It is often the case with franchise operations that senior management’s first contact with the brand came as a client, not a team member.
Helen Venables began her relationship with House of Colour in exactly that way before stepping into the role of Chair in July 2021 after more than 15 years with the international personal styling company.
Her journey with the expanding franchise began after the birth of her third child when she felt she had, in her own words, “lost her sense of identity.” On a friend’s suggestion, Venables tried a colour analysis session and everything else followed.
“Honestly, it was a game changer!” she says. “I could see looking back at me from the mirror the woman I had seemingly lost, surrounded by her best colours and with just 90 seconds’ worth of make-up on. She looked positive, radiant and ready to discover what was next in her life.”
Inspired by her moment of revitalisation, Venables trained with House of Colour the following year despite having no prior business or fashion experience. She quickly found success, rising to become a regional manager and joining the training team.
The Power of Franchising
The company was founded in 1985 by artist Carolyn Miller and image consultant Shona Fox-Ness. It combined Miller’s colour analysis system with Fox-Ness’ established name and reputation to create its brand identity.
It was then bought by Lynn Elvy, one of the first trainees Miller and Fox-Ness took on, who turned it into a franchise. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, developing the IP and introducing a range of colour-coded cosmetics to bring instant sales and repeat business for franchisees.
Current CEO Marcus King helped Venables pioneer House of Colour’s US operations, which have since flourished.
Venables says she loves being involved in setting the strategy for House of Colour on both sides of the Atlantic and ensuring the Executive Team is held accountable.
Now, with 77 franchisees in the UK and over 350 globally, House of Colour has continued its mission to empower individuals to discover their best colours, styles and make-up while building confidence.
Support for franchises
For franchisees, it provides a comprehensive in-person training program on colour analysis and make-up application, using 144 precision-dyed drapes, a framed colour wheel, sample colour fans and sample cosmetics.
Graduates receive the tools needed to immediately begin seeing clients, often booking their schedules quickly thanks to the firm’s central marketing helping to drive appointments. A few months later, franchisees return for style training to deepen client relationships through personalised wardrobe styling, decluttering, shopping and more.
Additionally, they can earn a commission from cosmetic sales made through the House of Colour webshop.
“Every client has the opportunity to build a strong relationship with their personal consultant (franchise business owner), ensuring a lifetime of repeat sales,” Venables explains.
Beyond the training, House of Colour supports its franchise network through ongoing mentoring programs, annual advanced training sessions, collaborating with regional owners, and continuous system updates from headquarters.
“Our commitment to continuous improvement extends to regular training sessions covering systems and processes, facilitated by various departments,” says Venables. “This ongoing training ensures that our franchise business owners stay abreast of the latest industry developments and maintain a solid understanding of our operational frameworks.”
The company welcomes franchise applicants from all backgrounds, seeking those passionate about empowering clients while running their own businesses. Some join to go solo, while others form partnerships or associations with existing franchisees in their territory.
“We seek individuals who desire the intrinsic satisfaction of empowering and positively impacting the lives of their clients whilst also managing a successful business,” Venables explains.
The recruitment process begins with discovery calls to align on aspirations, followed by business planning support and network introductions before the formal training commences.
An international business
Within five years, House of Colour aims to have nearly 200 franchisees across the UK. Beyond sheer numbers, the company says it measures success by its positive impact on women like its current Chair.
Nearly four decades on from those early training days, and having seemingly become that most valuable of things – a recession-proof business – House of Colour’s formula for image development continues to empower individuals to become the best external version of themselves.
The comprehensive training curriculum sets franchisees up for success, while ongoing mentoring and advanced development ensure they stay at the top of their game. The marketing continually drives new client appointments to fuel sustainable revenues, while positive client outcomes in turn power House of Colour’s viral growth, as happy customers spread the word about its transformative services.
“Our proven franchise business model accommodates both solo entrepreneurs and those interested in forming partnerships. Additionally, we offer an associate programme that enables owners to collaborate with partners who operate in their territory. Owners and associates then work together to expand their territory and support their House of Colour aspirations.
“We welcome all individuals from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. The key criterion is a shared passion, whether it be colour, fashion, style, empowering clients or the entrepreneurial spirit of running their own business.”
And with driven leaders like Venables at the helm, the franchise aims to spread its mission even further worldwide.
As Venables says: “I truly believe House of Colour changes the lives of all their clients for the better and our life-affirming services should be a life skill everyone receives.”
As the business continues to realise its full potential and extend the brand globally, it makes for a more authentic and confident version of the world. Surely something that holds the broadest of appeal.