Jeremy Morgan – CEO, WellBiz Brands, Inc.

Jeremy Morgan is the Chief Executive Officer for WellBiz Brands, Inc., the nation’s premiere franchiser of three beauty, wellness, and fitness franchise brands: Amazing Lash Studio®, Elements Massage®, and Fitness Together®. With more than 600 locations and 350,000 members across the portfolio, WellBiz Brands builds profitable businesses by franchising emerging, growth-oriented consumer brands that offer exceptional service-based experiences through recurring revenue models. The company is backed by a management team with nearly a century of combined leadership experience and claimed three spots on the 2018 Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America list. WellBiz Brands, Inc. is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.

Morgan leads the WellBiz Brand’s portfolio and also oversees the Support Center’s shared services departments which constitute the backbone for the WellBiz platform including technology, legal, finance, marketing, franchise sales, real estate, construction, and human resources. Under Morgan’s leadership, this robust platform of shared services and infrastructure helps to accelerate the portfolio’s scalable and predictable revenue growth.

Since April 2019, Morgan served as the President of WellBiz Brands and prior to that role he served as CEO for Elements Massage. During his tenure with Elements Massage, he worked diligently to support and build relationships with over 250 Elements Massage franchise owners, a community of 4,000 massage therapists, and over 120,000 members nationally. As a result, he led Elements Massage to achieve its most successful year in performance in 2018 as measured by studio revenue, client growth, and customer satisfaction. Due to his open leadership style, he was recognized with a 91% Glassdoor CEO approval rating from the Elements system.

Furthermore, this year, Newsweek ranked Elements Massage as No. 1 in its 2019 America’s Best Customer Service list in the ‘Spa, Wellness and Beauty’ category. In 2018, Morgan launched Elements Corporate Ventures, LLC allowing the company to purchase and build corporate owned studios. Morgan has also been instrumental in the rollout of Himalayan Salt Stone Massage offering, making Elements Massage the first national massage franchise brand to offer the service nation-wide, as well as the launch of AromaRitual®, the brand’s exclusive line of aromatherapy treatments.

Previously, Morgan was at the Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Consumer Insights for Smashburger, where he played a vital part in leading the company through unprecedented growth from 35 to 280 restaurants; obtaining various national accolades. From there, he served as the CEO of Tava Kitchen, which was named one of Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Breakout Brands” in 2016.

Applying his vast experience in building fast-casual restaurant franchises to the wellness, fitness, and beauty sectors, Morgan plays an instrumental role in supporting WellBiz Brands high-trajectory growth goals in its next phase of expansion.

In addition to his professional achievements, Morgan is an active member of the community and supports Colorado Succeeds Board of Advisors, The Denver Boys and Girls Club, and The Denver Chamber of Commerce and Duke alumni groups. Morgan serves as member of the Duke Alumni Admissions Committee Denver and as a member of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Colorado. Morgan was a member of the Denver Chamber of Commerce 2015 Leadership Denver Class and was recently recognized by the Denver Business Journal as a member of the 2018 40 Under 40 class of leaders.

How did the concept for Elements Massage come about?
Elements Massage® was started by Michelle Merhib, a massage therapist who had a goal of providing a personalized therapeutic and healing experience through the benefits of massage therapy to every client. We just opened our 250th studio, and even though the brand is growing, our mission hasn’t changed. We’re still focused on providing a healing and personalized experience to meet every client’s specific need on every visit.

How was the first year in business?
I started out my career at WellBiz Brands as the CEO of Elements Massage. My first priority was to rebuild the trust in the system, so I jumped in and worked on getting to know as many franchise owners as possible. I also used my first year to build a new leadership team, which really helped us accelerate the launch of new products and services. This new team and open communication really helped us demonstrate to the system that we had the competency to get the innovation agenda back in place.

With that momentum behind us, we were able to launch the Himalayan Salt Stones service making Elements Massage, the first national consumer massage franchise brand in the U.S., to offer this cutting-edge service. On the heels of that launch, we looked at our aromatherapy product line and launched AromaRitual®, a new proprietary blend of essences.

We also took the significant step of becoming, not only a franchiser, but also an owner by establishing Elements Corporate Ventures. We now own eight Elements studios in the Denver metro area, making us the largest franchisee in the Elements’ system. With over 200 employees and eight studios, we have a better understanding of training and operations and have leveraged these studios as a forum for innovation, products and services.

What was your marketing strategy?
From a WellBiz Brands perspective, I’m focused on evolving our brand positioning from a holding company to a true franchising platform. I want WellBiz Brands to be recognized as a franchise platform driven by founder-driven businesses in the wellness, beauty, and fitness space. Amazing Lash Studio®, our most recent acquisition, is an example of this strategy coming to life. We built a great relationship with the CEO and the founders of the business and purchased the company last fall. It’s the first of many acquisitions we plan to undertake.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
As a privately-held company, we don’t discuss financial information. However, we are very proud and grateful for the accolades we have received both as a portfolio company and as individual brands. Last year, we claimed three spots on the 2018 Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list including Amazing Lash Studio (#260), Elements Massage (#4005), and WellBiz Brands, Inc. (#4546).

How do you define success?
At WellBiz Brands, we pride ourselves by focusing on creating profitable and scalable franchise businesses. When our owners are profitable and happy with their performance, then we’re successful. We anchor our success to their ability to reach their goals, which then leads us to reach our potential too.

What is the key to success?
I think there are three keys to success: integrity, building trust through transparent communication, and actually doing the work. It starts first with integrity and doing the right thing. Then, building trust through transparent communication with all your stakeholders is paramount. In our world, this means building trust with franchise owners and support center employees. When I think about effective transparent communication, this also means being willing to listen; it’s about doing more than just talking. And finally, no matter how small the task, you must be able to roll-up your sleeves and do the work.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
The ability to move forward after failure. Once you realize you can do that, it changes your perspective around the fear of failing.

What are some of your favorite books?
One of my favorite books is David McCullough’s book on Truman. I enjoyed this book because Truman grew up in a small town in the Midwest like me and really didn’t achieve much success until later in life, which really demonstrates how you can lead a relatively common life, and still accomplish great things and have a long-lasting impact.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
I immediately go to a day where I had to make a pivotal and immediate decision about a key hire I had made. There was a lot at stake and my decision to terminate a relationship with this key employee impacted lots of people and the business. Despite the negative consequences in the short run, I knew it was the right thing to do. Making this tough decision also informed the rest of the team about our sincere commitment to the level of integrity we expected in our business.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
What keeps me moving forward is knowing that there is more than just my success riding on what we do every day. In our business, I think about the success of our support center employees, franchisees, ownership group, massage therapists, lash stylists, and personal trainers. Once you have that perspective, giving up isn’t really an option.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Don’t plan too far out career wise, take risks, and jump on opportunities that present themselves to you.

I use my own career path as an example. I started as a banker, made a transition to a consultant, with another turn as a burger executive, and now I focus on health, wellness, and beauty. Looking at all those individual stages, it would have been unpredictable to predict where I would be right now. But because I’m open to opportunities, I’m working in a fulfilling industry with great people and doing great things. I also always stress the importance and value of relationships and investing in your network. You never know when someone you’ve helped along the way will be able to help you.



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Interviews are conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.

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