Alexis Courtney had spent eight years as a high school teacher when she became pregnant with her second child and quickly realized that life as an educator would no longer cut it. “My income was pretty much a wash once my husband and I factored in daycare for two kids,” she says. “We decided that if I was going to be working, we wanted it to benefit our family.”
Her husband, Neal Courtney, had been a longtime exec with Famous Brands International, the parent company of TCBY and Mrs. Fields Cookies, and the couple wondered if they should launch their own business. But neither had the bandwidth or a foolproof idea. Then Alexis took their daughter for a haircut at Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids, one of the only kids’ salons in Utah, and was charmed by the experience. She knew she had her solution: They’d become Cookie Cutters franchisees. “We bought an existing store that employed six stylists, and our first Saturday, we did 135 haircuts,” Alexis says. They soon had five locations in Utah.
Alexis’s new franchise career worked…for a while. Then Neal’s company relocated the family to Colorado and promoted him to CEO, forcing Alexis to schlep back and forth between the two states to maintain their Cookie Cutters locations. The situation wasn’t ideal.
Then in 2014, Cookie Cutters’ founders offered to sell the brand to the Courtneys. They bought it, installing Neal as CEO and Alexis