GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new studio coming to Grand Rapids will offer a space where beauty professionals can start their own businesses.
IMAGE Studios is expected to open in December at 2516 Burton St. near Breton Road. It will offer 31 single suites and six doubles for beauty professionals, franchise owner Zach Dugger said.
IMAGE Studios locations typically have a variety of beauty professionals, from hair stylists and barbers to estheticians, massage therapists, lash technicians and makeup artists.
“They will be able to operate their independent business out of that location. They get to set their own schedule, set their prices, they can sell retail,” Dugger said. “The advantage for them is that they get to come into that luxury design setting and have only their space to take care of and be able to bring their clients into that.”
The suites measure 110 to 180 square feet, and they come equipped with equipment like a styling chair and shampoo bowl.
IMAGE Studios, which now has more than 200 locations, was started around 2009 in Utah.
“The gentleman who started it was a used car salesman,” Dugger said. “He saw an opportunity when he had a beauty professional come in and want to buy a car in cash during a recession, realizing that this business is a little more recession-resistant than the car business.”
The Grand Rapids location will be a first for Michigan.
Dugger’s background is in behavioral health, and IMAGE Studios will be his first time working in the beauty industry. He worked as a case manager for Allegan County Community Mental Health and later worked as a behavioral psychologist for Hope Network.
In 2013, he started his own business, working with kids with autism.
“We actually spread throughout Southwest Michigan,” Dugger said. “I was at a point where I decided I was ready to transition out. So I sold the business to a larger organization and that gave me time and opportunity to reflect on what the next steps were.”
He spoke with a consultant about different franchise opportunities and said IMAGE Studios ended up at the top of the list.
“I saw this as an opportunity to not only do a business that I could become part of, but also create spaces for individuals that they could become an independent business owner within the collective,” he explained.
The company provides beauty professionals with things like business support, training and webinars. Dugger explained its core values are creativity, freedom and success.
“We want to honor that creativity of the individuals and that freedom that they can have operating their independent business and help them to have success where they are operating, where they’re working,” he said.
The franchise owner said he looked at several spaces before settling on the one on Burton Street. While he’s from Kalamazoo, he said he thought Grand Rapids would be a better starting point.
Dugger said he likes the community and location, which is close to Breton Village, a Starbucks location and Fresh Thyme.
Another big factor was the amount of parking the building offered.
“I went and looked at some places downtown, and I was concerned about parking,” Dugger said. “Because we do have quite a few spaces — everyone’s here and they’re all operating at the same time, could be quite a few cars. But this parking lot can support that.”
Once completed, he said the building will offer a luxury experience with a good attention to detail, like bathrooms with nice finishes so people can take selfies in them.
Dugger said he wants IMAGE Studios to become a place where people can come in to feel refreshed and find rest.
Several suites have already been reserved by beauty professionals, who he said have shown a lot of excitement for the space.
“(It’s) just a nice opportunity for people to become part of a collective,” he said.
Dugger, who has two kids and has been married for almost 20 years, said his family is what keeps him passionate.
“A lot of what I’ve done in my life has been for my family and thinking about their security and their long-term needs,” he said. “It’s also that ability to give back to others as we grow and increase in our capacity as individuals. … I think that we’ve been given an opportunity in life to do more, to give back and to make the most of the time we have.”