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Leigh Feldman is the CEO of Bishops Cuts/Color, a unisex hair shop concept with franchise locations in 21 states. Founded in 2001, Bishops provides customers with haircare services fueled by art, music, culture, acceptance, and community. Leigh was the CMO of Bishops and has been with the company for six years. Before that, he spent six years working for Rebel Industries as their Vice President and Group Account Director, and he was also Director of Media for Moonshine Events, a production company focused on large-scale experiential events such as What?! the Festival. He is also a Radio Talk Show Host at Entrepreneur Media. Leigh has been nominated for the 2024 OnCon Icon Top 100 awards.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Leigh Feldman joined Bishops Cuts/Color
  • What to expect at a Bishops hair shop
  • Leigh talks about his company’s unique differentiators and pricing structure
  • The benefits of a Bishops franchise, and what the company looks for in potential franchisees
  • Bishops’ commitment to inclusivity, its evolution, and the future of the haircut industry
  • How Bishops markets and trains its stylists

In this episode…

In today’s competitive business environment, leaders who want to grow and scale their companies need to be innovative. With a customer-focused mindset, businesses can outperform other players in the industry. Is your business environment and processes designed to create a delightful experience that carves out a competitive reputation in the marketplace?

For the leaders at Bishops Cuts/Color, building an inclusive community is key to their business. The franchise trains a team of stylists to provide quality, unbiased services to all clients at an affordable price. Inspired by art, creativity, and the need for inclusivity, Bishops has built a hair shop business that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also process and systems-driven. Recent marketing trends indicate franchises that focus on their clients’ unique needs build massive leverage and increase their customer’s lifetime value. Combined with effective marketing, enterprises can focus on providing quality services at competitive rates and building an engaged, loyal community to help drive future sales and build a strong brand.

In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen sits down with Leigh Feldman, the CEO of Bishops Cuts/Color, to talk about building a thriving franchise business. They also discuss the benefits of investing in a franchise, the role art plays at  Bishops Cuts/Color, and the company’s employee training strategies.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise25 Media. We feature top founders, executives, and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen 0:20

Chad Franzen here, co-host of the Top Business Leaders Show, where interview entrepreneurs and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help B2B businesses reach their dream relationships, connect with more clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships, and get ROI through done-for-you podcasts. If you have a B2B business and want to build great relationships, there’s no better way to do it than to profile the people and companies you admire on your podcast. To learn more, go to or email us at Leigh Feldman is the current CEO of Bishops Cuts, Bishops Cuts/Colour, a unisex hair shop concept with franchise locations in 21 states. Hey, Leigh. thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Leigh Feldman 1:07

Well, thank you for letting me join you, I was actually able to go to rise 20 And check it out. It’s very cool the services they provide.

Chad Franzen 1:14

Thanks for checking it out, and for telling us about that. Yeah, we’ll encourage everybody to go there. But before we get started talking about Bishops, tell me how you got involved with them? Yeah, absolutely.

Leigh Feldman 1:27

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of that organisation for six and a half years now. But I basically joined when I think I was about to have my second or third child. And I was working for a large tech company that starts with GE, and travelling quite a bit. And my wife was saying, do you plan to be a father to these children? And almost at the exact moment, I got a call from a friend who was working at Bishops. And he said, Hey, I think there’s actually going to be an opportunity for the CMO role. Would you be interested in interviewing and meeting the CEO, and I wouldn’t got coffee, but we had a meeting, we had a great time what was supposed to be a 20-minute meeting turned into two and a half hours, he ended up offering me the role and I joined as the CMO first and February 2018. And I was with them and helped guide them through two acquisitions through private equity and VC as we split the corporate enfranchising arm. And then as he sort of sailed off into the sunset, literally to Hawaii, I was promoted to the CEO role. And I’ve been in that for almost two and a half years at this point.

Chad Franzen 2:24

Well, good for you. So you mentioned you started, you had been working for a company that starts with GE, I suppose everybody can guess what that is? Can you tell us about?

Leigh Feldman 2:33

If not, you can look it up online.

