When the Liz and Brian Crawford relocated to Tallahassee, Florida for Brian’s job, Liz left behind her job as a research toxicologist to stay home with the couple’s young children. Needing a different kind of stimulation, she soon decided she was ready to go back to work. The problem was, there were no jobs in her field in her new area.
Around the same time, the real estate economy was taking a big hit, and Brian, an executive with a real estate franchise, felt uneasy about his industry. As the Crawfords discussed their situation, they both agreed they wanted to create financial stability for their family’s future that was not dependent on the ups and downs of the economy. Liz says, “We had three boys to raise and put through college. Our kids’ college fund was on the line.”
With Brian’s experience in franchising, the couple decided to look into different business models, in search of one that fit their goals and skill sets. They first looked at a senior healthcare franchise. “We were skittish about that industry. There was a lot of red tape and insurance to deal with. Also, there was little flexibility if I was needed in the facility because someone called out sick,” explains Liz. Their search continued.
Before moving, Brian and their three boys would get their haircut at a Fort Worth area Sport Clips Haircuts. In Tallahassee there were no locations near them and finding a quality place they all felt comfortable getting their haircut was a constant hassle.
One night, while lamenting there was no good place to get their hair cut in Tallahassee, Brian made the comment, “We should open our own Sport Clips here!” Liz’s immediate reaction was, “That is crazy, we know nothing about the salon industry!” To which Brian replied, “That’s the beauty of franchising, Liz!”
After looking into the Sport Clips business offering, the Crawfords found alignment with the brand’s manager-led model and values. With Brian maintaining his career, Liz would take the lead. “Coming from such a male dominated industry, I felt comfortable with a concept geared toward men. What I didn’t expect was how much fun I would have with our mainly female team. I’ve become known as Mama Liz to them.”
She continues, “The stylist community has such good hearts. When you give a haircut, you are taking care of some one. I really respect their passion for people and their craft.”
As team leaders, the Crawfords have found success by focusing on team culture. “Each person knows they are a valued member of the team. Making time to get together and celebrate is important. We just had a big water slide event at our house to celebrate a successful back to school season,” says Liz.
Recently, Liz was appointed as a member of the Sport Clips Team Leader Advisory Council (TLAC), representing team leaders with five stores or fewer. Of the council Liz says, “TLAC gives team leaders a voice. At first, I wondered if this committee was just for show, but now I see that they really do listen. Leadership is really concerned with how decisions they make impact those of us in the field.”
Since becoming team leaders in 2010, Brian and Liz have three stores and are currently looking for real estate for stores four and five. Liz says, “We did not get into this to do just three stores, we always wanted to grow. The Sport Clips business model makes this possible because it is so scalable.”
With one son graduated from college, another one currently in college, and one more on his way in a few more years, Liz and Brian’s goal of creating a college fund for their boys has come to fruition. Liz concludes, “It is so rewarding as a parent to watch your kids grow into self-sufficient individuals and finding their passion. Being able to help get them through college so they have the tools to do that means everything.”
Hear more from team leader Liz Crawford on this month’s Validation Conference Call.