Friday 15 December 2017

Innovative Haircare stays a cut above its rivals

A Brush With Glory: Fashionista Karen Koster who is style ambassador for Hermans
A Brush With Glory: Fashionista Karen Koster who is style ambassador for Hermans
Neil Hughes
Kieran McCarthy
Alma O'Brien

Haircare Ltd was founded in 1971 and has developed three strong respected brands in the hairdressing industry – Hermans Hairstylists, Knights of the Green, and Knights School of Barbering.

A family-run business, it was started by Herman Koster, originally from Rotterdam, with son Greg Koster now acting as general manager for the group. Herman's salons ( are in the Dundrum Town Centre, Ballinteer Shopping Centre, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre and Grafton Street.

Herman is the founder of the unisex hair care movement in Ireland. He opened his first unisex salon – The Klip Joint – at No 81, Grafton Street, in 1972.

Their walk-in service has differentiated them from others and is more in tune with the busy lifestyles that women lead. Last year Hermans launched a new brand identity, and this year Hermans introduced an organic colour range in response to demand.

Knights of the Green, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre and Dundrum Town Centre, are the group's high-end barbershops ( and Knights is Ireland's leading brand in men's hairdressing. Knights sells Ireland's widest range of traditional shaving products, brushes, creams and cut throat razors in their shops and online. This is a fast growing part of the business (www.knights

The Knights School of Barbering course has given many people a start in the industry. The school has students from all over the globe – and many of the graduates have gone on to use this course as the first step to opening their own shop.

Neil Hughes

Managing Partner

Trading since 1971, Haircare is an example of the sort of entrepreneurial, owner-managed family business that represents the backbone of the Irish economy and has been a key client of Hughes Blake for 44 years.

There are around 100,000 people working in foreign multinationals in Ireland – but there are more than a million people working in family businesses such as Haircare, and it is now becoming clear that the success of the Irish economy moving forward will be based on the ongoing success of entrepreneurial family firms such as Haircare.

Haircare's entrepreneurial culture and ethos has extended now to the second generation of the family and the business is well positioned for further growth as the Irish economy and consumer discretionary spending continues to recover.

Critical to that growth and future success will be that lessons learned from the recession from the point of view of tight control of costs and strong management carry forward into the group's next phase.

Alma O'Brien

Tax Partner

From a small initial shop in Grafton Street in 1971, Haircare now has a number of outlets across Dublin and is continuing to expand and diversify its business.

For many family businesses, the time will come for the torch to be passed on to the next generation. In general, one of the main pitfalls for passing on family business successfully can be lack of planning. Important considerations for business owners include the continuity of the business, future financial independence of the existing owners and the equitable treatment of children. Of course tax advice is an essential part of this planning process.

There are a number of tax reliefs that can be availed of by both the existing owners and the new successors to ensure that neither party is burdened with unnecessary tax costs. Examples include Retirement Relief for Capital Gains Tax and Business Asset Relief for gift/inheritance tax purposes. A long-standing director may also be entitled to a tax efficient 'golden handshake' payment on retirement.

We feel that is it important to work closely with our client through such an important phase of the business and offer bespoke tax advice to maximise value to all parties.

Kieran McCarthy

Partner, Business Advisory Services

There is a unique bond created when family members work together – but this closeness also brings with it a range of new challenges.

The structure for communication, compensation guidelines and issue resolution within the group should therefore be clearly set out and agreed upon in every family business.

The success of working relationships in family businesses can be attributed to a clear division of duties and open and honest communication on all aspects of the business.

It is also important to manage the expectations of each generation and get an understanding of these at the outset.

Many family businesses tend to avoid addressing succession until as late as possible. However, taking advice early is advisable as there are many commercial and tax considerations to be considered.

The next generation needs the training and experience to take over the reins – and of course a fund may need to be put in place for the retiring parents.

Sunday Indo Business

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