Madison Reed in new move to expand to hundreds of locations

Online start-up Madison Reed is adding a new approach as it looks to aggressively — and quickly — expand its brick-and-mortar network.

The hair color brand announced plans to franchise its Madison Reed Color Bars under a joint venture with Franworth, a franchise consulting firm. Madison Reed, which makes and markets its own hair color products, is believed to be the first digitally native vertical brand to use the franchise business model as a growth strategy for local brick-and-mortar retail. The company said it expects to have roughly 100 company-owned stores and 500 franchises (either sold or up-and-running) in four years.

Madison Reed Color Bar’s franchise locations will mirror the company’s nine existing Color Bars, which currently operate in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. (The brand also has an exclusive wholesale deal with Ulta Beauty.) Under the agreement, Madison Reed will continue to own, grow and operate Color Bars in select cities and, along with Franworth, develop best-in-class infrastructure to support future Color Bar franchisees.

In addition, Franworth will design and deploy Color Bar franchisee recruitment efforts nationwide.

"We are excited to announce that the next channel in our growth strategy is franchising, which unlocks the ability to scale physical retail like no other,” said Amy Errett, CEO and founder of Madison Reed. “We have been trailblazers in 'omnichannel retail. To us, being omnichannel means we have a relentless drive to meet the needs of our customers wherever they are. Our customers come first, and we want to support them regardless of whether they color at home or in a Color Bar.”

Launched online in 2014, Madison Reed uses proprietary color-matching technology and a team of professional, on-call colorists to help women choose the perfect shade of hair color, which is delivered to their door. The company sells a range of “luxurious prestige” hair colors that are made without ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, PPD, phthalates, and gluten, along with related hair-color products.

"The Franworth team is honored to be partnering with Madison Reed to bring its Color Bars to communities across the United States," said Franworth founder and CEO John Rotche. "Amy and her team have built an incredible brand that consumers love. We're thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her talented team to create and build the Color Bar franchise program and expand consumer availability of Madison Reed's renowned salon-quality hair color."