Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Thanks to the growing popularity of Brazilian and Hollywood waxes, manscaping, and the desire for smooth hair-free skin, wax-specific spas are carving out a prominent niche within the industry. Waxing, once considered painful, is now being made fun by today’s on-trend waxing studios, which entice clients with inviting decor, cheekily named services, and creative marketing ideas that inspire the imagination and push the envelope. What many of these specialty wax shops have in common is a refreshing take on hair removal. Here, discover how they’ve transformed the traditional waxing experience and made it a fundamental part of good hygiene.
Setting the Stage
At Stript Wax Bar’s eight California locations, the goal is to make waxing a pampering experience with a luxurious environment. There, spa-goers are treated to brownie bites and a complimentary glass of Champagne upon arrival. At Strip: Ministry of Waxing, which has 31 locations worldwide, clients are provided with plastic squeeze toys to help alleviate any anxiety. Each outpost features a different interior design concept. In Singapore, for example, one of the locations is designed to resemble a caravan backyard party. The New York City outlet has a more industrial feel to it and includes artwork made from actual wax. While a relaxing setting can certainly put clients at ease, it’s technique that really helps waxing spas stand out.
Practicing for Perfection
According to Stript Wax Bar owner Katherine Goldman, there are advantages to frequenting a wax-specific spa, such as the skills of those performing the treatments. “Some estheticians may not be as fond of waxing as they are of facials, but if they choose to work at a wax-specific spa, you know they love to wax,” says Goldman. “Usually, spas that focus on waxing have strict hygiene standards, as well, and maintain quality control with regular training just for waxing.”
Urban Waxx, which has four locations in Oregon and plans to expand, features a team of Smooth Operators, each of whom must complete the company’s Waxx Education Program. “Because of the sheer volume of guests we see each year, our technical skills are beyond compare,” says founder and owner Shannon Conley. “In 2013, we did more than 26,000 Brazilians, so as you can imagine, we have gotten very good at delivering that over-the-top service to every size, shape, personality, and type of guest that you can imagine.” Skilled practitioners certainly make the process less painful, as do the products used.
Stocking the Shelves
As with most product categories, waxes have evolved to make hair removal a more enjoyable experience and even inject a bit of fun with a multitude of specialized waxes. At Strip: Ministry of Waxing, clients can experience the three-course Brazilian Wax featuring coconut wax for sensitive skin, chocolate wax for stubborn hairs, and strawberry wax to calm and soothe skin. Uni K Wax Centers, which feature 31 locations throughout California, Florida, and New York, use an all-natural elastic wax made of beeswax, essential oils, and a special pine-tree resin, eliminating the need for wasteful paper strips. “Once the wax is applied at body temperature, it sits on the skin and gently opens the pores while moisturizing the skin and removing hair ouchlessly with a light exfoliation at the same time,” says founder and CEO Noemi Grupenmager. While the waxes used are important, so, too, is the growing number of post-wax products on the market. These products have the potential to keep clients coming back, which is why many waxing spas go that extra step to promote new products and treatments.
Spreading the Word
When the owners of Fuzz Wax Bar (Toronto) wanted to generate some buzz, they hired marketing agency Lowe Roche to create a fun, attention-grabbing campaign. The promotion involved a male model walking around the streets of Toronto covered in waxing strips. Onlookers were encouraged to tear off the wax strips, revealing smooth hair-free skin. The wax strips also doubled as coupons, which could be redeemed for a discount at one of the Fuzz Wax Bar locations. Talk about a walking advertisement.
Tying into a special event is another way some spas market their services. For instance, European Wax Center took advantage of the 86th Annual Academy Awards earlier this year to celebrate its advertising campaign, “The Experts in Eyebrows.” A panel of eyebrow specialists deliberated on the Best Red Carpet Brows and named “Scandal” star Kerry Washington as having the best brows of the night. To kick off the campaign, European Wax Center released a video broadcast named, “Red Carpet.” It also debuted print ads in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City, and supported the six-month campaign by running the video in newsstand kiosks and in the centers themselves, as well as with events throughout the country. “When we take a position, we believe it needs to be communicated across a variety of media platforms,” says Sherry Baker, president of marketing and product development. “Our goal is to make it all synergistic.”
Not afraid to court controversy, Strip: Ministry of Waxing partnered with PETA, an animal rights organization, to highlight its anti-fur stance. The UK-based campaign featured print ads encouraging people to “Wear ‘Bare Skin’ Not Fur!” along with a suggestive image. The promotion also included a donation to PETA from every Brazilian and XXXX Strip performed.
The company also launched a cheeky campaign to promote its Boyzilian Wax to men. The promotion offered 40 percent off their first Boyzilian Wax with a memorable print ad featuring an image of a carrot and the tagline, “Stop Hiding Your Potential—Upsize in 30 Mins.” In smaller print, it encouraged them to “rise up to the occasion.” Such original and playful slogans can’t help but generate attention. “Despite having numerous stores across the globe, we put in loads of effort to ensure that we offer creative and fun campaigns and offer a different interior concept for each store worldwide,” says Alanna Pithis, marketing assistant at Strip: Ministry of Waxing’s New York City outlet.
Aside from innovative marketing campaigns, word of mouth is priceless, especially at Uni K Wax Centers. “Our customers are our best marketers,” says Grupenmager. “They refer their friends to our centers to experience the all-natural waxing experience, and we reward our customers for referrals and repeat business through a rewards program, as well as through special promotions.”
At Stript Wax Bar, involving the community is key. “We are very big on grassroots marketing and work with the community and other businesses to help promote our services,” says Goldman. “We team up with businesses with similar clientele, such as exercise studios, to do events and cross marketing to bring people in.” One especially popular promotion involves partnering with a local jewelry designer for a Beauty and Jewelry Open House. “We invite clients in for a special day of pampering, and they can shop for one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces at the same time,” says Goldman.
Now located in most metropolitan areas, this new breed of specialized spa is revolutionizing the waxing experience and making it more accessible to both genders, an approach from which many traditional spas should take note. “We aim to offer each customer the ultimate Strip experience—we are more than just a waxing salon,” says Pithis. “There are personal touches in everything we do, from the creative campaigns, individually designed stores, tip-top hygiene standards, and well-trained waxing therapists and front-desk manager to the specially formulated wax and post-wax care products and the music we play during the treatments.” With such an array of waxing studios and more in the works, spa-goers needn’t worry about finding themselves in a hairy situation anytime soon.