An Interview With Adam Ross, CEO Of Heyday

October 3, 2022

The chief executive officer of the fast-growing skincare brand talks about his company’s growth and its plan to continue revolutionizing the skincare industry.

What is your background and what were you doing before Heyday?

Adam Ross: I was in mergers and acquisitions for a little over 12 years, focused on companies in the consumer product and retail sectors. One of my main focus areas in banking was beauty. I did a lot of work with big-name beauty and wellness brands including Revlon, Avon, Gillette, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder. Banking provided a great foundation for my career, but it ran its course for me. I reached a point where I wanted to sit on the other side of the table and be the one to help build engaging brands and businesses from the ground up.

What was the lightbulb moment that led you to start Heyday?

Ross: There were a couple. The first came when I learned that skincare is the second-highest daily routine in people's lives behind food and beverage, yet there is no single trusted brand. That was eye-opening. The second came when I was asking how a category that is so prevalent in millions of people's daily lives can be so disconnected from what customers want and need. Whereas a facial was once a luxury experience, today’s younger consumers view it differently. Skincare exists within a self-care category for them and they view it as an important component of their overall health.

I realized that the skincare industry was ready to be fundamentally transformed in the way that Uber transformed transportation and Spotify transformed music. Skincare services are a $100 billion business, but it just hasn't really changed with the times. To this day, the category still has a very unsophisticated playbook. We’re changing that. 

Can you talk a little bit about the leadership team?

Ross: We're focused on getting the right team together with the right set of experiences, which has really helped the business. Arielle Mortimer joined as COO in late 2021 and is optimizing all of our company’s operations and processes. She has an e-commerce background, having worked with companies like Groupon and, before moving to Kindbody. She actually discovered Heyday as a client first. Kate Carroll is leading franchise operations and come from Dunkin’ Donuts, where she spent nearly 30 years, and most recently MOVATI Athletic, a network of health and fitness clubs in Canada.

We also have people who have joined us from Sweetgreen, European Wax and Soulcycle, and our director of skincare is from Dermalogica. Together, our leadership team provides a well-rounded range of experience gathered from a variety of companies within the wellness industry. 

Why do you believe franchising is the best way to grow?

Ross: For one, Heyday is a people-centric business model if you consider the brand’s estheticians in addition to the importance of the physical space. Our goal is to be the employer of choice for our estheticians and to keep them happy and engaged by providing the growth and the development they require to deliver the best experience to our customers. That's hard to achieve in a company-operated model, and certainly when operating outside of your home market, which for us is New York City. That’s why we need owner partners who we are aligned with and are ready to execute and provide a superior customer experience on a local level. 

How is Heyday different from other brands in the industry?

Ross: Being the employer of choice for estheticians is a really important difference. There are an estimated quarter of a million licensed estheticians across the U.S., but they are a reasonably unknown and certainly under-appreciated employment class. Most estheticians are independent contractors working in pretty strict conditions: there are no health benefits or a consistent framework for compensation. There is no learning, growth or development available to them and these are all vitally important opportunities to have in a highly skilled craft-based trade like skincare. 

At Heyday, we hire team members as full-time or part-time employees, and we offer benefits for our full-time staff from day one. We have a rigorous two-week onboarding program as well as ongoing growth, development and education stipends for all members of our team. That creates teamwork and camaraderie in addition to fostering a caring work environment. Our turnover today is less than 10% annually in an industry where annual turnover is generally estimated to be between 35-50%. 

How is the Heyday experience better for clients?

Ross: We just focus on facials, and we’re more affordable, relative to spas, which offer a lot of additional services that drive up the fixed costs of their business. We offer an un-intimidating aesthetic and a gender-neutral experience. We have spa chairs, not massage benches. We want our in-shop experience to feel like another home for our clients and to also create an environment that encourages customers to immediately relax. We have also created a booking and POS experience that mirrors Uber in the ease of booking an appointment: a customer can come inside without ever taking their phone out of their pocket. Everything is very seamless.

What is Heyday doing especially well?

Ross: The way we're training our team, the simplicity of our menu and the engagement in the shop are all driving an incredibly healthy rebooking and retention-based business. We're growing with a high number of returning clients, and 80% of new clients that come to us are either referrals from existing clients or have seen us on social media. Once clients come to us our retention rates are extremely high. Our Net Promoter score as a business is around 85, which is world-class, and something we monitor maniacally. 

Who are your primary competitors in skincare?

Ross: There's no one of scale that's doing what we’re doing. We're seeing a couple of regional players with a few salons here and there but I'm not aware of very many businesses that are also expanding through franchising.

What are your growth goals?

Ross: We see ourselves as the number one skincare brand in the U.S. with massive opportunities for growth across the entire country. Our ultimate goal is to have 300 locations open by 2026. Right now, we are setting our sights on larger markets first: Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami are all targets for upcoming Heyday locations in addition to continuing to build the brand’s presence in Southern California for the next 12 to 18 months. 

Heyday’s startup costs range between $768,300 to $1,012,300, depending on which market the store is located. Other factors like design, configuration and labor costs will also impact the total investment. Click here to see the full cost breakdown. 

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