent her career building up those around her and has left an indelible mark on the system’s solid foundation.