Tommy Callahan: Industry Great Lending His Expertise to Sport Clips Haircuts Championship Experience

With 52 years in the salon industry, Tommy Callahan’s resume is impressive. A long-time vice president of worldwide education for John Paul Mitchell Systems, Callahan has also been an owner of a John Paul Mitchell school in Memphis, Tennessee and even did a stint as an advisor to the photography department of a prominent magazine publication.

Callahan is a well-respected thought leader in the haircare industry. Sport Clips Haircuts Founder and CEO Gordon Logan knew that to be the best he needed to consult the best, so he sought out Callahan to advise on the creation of the stylist training systems for his emerging brand.

The Sport Clips team worked with Callahan to develop the brand’s signature All Star Haircutting System prior to opening the first Sport Clips in 1993, based on a system that Callahan had developed for full-service salons. This system and its unmatched coaching system both set Sport Clips apart in its industry. “Constant and never-ending improvement is how I would describe the process of how these systems have evolved over the years,” comments Callahan.

Of the All-Star Haircutting System, Callahan says, “The system is the best out there. The training is structured so that it can be duplicated from stylist to stylist, store to store, maintaining quality across the board. And it can be adapted to the individual learning style of each stylist.”

He adds, “It is about how to cut hair not how to cut a haircut, and that makes all the difference.”

As for the brand’s coaching support, Callahan says, “Sport Clips’ coaching is the best in the industry, hands down. They do a great job of developing managers. Redundancy has been built into the structure of coaches and area managers so that anyone can step in and help where most needed. This offers tremendous support to the team leaders and team members just by following the system.”

Callahan attributes much of Sport Clips success to adhering to what he calls the ABC’s of a salon, saying, “A salon depends on the ABC’s. ‘A’ is the art of it. At the end of the day, stylist are artists; they create works of art. Sport Clips developed the Artistic Team because of this, they get how important the art is.

“’B’ is business. The brand’s business model is simple and scalable. Everything is laid out for team leaders, they just have to follow the system. It’s been tested and proven.

“And ‘C’ is culture. Is this a place people like to work? Having fun is important. Supporting each other and encouraging people to grow is important. Sport Clips does this well. The stylist culture, benefit package, and defined career path are unique in this industry. Simplifying the pay system and offering opportunities for development are just a couple of things the brand has done to position itself as the employer of choice for stylists.”

Callahan is right, this year Sport Clips has been named as one of the top 50 companies for Women and recognized for Best Company Leadership and Best Company Managers, 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.

Callahan concludes, “Culture is so important. You should never trade a dollar for culture and Sport Clips doesn’t.”