Chad Franzen 2:37

Can you tell us about kind of maybe some your experience that you’d had prior to joining Bishops that, you know, has been beneficial to you and helpful in terms of your success that you’re having now? Yeah,

Leigh Feldman 2:49

I mean, it’s really kind of the quote that guides me related to data. I mean, Bishops is a very much data driven organisation. A lot of our decision-making strategy, anything that we look forward to is based on data. And the experience I had before joining Bishops is really the idea of related to data, is it important because it’s measured or measured, because it is important. And I think what I learned is that so many people are reporting things to their management, their senior leadership. And a lot of things are not really key to the focus, or the core consumer, or the strategic direction KPIs that are being tracked. And so much work is being done just for the work, especially related to pulling and analysing data to make these decisions that you really have to again, step back and ask is this important because it’s measured, or measured, because it’s important. That’s one of the key takeaways that I took from there that I then brought to Bishops and said, Let’s strip out a lot of these things that don’t make sense for us, and the decisions we’re making to expand to the company and grow the company, and maybe have the company acquired. And I’m really thankful for my time at that large tech company and previously working at an ad agency, because it really taught me the idea of how do you slim down what you were doing and have a core focus? I know EOS is popular for a lot of entrepreneurs, but I do believe as a guiding management system. That is a great one.

Chad Franzen 4:09

Very nice. So as I mentioned, Bishops Cuts/Colour is a unisex hair shop concept with with franchised locations in 21. States. Can you maybe just give us a feel for what it’s like when when somebody maybe like myself, who has never been there would walk in there? What kind of a vibe what I see? Or what kind of a vibe would I experience? What would I see things like that?

Leigh Feldman 4:31

Well, the shop is actually specifically built to catch your attention in a variety of ways from the time you walk or drive by with our art on the windows, to get people to really what we call the fishbowl effect, they walk up to the window and they literally put their face against the window and go what is in there. And then again, the store is set up in a very specific way where we have our syndicated Bishops TV playing. So we have specific videos visually that are there to grab your attention. We have the audio side of the music as well, the shop is set up so that it can really create a community feel everything from our waiting room to the way this chairs or stations, they can be turns that people in chair can have conversation. And as far as what you’d see, it’s really anybody and everybody from your community. I mean, we really say that we are tolerant unless you are intolerant. I think the piece that makes us so unique as a hair shop, and we use that word specifically because people say, what’s a hair shop and we say, well, we’re a hybrid barbershop salon, we do all your services, anything you might need, but it’s really about the services you’re receiving. It’s not about who you are, is this a men’s cut, or a woman’s cut his kids cut, it’s really about the length of your hair. And again, what kind of services you want whether line design, colour term extension, some of the other services that we do in the shop, at the end of the day cuts in colour are our core focuses. But as far as what you’ll see, it’s really a smattering of your community, because we believe that we provide slum level services at appropriate market pricing in your area. And that’s what really brings in a lot of clientele. Because of that ala carte piece, you know that you’re going to be charged for whatever you want. And it’s going to be the same again, even if you identify as a female or a male or a child or somebody a little older.

Chad Franzen 6:09

So you have locations across 21 states, how many Bishops locations are there? We’re at 42. What would you say makes Bishops different? I mean, you’ve you’ve highlighted a lot of things that are unique about Bishops. What would you say maybe makes an experience at Bishops different than another hair salon franchise?

