With the opening of the second salon in Georgia, Dessange International is contributing to Georgia's economic growth. Emanuel Gassnot of Dessange International set down with
the CheckPoints to tell us about the success, challenges and plans of the company.
Giorgi Isakadze: We still face some difficulties two years after the pandemic. You represent Dessange International, which unites three brands. The number of customers used to be 230 000, now it has passed over a quarter million. How did the company adapt during these times? Where do we stand?
Emanuel Gassnot: The situation has been very difficult, like for everyone during that period of time, especially when we were closed because you cannot do any business. So, I as the chairman, with my team, have to do our best to support our franchisees all over the world and create the link with them to develop new communications tools to adapt and develop our communication through social media to give franchisees all over the world the opportunity to link with their customers. Once we were able to reopen our business, it was not exactly that it was immediately successful.
Giorgi Isakadze: How long did it take to reopen?
Emanuel Gassnot: In France, for example, If I remember well, we closed all our locations from 16 of March to the 11th of May in 2020. We reopened on 11th May and we closed again in November. We had no lockdown in 2021. We had to adjust to some curfew. We were obliged to close at 5:00 or at 6:00, but there was no big lockdown. Only in the mall, but we are not represented in the mall.
Giorgi Isakadze: We're talking about three hundred fifty salons, outlets...
Emanuel Gassnot: Just in France. Each time we reopened our business, it was a big success because our customers and people were waiting for us. But you know, it was this very strange period of time because during that period of time, I think that the people just realized our hairstylists are important.
Giorgi Isakadze: Am I right in my analysis, that your partner and the Founder of Dessange in Georgia, Sophia Korkia, just updated us that Dessange here in Georgia was closed just for two months and then it was reopened and has never been closed.
Emanuel Gassnot: Yes.
Giorgi Isakadze: So maybe Georgia is special in this regard…
Emanuel Gassnot: Yes, it's very different from country to country. In the United States, they didn't close the location immediately in 2020, but a little bit later. It was different from one state to another state. In India, the situation was even more complicated, but not right at the beginning, but right after. So, we have to manage different situations in different countries. But to be honest, all our franchise, Sophia here in Georgia, they did an amazing job. They did an amazing job.
Giorgi Isakadze: Tell me about the business of Dessange in Georgia from your perspective. You're here because of the certain purpose we're talking about the second outlet opening in Tbilisi, which is a big success, taking into consideration sizes and how the Georgian economy is developing. Dessange is a brand of the high level, maybe Forbes is somewhere there as well. So, tell us where Dessange Georgia stands in your perspective.
Emanuel Gassnot: Well, you know, to be very honest and transparent with you, the first idea to open a salon in Georgia didn't come from us, but came from Sophia. She just contacted our team with this wonderful project. And for us, the most important thing is… When we open a hair salon somewhere with our brand, we have to have a good feeling. Meeting the right partner is important… This was exactly the case with Sophia, when we met the first time. She opened the salon in 2013. I was here for the grand opening celebration. She was totally convinced about the fact that the brand could be successful here. She had a great knowledge of the brands, both Sophia and Nutsi - one of her associates. They were talking about Dossange, as though they were already part of the Dossange family. So, you know, the most difficult thing for us was to refuse them to have this opportunity to open.
Giorgi Isakadze: Were you surprised about how they are running the franchise?
Emanuel Gassnot: No, I was first very impressed and surprised how they were able to speak about our brands. We are not everywhere… and where we go, we are not looking for quantities and we are only looking for qualities. Sometimes we make some mistakes. We are trying to do our best. I was immediately convinced that it would be very successful, even if you consider some metrics here in the country. Where women are, we can be. You have a very beautiful country. Tbilisi is an amazing and beautiful city. Actually, you know what is our most difficult challenge here? It's hard to make Georgian women more beautiful than they are. This is one of the most difficult challenges, but we can do it.
Giorgi Isakadze: With the opening of the second salon… does it mean that business is going not just in the right direction, but it's developing in this small country? I will be quoting you personally about the metrics of the local economy and country itself…
Emanuel Gassnot: I think the best person to tell us about the metrics is Sophia, Sophia and her team. The business has been going in the right direction since the opening of the first salon. From the beginning there it was their target to open a second and maybe a third salon in Georgia. Because the business is going in the right direction, they very fastly had the target to open the second one and they had this opportunity in this new area now. I visited it for the first time this morning. It looks amazing. It's not so big, but it looks like a true Dessange Salon. I'm very proud of that. I have no doubt that it will be a big success because Sophia and her team are offering the women in Georgia access to a second location, maybe closer to where they are. And I think that this is something very important.