Opened in the midst Of the economic downturn in April 2008, Boom Boom Brow Bar (New York City) hasn’t let an untimely recession keep it from thriving. The hip and upscale waxing salon, complete with a disco ball and a dog named Baby, is the brainchild of owner Malynda Vigliotti (aka Boom Boom). Specializing in brows and fun, the bar features four brow stations and a private treatment room for more intimate waxing. The menu, itself, is an homage to fun by making some- what uncomfortable treatments sound entertaining with witty names, such as Landing Strip: Fly the Friendly Thighs ($49). “It took two years to solidify my business, mainly through word-of-mouth and a solid reputation,” says Vigliotti. “New York City is a hard market, because everything is so expensive, from retail space to advertising, but after The New York Times ran an editorial article about us, the business grew 47 percent.” According to her, the article was written by a client who the staff didn’t even realize wrote for the Times. Here, Vigliotti shares how she and her staff keep business booming.
Q. How has Boom Boom Brow Bar continued to succeed in these trying times?
A. We give them what they think they want and run promos, like Happy Hour for lips with brows. Initially, we started when the banks went bust, so Boom Boom had a bikini special called the BARE Stearns.
Q. Why do you think the business has been able to succeed where others have failed?
A. We are consistent and really good to our clients. Loyalty cards, rockin’ brows, and a good time keep them coming back for more.
Q. How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?
A. Honestly, in a city like New York, it is all about word-of-mouth. When people are happy, they share the love.
Q. How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?
A. Because it has become a way of life, and people are on it all the time, I utilize it. Every day, we post updates about anything brow-related, what’s happening at Boom Boom, specials, and press coverage. It’s also fun to talk about celebrity brows and have Oscar and fashion week brow recaps.
Q. What steps and cost-cutting measures did you employ to offset the recession?
A. I make sure I’m always aware of where I’m spending. For instance, wax sticks are just coffee stirrers, so I called the coffee supply distributor and got a better price on them. Everyone’s prices are going up, so you have to be creative in your spending and mindful if you want to make money.
Q. Did you change your menu of offerings?
A. No, we just did a $1 increase. I say, specialize and price yourself well. I would rather have a full house than no one in my chairs.
Q. Have you had to let any employees go? Do you employ any sort of creative staffing initiatives?
A. Yes, staffing and dealing with employees is extremely difficult, but you have to really under- stand that it is not about the person, it is about the position. Boom Boom is so small that everyone has to love each other, which is why I have a 30/90 day review policy. Nip it before it’s too late. I also have everyone on contracts so that we’re all on the same page. I am not the police, but I have a business to run and a tremendous amount of liability.
Q. Have you learned from surviving the recent recession, and how do you plan to incorporate those lessons in the future?
A. I learned that not only can you survive, but you can also thrive. Boom Boom did. Just specialize, do what you do really well, and put your head down and work. There is plenty of money to be made and fun to be had. If you come from a place of love, not fear, the love will spread and so will the wax.