Mery Oaknín Benzaquén speaks about d-uñas salon

Mery Oaknín Benzaquén

What do you get when you combine a passion for the beauty sector and a dream to create an international brand? In this interview, Mery Oaknín Benzaquén (Co-Founder and CEO d-uñas) speaks about the d-uñas salon, her own international brand of beauty franchise. She is born in Spain and is the mother of three children, aged 18, 14 and 10 years old. She studied business in Spain and France and worked over 12 years for multinational companies as Price Waterhouse before. She specializes in lean manufacturing.

14 years ago she and her partner decided to set up their own company in the beauty sector. She attributes the success of her brand to their obsession to give the customer a good service so they keep returning to the brand.  Today they have over 200 d-uñas beauty salons and are present in 10 countries.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

I entered the franchise business 12 years ago. I was thinking about carrying out my own project while working for a multinational company. I realize that I wanted to have my own global company. I found out that the franchise system gave me the possibility to grow my company as well as help entrepreneurs to have their own business. Since then, I got involved with the franchise model.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

Our brand d-uñas came to us initially as a consumer due to the fact we could not find specialized beauty salons with customer focus strategies. When we traveled to the United State and other countries, we realized the specialized business was more successful. Therefore, we decided to build our own proposal with d-uñas.

3. What inspired the brand name?

We had a very clear idea about the brand. The brand should transmit what we offer and have a very unique personality. We are very proud that today our brand is on the top of the mind of the Spanish and Latin American consumers and is ready to expand to Middle East markets.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

I remember perfectly the day my partner and myself created the logo. We were both at home looking for ideas that could represent a nail. While looking at pictures and magazines, we found a designer who made furniture and decoration in wood. One of them inspired us for building the logo.

5.What makes your brand different from your competitors?

There are several things that make us different.

First of all, our values: Sustainability, Innovation, Health and Security.
These values apply to our Customer, Employees and Suppliers.

Secondly, we are a customer-focused company.

Third, our services are based on productivity and high quality and our products are Eco-beauty, free of toxic ingredients with unique formulas.

In terms of the franchise model, we are very strong at supporting franchisees in their operations. Their success is our success.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

The profile we aim to have is people who have the time to invest in a business. Dedication is a key success for d-uñas.

We also look for franchisees with managerial and team-building skills and people who love the beauty sector.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

The average payback time is 18 to 24 months.

They key parameters are the store locations and the team. We are very good at training team and transmitting know-how and experience both nationally and internationally.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

One of the major challenges was to go in for the Brazilian market, for several reasons: different culture, language and regulations.

We did a great job of adapting the model to the country. And today we have salons in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the north of Brazil.

8.1. What is your best achievement?

I guess our best achievement is to have a company that operates in 10 different countries, with almost 1,000 employees working for the brand. Further, we have more than 250,000 followers on Instagram and more than 600,000 customers in our database.

Most importantly, we can proudly say that we have loyal customers and employees.

9. How does your business day start?

Normally we hold a meeting with our team to prioritize activities and discuss the main topics we are working on.

I normally have meetings with master franchisees from different countries to review operations and strategies and discuss the main challenges they face.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

There have been both good and challenging moments during my career. Even in the most difficult moments, we have tried to learn lessons from it.

Perhaps the best is working with people from different countries and learning from them.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

Our vision is to grow internationally with more than 500 stores around the world as well as be at the top in the beauty services sector.

We aim to enhance customer experience everyday through omnichannel, this is why we invested to technology and digitalization.

12. Any tip for the reader who wants to be in the franchisee business?

The best tip I can bring to the readers is that the franchise system helps you to have a proven business, with a much higher success rate than the individual ones.

On top of that, the franchise system shares the best practices for franchisors and franchisees bringing to the market the best formula for the business.

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