Meet Paul Sandor. Sandor is the owner and operator of the newest Chicago hair replacement franchise of White Cliffs Hair Studio, a London-based hair loss solutions provider specializing in nonsurgical hair replacement.
These days Sandor is a busy man. Besides operating White Cliffs’ Chicago hair replacement studio, he also owns and manages hair replacement studios in both Cleveland and Indianapolis. At a time when the hair loss industry is suffering its greatest draught as a result of a long, unstable economy, Sandor marches forward seemingly unaware that the latest recession has wreaked havoc on other hair replacement businesses across the country.
He has his sights set on opening hair replacement studios in both Dallas and Atlanta next year. Business is booming, he says, chiefly because what he identifies not only as White Cliffs’ superior hair loss solutions, but their approach to client service, which he maintains is second to none. We caught up to Sandor in his Chicago hair replacement studio where we discussed hair replacement, hair systems, Cancer wigs and White Cliffs’ “better way” of doing things.
Q: How did you get into the hair replacement industry?
PS: I was working at the time for a Fortune 500 company in sales. But I was suffering from hair loss, too. I found a company that at the time was producing the most natural-looking hair systems in the world. When I got my hair back I was amazed. I hadn’t even realized how much I had lost when I lost my hair and to get it all back forced me to make an easy career decision. I left my job and opened one of those studios so that I could help hair loss sufferers. I wanted to do for them what this other company did for me.
Q: Why didn’t you stay with this other company?
PS: It ended up becoming this typical story you hear about so often. They had an incredible product that they rightfully wanted to provide to more people. But they didn’t control the growth of the company. They got big overnight and they lost the magic, they lost the personal touch. Their quality control standards slipped. They basically became like everyone else so I began seeking an alternative.
Q: That’s when you met up with White Cliffs Hair Studio?
PS: That’s right. And it was really a match made in heaven because we all share the same basic values. They are a very client-care oriented company and so am I. It’s all about the service. Back in the day, the good old boys who owned most of the studios and made their money selling you your first expensive toupee that didn’t look natural ran this industry. And they got rich doing that. We don’t work like that. The philosophy at White Cliffs is to form a long-lasting relationship with the client and be thinking of providing them with their 20th hair system over many years.
Q: You’re speaking of a “relationship” not unlike the rules of any other relationship?
PS: Right, because that model really forces you to be honest and to only make promises you can deliver on. If you want a client relationship to last ten years you really do have to practice all the things that make any relationship grow and, you know, flourish, like a marriage. This is how I’ve always approached my clients. So when I went to London to meet the partners, I was elated to hear them basically say “Our approach in our studios is this: We’re not saviors or messiahs or doing anyone any favors. We need the client as much as the client needs us.” And the relationship starts at the website, when people visit it and then we bring the message into the studio and everything else we do.
Q: Besides being a philosophical ally, what else has White Cliffs brought to your own table?
PS: Good question. They have developed some ingenious products that really work, like the Volumizer hair system that basically solves the issues of patchy hair loss without requiring women to shave their heads in order to have a full head of hair. And their Mayfair HRD that they developed to help Cancer patients to look good while being treated with chemo or radiation is an incredible product and one, unfortunately, that I provide to a lot of clients.
PS: Well, I mean, because there seems to be a lot of that kind of illness happening to people. And it’s worse in a lot of ways than your typical hair loss condition. Those are the most interesting of my relationships with clients because they need a lot of compassion and care, we have to make them look like they did before they lost their hair and take good care of them while they recover. The best thing that can happen is they beat the Cancer, their hair grows back and I never see them again. Those are short, intense relationships but I take them seriously. We want to be known as the place to come to for so-called “cancer wigs”.
Q: Compared to your competitors and the industry in general, how does White Cliffs rank in terms of costs for your services?
PS: That’s the best part of what White Cliffs has brought to me is the ability to help people without breaking people’s banks. We’re affordable to most people. We have programs and plans that make it possible for virtually anyone to come to White Cliffs and get treated. As the operator here, like any operator, I decide how much value my clients are going to receive and I’m someone who wants to offer my clients a lot of value. I don’t only want them to come back. I need them to. It’s that relationship thing again.
Q: When something is so ingrained into a philosophy, it shows up everywhere, as it should.
PS: Exactly. And from the beginning, I make sure people understand that basic differences between cost versus value. If we’re talking about our hair systems, for instance, the client isn’t just paying for hair tied to a base that you can hold in your hand. No. The cost is for what that hair system does for you in your life. It pays for the talent and skill to make it look so good and natural on your head that you feel better and your life improves. Because in the end, we’re not here to make people look good. That’s never our goal. People can get used to not looking good. Nobody gets used to not feeling good. We’re here to make people feel good. We’re here to improve the quality of people’s lives. That’s what this is all about.
Travis M. Keeler is a hair loss expert with specialized knowledge of nonsurgical hair replacement and hair transplant surgery. For more information about the opportunities and pitfalls of hair replacement, please visit: Hair Replacement Video.