Ever since franchising her hair salon business earlier this year, Dana White, 45, says her business acumen has become acute. “For the entrepreneur that’s going to do it, know your why, know your numbers, and develop your professionalism and business acumen,” said White.
White is the founder and owner of Paralee Boyd, a hair salon franchise with two locations currently in Detroit, Michigan, but she expects to expand nationally. Paralee Boyd caters to Black and Indian women with thick and curly hair and prides itself on an in-and-out model whereas customers spend as little time as possible getting their hair done.
White’s emphasis on moving customers through the salon quickly was inspired by an experience she had at a Dominican hair salon while living in New Jersey. “I went to the hair appointment at 10ish, and was done by 11:30, and couldn’t believe it,” White said.
White said she studied the operations of the hair salon she attended — which was a far cry from what Black women traditionally experienced in predominantly Black hair salons, which could consume much of your day. When she moved to Detroit in 2011, she spent $35,000 of her own money to open her own hair salon and named it after her grandmother, Paralee Boyd. White said franchising her salon was not her initial ambition, but as she continued to engage with the local business community she was encouraged to take the leap.
“I had no ambition to franchise initially, it wasn’t until people saw there was a system and there was a process in place that they said you know this is a franchisable business,” White said.
White adopted the efficient model she’d first experienced in New Jersey of flowing customers through the hair-care process.
“We’ve taken notes from lean manufacturing from the automotive industry and we’re very process driven. We don’t do everything, so we don’t cut, and we don’t color we do trims, and we do rinses, we do things that we have processes and procedures that allows us to get people in and out in a certain amount of time,” White said.
In 2020, Paralee Boyd won the Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day competition, which earned White $200,000 and she used some of the money to begin the process of franchising her salon. White said, according to Frandata, she is the first Black woman to franchise a hair salon business in the country.
“Franchising especially as a franchisor is very expensive, especially if you do it right. There are shortcuts but if you’re going to do it right, you’ve got to spend the money and it was well into the six figures, I did,” White said.
White expects to have 100 franchises opened in major cities across the U.S. within the next five years.
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