Leigh Feldman 6:29

I love that question. Because I’m asked it all the time. Why Bishops? Why should I go to Bishops? For most female identifying clients, I asked them, you know, hey, I love your hair colour. What do you pay to get this done? But what do you pay for a long cutter shortcut? You know, and then we’ll start to talk about gendered pricing. Do you think you should be paying more for that service, simply because you are a woman versus a man with long hair getting that same kind of style, but being charged less. Usually when it comes to colour because we have a large structural discount, we’re able to charge less for the colour services. So when a woman tells me I pay X amount of dollars, I say, I can’t give you an exact quote because I’m not a stylist, but you should come in for a free colour consultation. I’m pretty confident we can beat what you’re paying and do it a little better. For most male identifying clients who ask why Bishops. Why should I go there? I really just asked when’s the last time your stylist talk to you about your halo? And people will look at me like I am insane. Like I’m speaking a foreign language like I’m an alien, they’ll go and I’ve been getting my hair cut for 50 years. What are you talking about a halo? My barber, my stylist? My hairdresser has never talked about a halo. What does that go? Well, you should go into Bishops you’re really not getting salon level services, for the pricing, whatever it is you’re paying. Because ideally, someone should be talking to you about that. And for any listeners who are wondering what the hell is a halo. It’s the priority Ridge, it’s where the hair meets the top in the middle, so that you can find the balance and volume, maybe you’re losing some you need to go a different length in certain areas. Your stylists should be talking to you about that. So you can walk out looking and feeling the best you ever have.

Chad Franzen 7:55

So how does Bishops kind of you mentioned the affordable prices a couple of times there? How do you balance kind of that high quality service with prices that people can afford?

Leigh Feldman 8:05

Yeah, I mean, it’s partly due to the margins that we have on our structural discounts with our partners, any of the vendors that are in store, we have continuing education. And we have a base model structure that’s really great for any franchise owner to set up to run a location. The continual education part is really interesting, because stylists traditionally are neglected. As far as the ability to learn more, you know, once they graduate school, and they’re kind of kicked out by the button, go, Hey, go out on your own and figure it out, which is not unlike other college programmes. I know in the undergraduate space, reverse stylists, they’re really told, Hey, go and figure this out, go and figure out how to market for yourself how to do some of these other services that you maybe didn’t learn. And Bishops sort of works with those stylists to come in and provide that continuing education so they really can become well rounded in all facets of their craft.

Chad Franzen 8:52

So you talked a little bit about franchise franchising? How many of the locations that are currently operating are owned by franchisees?

Leigh Feldman 9:02

Yeah, we’re 100% of franchise network. So all of them are owned by franchisees.

Chad Franzen 9:08

What are the benefits of operating a Bishops franchise?

Leigh Feldman 9:11

Yeah, that’s a great question. And again, what I’m often asked opposed to why Bishops. Why should I go to Bishops? It’s why Bishops. Why should I own a Bishops? And I think the biggest piece is it’s sort of low entry to tech, anything and everything for managing the business can be done from your phone, all reports, all spreadsheets, payroll, anything from that can be done from your phone. So there’s really no knowledge of the vertical that’s needed to actually run the business. Yeah, you hire a manager kind of runs the whole show. So it’s that sort of semi executive semi-absentee model, where you can say, hey, I’ll manage you, you manage this team, you just ladder up those reports. I can see them on my phone. And you know, as long as everything’s running as far as staffing, everything else can kind of do it on its own on the tech side. There’s also no accounts receivable there’s no real inventory. Your team brings their own tools. It’s commission-based, so labourers Gale’s with each dollar that you have. I mean, it really makes itself great. And then you have us as the franchisor, who I truly believe provides more support than any other network or system in place. As far as acting as an aspirin and really taking out the headaches that an owner might have for running a business things like your listings and reputation management, posting on social media, responding to client reports, all of those things that you sort of get bogged down in, when it actually comes to running a business. We take care of that for you as the franchisor. So that combination of these things of really not having to know or know how to do the work, plus the support you receive. I think that’s the reason why people should look at buying in Bishops franchise location.

Chad Franzen 10:44

What does Bishops look for then in a potential franchisee?

Leigh Feldman 10:48

Yeah, I mean, we’re looking for people that are really process driven, they understand what it takes to follow a roadmap. This is not our first rodeo Bishops has been around for 23 years at this point. So we know what it takes to be successful. We’ve built that out and Operations Guide and marketing plans. So we really need people that are process driven, can understand those things. But obviously a personality we want somebody that is sort of integrated into their community, they know how to build a safe space, a community space, a place where people of all walks of life want to go. And if you have that, you’re going to be pretty good within our system.

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