By Sonia Schnee | Posted Monday, September 23, 2019
On April 27, 2019, Bishops Cuts & Color, a new hair salon/barbershop, opened its doors in Denville, NJ. It is LGBTQ-led, and charges based on hair length, rather than male vs. female pricing. Bishops is a franchise that has been steadily expanding from its home base in Portland, Oregon. The Bishops shop in Denville is run by Scott Pringle, who is originally from South Africa and was drawn to Bishops for its inclusive philosophy and culture. Learn more about Bishops in our interview with Scott, below, and do visit the shop at 33 Broadway in Denville!
What's your name and where are you from?
Scott Pringle. I'm the Co-owner here of Bishops Cuts & Color which is a new hair shop in Denville, New Jersey. I'm South African originally and my wife, who's the co-owner, is born in Hong Kong but she's Irish. So a very interesting combination. We've travelled the world. We've lived in 13 different countries between us, so I know a lot about different experiences, different levels of customer service, etc. That's one of the many things which interested us in joining Bishops and opening a hair shop.
How did you end up in New Jersey?
We both have lived here for at least 10 years, and we wanted to open up our own business, so we looked at franchise opportunities. Bishops is a franchise. We worked with a franchise consultant to get the best fit for us. After like a year of negotiation, we settled on Bishops, which is a franchise originally from Portland, Oregon. It started in 2001, started franchising about three years ago, and now 50 shops are open in about 17 different states, and in two years time there'll be about 200 different shops. So it's small but growing rapidly.
What drew you to the Bishops?
A couple of things. First of all, it's more than just a haircut. It's an experience. And that's what sold us. It's the people who are there, in terms of their style, the way they lead the team. It is LGBTQ-led, and because of that it's very open and inclusive. The whole environment is something that we really enjoyed -- accepting for everyone, judgment-free, etc…
Who is your ideal target market?
It is a unisex hair shop, so we don't differentiate on male vs. female. It's more mindset and the inclusive mentality of someone who wants a great hair service at an affordable price. Part of the philosophy originally was "a cheap haircut was bad, and a good haircut was expensive." We tried to change that in terms of affordable hair services. Great service, great product at affordable prices.
How much does it cost?
All our pricing is based on length of hair and how long it takes to do the service rather than male vs. female pricing. It's based on buzz cut, short cut, long cut. So if you're a lady with a pixie cut, you'd probably get away with a $29 short haircut. The other different thing about Bishops is it's a-la-carte pricing, which means you pay for each thing that you choose . If you just want a haircut, it's either $29 for a short or $35 for long, and then if you add a shampoo you add $5 as an add on, and if you add a style you add $20 as an add on. So a-la-carte pricing, you choose what you want and you tailor the experience.
What other services do you provide?
Apart from all the haircuts, we do color, highlights, style blow outs. For the men, there are straight razor shaves. Just about everything except extensions is offered at Bishops.
Tell us about the arts and culture of Bishops.
Bishops is founded on arts and music. It's about the whole great experience, not just a transaction. There are music speakers in the shop. There's actually two murals in the shop. It's regionalized for the region. One is "You Look Good" and the other one is "Different Together," which is a 3D-style effect of spray painting. A guy based in the city has come out and done it especially for us.
How has Denville been treating you so far?
We think we'll have a wider circle of appeal than most shops just because of our philosophy about "being for everyone." "Everyone is welcome" is linked to our philosophy. We are also linked to "safe in my chair" which means that everyone is accepted and welcome. We belong to an organization called Strands for Trans, in which all trans people are made to feel welcome, and everyone is.
How do you want people to feel when they walk in?
We want people to walk in and feel at home, feel the vibe, feel the energy, and just immediately feel at home and comfortable. Beyond that, they need to walk out with a great hair experience, great haircut, great color, great highlights, whatever it is that they want. If they get the great products at an affordable price together with experience, we feel that's the sweet spot for us.
How can people connect with you online?
We are on Facebook and on Instagram. We have a small but growing digital presence. We also do a lot of more conventional advertising in print media through coupons, and we are doing a lot of what we call "boots on the ground," handing out cards to potential customers, trying to build loyalty, offering a lot of 50% off discounts for your first hair service or your first blow out or style. So, trying to build loyalty and awareness and showing people what a great experience and a great service we can offer.
When are you open?
We are open seven days a week. We're here whenever you need us. Most days we are open 10am-8pm Monday through Friday, Saturday 9am-7pm, and also Sunday 10am-5pm. So there'll hopefully be a time that suits everyone.
Do you have any words of advice someone who might want to open up a franchise or business?
Find something that really appeals to you, from a values point of view. It is a lot of hard work. There's a lot of investment in time and money. The philosophy and the values and what Bishops stands for -- and especially what we need in this area, in this country right now in terms of openness and acceptance for all -- THAT’S what drives and inspires me. So, find something that's linked to your values, primarily.