Merle Norman Cosmetics Franchisee Spotlight: Colorado Springs Owner Tracey Fogel
Longtime owner shares her Merle Norman journey, from recent store remodel to a work/life balance that helped the mom of four build her beauty supply franchise
Merle Norman franchisee Tracey Fogel shares the journey she began 30 years ago as a young mother who partnered with her mother-in-law to co-own the Colorado Springs Merle Norman beauty supply franchise studio. Today, as the successful studio’s sole owner, she recently oversaw the relocation and stunning remodel of the studio from a longstanding mall location to a modern and standalone retail store.
Being well-established in the Colorado Springs community over the years has allowed Tracey to see her clients grow up with the Merle Norman brand, some becoming moms themselves and introducing their daughters to Merle Norman.
“When I first started, I did a job fair for a customer’s high school and just recently her daughter brought her daughter in for her first makeover and skincare consultation. And it was just such an amazing experience. We have a lot of really neat connections and a lot of stories like that here at the studio,” Tracey says.
The mom of four boys says the flexibility of business ownership Merle Norman beauty supply franchise has provided her over the years has been an amazing vantage point. Her sons all played hockey growing up and business ownership gave her flexibility in her schedule.
We recently sat down with Tracey to talk about her recent store remodel and the Merle Norman experience.
Tell us about moving your studio from the longtime mall location to your beautiful new standalone retail location.
I had been in the mall for 30 years and just recently renovated and moved. It was time for a change. The lease was up, and I really needed to start fresh – and I think that being able to be on the outside with all the bright windows and the front door is so great instead of customers having to park and walk in the mall has been such an advantage.
What is it about the location that is special?
We are very accessible as far as the interstate and traffic. There is great parking, and we are surrounded by wonderful tenants.
Have you seen your clients change with the new location?
We have seen some younger clientele coming in because of the remodel. It’s a little bit trendier, it’s a little bit more fun, and very accessible. We have the “play table” and we make it really easy to come and try new products.
Are there new products you’re seeing that younger clients are attracted to?
Younger women are very aware of skincare and the importance of taking care of their skin.
How important is it to stay continually updated on the latest in skincare and makeup?
It is very important. We’re always doing continuing education. And I think it’s very important to train and to further everybody’s knowledge of the product so that when we meet with the customers that it’s passed on to them.
What have you loved about running your own Merle Norman beauty franchise business all these years?
I have four boys, so Merle Norman has definitely raised four boys and the flexibility has been absolutely amazing. Just being able to make my own schedule has been wonderful. All my boys played hockey so there was a lot of traveling.
What is one thing you tell new franchisees about the support that Merle Norman offers?
Everyone is just a phone call away. Everyone is so helpful and grateful and willing to find an answer. If they don’t know it, they will find it and get back with me; the communication is wonderful.
How did the home office team support you as you designed your new beauty franchise store space?
They were very helpful and supportive. I think I sent in 50 pictures of different angles and different structures here in the new space and they would help me lay things out and give me ideas on the best layout for the new store as well as the best location.
Why is now a great time to open a Merle Norman cosmetics studio?
Women are ready to get out and to feel good and pamper themselves again. They are tired of wearing a mask with no lipstick and it’s time to let those lips shine!
Who is your competition and how do you compare to them?
Our competition is any makeup store locally, I suppose. And how do we compare to our competition? For me, walking into our studio feels like you’re walking into your living room. When you come into our studio, we’re welcoming and it’s peaceful and quiet and a more intimate experience that you have when compared to the mall. The one-on-one experience you get at Merle Norman is so much more of a connection than you get at a counter at a cosmetic store. We are here to help you. We have one brand here that we know very, very well, instead of having many brands we know little about.
Are you proud of what you’ve built here?
There are no words to describe how I feel every morning coming into the store. It is breathtakingly beautiful. I had several options about how I wanted to go about doing the remodel, from painting my current fixtures to replacing some of the fixtures and the cabinets. But it all looked kind of hodgepodge. We decided to go ahead with the whole remodel. It is breathtaking and there is absolutely no comparison to how my store looked before.
What’s the feedback from clients?
They love it. They are amazed at the transition and feel that it’s absolutely beautiful and modern. They feel very special when they come into the store.
Are you seeing clients who used to just kind of pop in and pop out hang out longer and want to spend more time in the store?
Yes, they spend a little bit more time. I think things are very accessible, everything is out so everything can be touched. They love the play table because they can get their hands in it, and they can try things. I think just being able to see every product sitting on the shelf as opposed to sitting in drawers really helps for the resale of all the products.
What’s it been like building your team?
Our staff is like a family. We are very supportive of one another and love each other and we would do anything for each other. Having a beautiful location and having something you’re so proud of makes it easy to come into work every day. When you come into work and you see this bright sunshine, the beautiful fixtures, and all the wonderful products, it’s easy to feel like you’re a part of something and our team feels very connected and loves coming to work.
How do you feel about the opportunity that Merle Norman has given you to run your own business and to be a successful, independent woman?
I’m very proud of it. I’m proud to be here and be who I am. Having the store allows me to have a wonderful business, yet still have a family and to go home and to be able to have it all.
READY TO OPEN A MERLE NORMAN BEAUTY SUPPLY FRANCHISE IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
Merle Norman Cosmetics franchise is poised for growth throughout the country. Extended to entrepreneurs beginning in 1931, then by Merle Norman herself, our franchise opportunity gives franchisees personal and professional fulfillment as Merle Norman Cosmetics studio owners.