The Sage Story

Spring 2018:
The Hassle of the Haircut...

John has been queuing for well over an hour for his usual barber so decides to just let the 18-year-old trainee do it, regardless of the quality, because his time is short.

He discovers that the ‘trainee’, Tom, is actually already an accomplished barber who has great ideas for improving the barbering industry, in particular its training.

John, an experienced Lean coach, offers to help and introduces Tom to Lean – the world’s best business system – which uses the world’s best training system: TWI

Tom learns that not only could he improve his training for barbers but, using Lean, he
could also improve value for his customers by eliminating non-value-adding activity like queueing and searching – to give them better quality haircuts in less time.

Following John’s advice, Tom starts to research Lean and Quality and Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) on the internet and buys and reads the book on TWI.

To reduce waste for John, Tom offers him ‘no-wait’ haircuts by meeting him at the barbers at opening time. During each cut they continue their Lean discussions…

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Summer 2018:
More Help Please!

Tom asks John for help to start writing his TWI training-course. John agrees to help in return for free, on-time haircuts!

They also start to work out how they could improve ‘customer value’ to provide:

• A safe, high-quality haircut
• In a specific time (30 mins)
• At a specific time (appointment)
• At an acceptable price
• With the least customer effort
• And a great customer experience

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Autumn 2018:
A Salon and a Strategy

Tom opens his own salon at home giving him the freedom he needs to experiment with ways of removing waste to improve the quality of the cut and to take less time.

We identify two potential customer groups:

• Busy, professional males – who want good quality haircuts in less time
• Other barbers – who would benefit from better training and better tools

Tom and John begin a series of meetings to develop a strategy; to research the market and to look at the detail of the whole process of getting a haircut. Tom does more experiments with innovative tools.

Winter 2019:
Vision, Value and Research

Tom and John meet regularly and use ‘A3 Planning’ and ‘Mind Mapping’ to:

• Agree to use Lean thinking in all aspects of developing the business
• Establish a Vision, Mission and Values for the business concept
• Agree ‘Value to the Customer’ in terms of its Lean components:
• Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost & People
• Explore the overall customer experience:
• The technical aspects (the cut), and
• The relationship and ‘service’ aspects
• Begin to establish:
• The different types of cut and haircare products to offer
• The innovative tools that will help the barber to deliver the offer
• Scope the detail of the primary research
• Begin to explore how to protect their intellectual property

Tom explores how to improve the training course to make it more ‘fun’.

We brief a Cardiff University student to do research interviews for us among 18-60 year old men in Cardiff.

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Spring 2019:
Business Plans; New Tools...

Our primary research shows that we are on the right track: – a significant proportion of men would prefer not to wait for a good-quality haircut.

We begin to explore support for start-ups from Business Wales and engage an MBA student from Cardiff University to do a business planning project for us.

Tom works on improving the tools and developing new ones. John: reminds him: “Everything is an experiment to close a gap”

We agree to focus our efforts on the tools that will make the most difference to improving the process. The results are very encouraging!

We start to get advice on design protection and prototyping for the tools.

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Summer 2019:
Continuous Improvement...

John prepares V2 of our overall A3 Plan for our first meeting with Business Wales. They provide us with a Business Advisor and a Mentor; both excellent.

We discover that we can get help with product design and prototyping from Cardiff Metropolitan University. A big step forward and we set up a meeting.

Tom gets the opportunity to test his training course with another barber’s trainee. After 3 weeks the trainee is able to cut hair well – exceeding Tom’s expectations.

John and Tom set up a planning room at Tom’s house – making all our plans visual. The MBA report helps to inform us as to our next steps

John and Tom research the leading UK and local barbers to understand what they offer. Tom says: “We need to provide a better service with no wait which is what we will do”.

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Autumn 2019:
Proof of Quality; More Lean

Tom competes at British Master Barber of the Year and is runner-up!

We start to develop our branding and to source hair care products for the brand.

We meet with Cardiff Met to discuss how we prototype, test and make the tools.

We review and refine our Brand Values and statement of Customer Value. We also discuss the criteria for a salon and begin to explore a possible location.

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Winter 2020:
The Sage Hair Care Salon!

Tom and John engage professional advisors and agree to set up a company together. Sage Hair Care Ltd. is born!

Tom begins to plan the social media campaign for Sage Hair Care and we develop our ‘elevator pitch: ‘Making it easy for busy men to get precision haircuts’

Tom’s brother, Dan, decides to learn to be a barber. With Tom’s training method, Dan makes rapid progress and is cutting hair professionally within a few weeks.

The search for a salon begins in earnest. We become aware of two that meet our criteria for size and location. We agree to take on a lease! The design and planning work starts…

We’re inspired to engage Ibby Tarafdar to design our branding. A great decision. We trade mark our new intellectual property.

Tom organises his first photo/video shoot which goes brilliantly! Our social media campaign starts

The legalities are complete! We finally get the salon keys! Refurbishment begins… along with acquiring and installing all the shop-fittings. Then…the lockdown!

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