When Sarah and Majid Aswed moved back to the UK from Dubai in 2019, having emigrated 10 years previously to provide somewhere safe for their kids to grow up, they wanted to invest in a business they could work in together.
They recognised the franchise industry would offer them the best route to success, so Majid attended one of the Franchise Exhibitions in London. “As I was walking around, I saw a familiar brand from our time in Dubai – N.Bar. I knew they were extremely popular and very successful across the Middle East, so went to speak to them. If we joined hands with a franchise brand, like N.Bar, then be believed our success story would happen quicker than if we tried to do it on our own.”
Sarah has always been interested in beauty, so also knew the brand well. “Having lived in Dubai and experienced treatments like those N.Bar offers, I knew our offering with them would be very high-end, and very five star. I wanted to bring a touch of luxury to the UK. Even though we have a number of nail salons already in the UK, I believe there’s often a compromise on the quality and standard of treatments offered. I wanted to offer something different, with a focus on attention to detail.”
Sarah who is an artist, and Majid who’d worked in the oil industry, recognised the opportunity N.Br presented to them, and the success of a brand which made clients feel valued. So, it wasn’t long before they were the proud owners of N.Bar Marylebone. However… like most successful stories, it wasn’t long before Sarah and Majid faced a challenge. “We joined N.Bar in 2020. Then… the pandemic hit! We tried to open our salon on three occasions, around the Government’s lockdown strategy. We refused to give up, and now it’s paying off! Our customers love what we do for them.”
Sarah and Majid have a team of therapists who help to deliver a luxury experience to their growing database of clients. And, because of where they’re located in London, their clientele varies from regulars to those who visiting London and recognise them. “We have all sorts of people who come in for treatments,” explains Sarah, “especially international tourists, or locals who had experienced N.Bar, already. We’ve also built a rapport with local residents and those working in businesses around the area. It’s really nice to know we’re able to make a difference to someone’s day.”
If Sarah and Majid have people who do the treatments on clients for them, how do they operate within their N.Bar franchise? Sarah explains, “I tend to manage the business operations: managing stock, training our therapists, and working alongside our manager to ensure day-to-day runs smoothly – something I’m learning as I go along, as I’ve never run a business before! Majid tends to focus more on the financial and administrational aspects – which he’s always been good at.”
Having never had experience in the beauty sector, nor with running a business, may cause some people to hesitate before starting a business. However, the beauty of joining a franchise means you don’t have to work it out for yourself. Something Sarah and Majid appreciate. “We could have attempted it ourselves,” says Majid, “but having the franchise Support Team beside us, with the guidance and tools they give, means we feel more confident about achieving our aim of building a successful and profitable business.”
Sarah agrees. “Because this is new, to me, I value the hands-on help we’ve had. For example, the Dubai Training team came over to the UK two weeks before we launched to train us and our staff. They stayed with us right through our first week, too, guiding as we went along. And, Director of Franchising, Sepi Saldjoughi, helped us massively when we first started recruiting our team. She’d sit in on the interviews with us, to guide us in how to conduct them, and how to choose the right people to work in our business.”
“Especially as we were the first to open in the UK,” Majid continues. “We know N.Bar is a good brand, and we have the potential to grow a hugely successful salon. In some respects, as we’re the pilot franchise for the UK, we’ve been on a great learning curve together. If something challenges us, N.Bar will work with us to find a resolution, or they’ll offer options on how to tackle it, based on what others in the network have experienced.”
So, if you’re thinking of a beauty business, why invest in N.Bar?
As Sarah says, “The model is tried-and-tested, and is a successful brand which has remained strong for over 23 years. It is a good brand, and we’ve had clients since the day we opened, which goes to show the whole concept of N.Bar is a breath of fresh air for the UK.”