Price Attack gets a makeover
SAM Jarred has done practically every role you can think of at his family's Price Attack hair care business.
In the early days, after school, it was not out of the norm for Sam to be stacking shelves, sweeping up and price labelling bottles of shampoo.
Later he would go on to run his own stores, work as an area manager, and hold positions in merchandising, purchasing and operations at the Brisbane-based hair care chain, which has 75 locations in its network across the country, and sells both salon services and retail products.
It's no exaggeration to say that Sam understands the business inside out - as he put it, "it's in my blood".
Now, as chief executive of the famous Aussie company, Sam said he is ready to steer the long-standing business into its next phase, while simultaneously navigating tough and turbulent retail environments in recent memory.
"It was always really important to me, and to my family, that I was never given any of those positions because of my family - I've earned them, and I've earned the respect as well," he said.
Since taking on the top job in March, Sam has overseen a company rebrand and launch of a new marketing campaign, something he said was necessary in the highly competitive sector.
The company's "Get The Look" campaign, complete with a tweaked company logo, launched last month.
But the changes haven't finished there.
"From a branding perspective we've gone through an evolution of our look and feel, but the big shift has been within the new store environment," Sam said.
"Our new salons are focused on creating a pampering experience, while from a retail perspective its about making them a little less functional, and more interactive, where people can touch and feel and try.
The company, which employs more than 600 people, turns over about $95 million each year - about $80 million from retail sales, and $15 million through its distribution centres.
Sam still works closely with his parents and company owners Barry and Carol Jarred, who have been part of the Price Attack story for more than three decades.
Barry remains as chairman and is involved in the property leasing side of the business, while Carol spends much of the time "at the coalface" on the shop floors.
"At 37, Sam has practically 30 years of experience, and he's had every position you can imagine," Barry said.
"We've had other people come in to the run the business, but they didn't understand the industry well enough, and it didn't work out. From our perspective, no one is a better fit."
Price Attack was originally founded by Gary Jackson in Queensland in 1986, with Barry and Carol opening the company's first franchised store, in Victoria, in the same year.
They later became the master franchisee, and went on to acquire the entire company in 2007.
Though Price Attack is one of the country's best-known retail brands, and has long been the "go-to" place for a range of in-demand international labels such as Redken, ghd and De Lorenzo, it has also seen its share of challenges affecting the sector over the past few years.
"I think the past five years for retailers has been the most challenging, particularly for established retailers," Sam said. "There's been so much change and attacks on all fronts, from increasing competition from online, and big multinationals coming into the market."
In addition to the his job at Price Attack, Sam is also CEO of Tommy Gun Barbershops which he founded three years ago.
Within 2½ years that brand had grown to 14 sites.
"I've spent the past six months reshaping the support team for Price Attack, as well as getting structures in place so that Tommy Gun can continue to be as successful as it has been," he said.
"Like any retailer, if you don't evolve and remain competitive, and remain relevant, then you're going to find it incredibly tough.
"We have the view that there's always going to be challenges, but if you take them and use it to do better, then you'll be successful.''