Meet skoah Franchise Owner Scott Hislop
Brother-sister pair finds rewarding work with skoah facials-only shop ownership
Scott Hislop’s skoah facials-only shop franchise in Kensington, Calgary, Canada, celebrates its first anniversary this spring. Self-described “skoah-holics,” Hislop and his sister, Tory, are longtime users of skoah products. Assuming ownership of the shop in Kensington seemed an ideal fit for this sibling pair’s inaugural business venture.
We recently sat down with Scott Hislop and discussed many areas of franchise ownership, including the important role of helping and serving others in your business. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: How did you discover skoah, and why did you decide to open a skoah franchise shop?
A: Our family has all been loyal users of skoah products for more than 10 years. My mom and my sisters would go and get facials regularly when we were growing up, and my brother, dad and I would always get some kind of skoah product for Christmases and birthdays. In our household, you always got something from skoah for every special occasion. Going into this business, we were very familiar with the product and with the culture of skoah.
My sister Tory approached me in late 2016, and she asked if I could help her take a look at potentially opening a location in Chicago, where she’s based. Fast-forward a few months, and we ended up acquiring the Kensington location in Calgary. It just made more sense for us to take over an existing operation, so there was less involved with start-up procedures. We officially closed on the deal in April 2017.
Q: What makes your skoah facials-only shop a rewarding business to own?
A: Our goal here is really to make people feel great from the skin in — to make someone feel better, happier and more relaxed. You know they’re going to take the positive energy and give it to others around them, to whomever they interact with for the rest of the day — maybe the rest of the week. That positivity trickles down to the next person and the next and the next. In our own little way, if I could be so bold, I would say that we’re really making the world a better place by doing our facials.
Q: Tell us about the importance of community to the overall culture at skoah and to your business, specifically.
A: There’s the community in the traditional sense, and then there’s the community with a “K” that we have. So the community-with-a-K is within the shop and among our members and returning customers.
We build on the community on the customer side by surprising and delighting them every time they come in. Even if they’ve come in for a hundred facials in the past, we still have to make their 101st facial feel as special as if it was their first facial with us. We try to make it unique every single time and not just get into a routine of things.
We also host member-exclusive events at the shop, and we have members-only gifts. Those things help strengthen the community feeling with some of our more regular customers.
During one of our recent member-exclusive events, we invited a wine sommelier from one of the local restaurants to attend. It was a great way to chat with people who are in the community and have some kind of similarity and connection. That connection is skoah. Bringing people together for events like that makes us the hub in that hub-and-spoke example.
On the crew side — that’s what we call our staff and employees — we do fun events outside the shop and outside of regular work hours to build that community within the crew. We’ve gone out for wine just to hang out, and then we’ve done other group events, like ax-throwing. You go into a warehouse, and you hurl axes at big planks of wood. It was super-fun. Next, we’re looking at bungee yoga.
One of skoah’s core values is: “Pursue your goals passionately.” So we help our crew members do that. One of our crew members had a lifelong dream of backpacking around Southeast Asia with friends. We made an exception to the company policy and agreed to hold her job while she traveled. When she came back, her numbers were off the charts. She was just a positive energy ball. As I talked about earlier, she passed on that energy to the people around her, and then they passed it on to the people around them.
Giving back to community in the traditional sense — we do that in a variety of ways. We participated in the Kensington Easter Egg Hunt this year. There were a lot of kids in and out of our store because the Hunt is set up like a scavenger hunt — they have maps directing them to the Easter eggs. It was a lot of fun and helped us meet new members of our larger community.
Q: Why is serving and helping others important to you and your business?
A: We were raised with the thought that you can’t really have much success in anything you do without some kind of community service. I guess the community service gives our business character and keeps our business goals grounded in our moral values from that standpoint.
My sister and I both come from financial backgrounds, and it feels sort of blasphemous to say that there’s not really a metric you can use to quantify the impact of serving others. You can’t say, “If you do $100 of community service you get back a certain amount; it’s gonna be X dollars to your business.” I don’t think it works like that.
But it is important. Like with the Easter Egg Hunt, we know that participating was good for our business, too. The parents were with their kids and looked at our logo on their maps, came into the shop with their kids to get the candy and maybe heard about us for the first time.
Q: What makes skoah stand out from competitors?
A: I guess first and foremost, we have the best product line in the entire world. That can’t be replicated. You can’t buy that product line elsewhere. You can’t just order wholesale willy-nilly. You have access to 17 years of product development, which has been rigorous. And it’s all small-batch production. It’s done by a fantastic chemist out of Vancouver. Even the water in the product is filtered using a super-high-end water filtration system, which is just way above all competitors. That perfectly pH-balanced water is the basis of a lot of our products.
We also have specialized training. Our estheticians receive a very rigorous five-day training program. It’s learning all about the skoah product line and the special techniques, which are trained on using live models. We have such a high quality threshold. When new crew members complete training, they are superhuman at facials, so it’s pretty amazing.
Q: What does the future hold for you? Will you buy more franchises?
A: We’re definitely interested. We’ve looked at expanding into some areas of Calgary and Alberta. We’re also considering opening franchises in the United States. We have several different areas in mind and are assessing those.
Learn more about skoah franchise
If you’d like to open a rewarding business in your community, we’d love to tell you more about skoah franchise ownership. We have markets available for development across the United States.