Primed to Perfection

Opening during a rather fragile economic time, Stript Wax Bar, a spa devoted to waxing and other related services, debuted its first location on Union Street in San Francisco in 2009. The company has since grown to seven locations in California and will soon be adding an eighth in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. Featuring a modern boudoir setting, the spas are all outfitted with custom-designed tufted furniture, chandeliers, and damask wallpaper. Each, however, reflects the distinct character of its surrounding neighborhood.

According to founder and owner Katherine Goldman, the goal has always been to make Stript a unique and recognizable brand. Judging from its sustained growth, the company is certainly well on its way to achieving that goal. “Since opening in 2009, Stript has shown a more than tenfold increase in revenue, representing a 60 percent annualized sales growth,” says Goldman. “We attribute Stript’s success to a relentless and passionate focus on providing the utmost in quality waxing and other skincare services and strive to excel in delivering an exceptional customer experience every time.” In addition to offering waxing services, Stript also offers additional services, such as clinical facials using Alchimie Forever, spray tanning, and treatments that complement the waxing experience. Here, Goldman shares more on how the company is gaining momentum.


How has Stript Wax Bar continued to succeed in trying times?

A. Stript Wax Bar has succeeded by devoting ourselves to featuring the highest quality products at an affordable price. We maintain a loyalty program to reward our repeat customers and provide flexible options and additional discounts to customers willing to commit to waxing packages in sets of three, six, nine, or even 12. We also have a “maintenance” package for many of our services that gives an additional discount to those clients returning within a six-week time frame.


Why do you think the business has been able to succeed where others have failed?

A. As the owner, I have devoted myself to maintaining a close eye on the pulse of the spa. I’ve tried to infuse my own passion and commitment to quality in each and every esthetician who works for us and have continued to adapt, innovate, and evolve as a company to make sure we are always responding to the needs of our customers and our communities. As a licensed esthetician myself, I am hands on with nearly all the hiring and training to make sure every single employee is as committed to the Stript standard as I am as their employer.


How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?

A. We attract new clients through our own internal referral program, traditional and social media, and participating actively in the community and hosting our own in-spa events to enhance awareness. Ultimately, a spa is a local business that is only successful if it’s an integral part of its neighborhood and community. We are a regional company with national aspirations, but we must never cease to be inherently local at our core.


How do you use digital marketing and socal media to boost business?

A. It’s through referrals, friends, reviews, and community events that we feel our customers can best engage with us as a trusted provider of waxing and skincare services. Whether that’s through a mix of traditional and social PR efforts, increased emphasis on delivering relevant and community-centric content on social media outlets, or through digital and social paid advertising and promotion, social media is clearly a critical component of our marketing strategy, but it also must be complemented by traditional marketing efforts in traditional channels.


What steps and cost-cutting measures did you employ to offset the recession?

A. Rather than focusing on cost cutting, whether it’s in a strong or struggling economic environment, we try to focus on continually improving profitability. By making sure we are constantly evaluating which of our top-line costs like advertising, PR, and promotional spending are delivering real value and which are not, we are constantly improving the return for each marketing dollar we choose to spend. Similarly, we don’t look to reduce any of our service delivery costs unless we are sure we can do so without impacting the quality of the service we deliver or the experience the customer receives. After a nearly year-long effort, we successfully formulated a proprietary hard wax that I felt improved upon our then current wax in key areas like hair adhesion, gentleness on the skin, and drying time while also saving us money on a per unit basis. That’s a perfect example of how we approach cost containment at Stript.


How do you keep your menu fresh?

A. We are always thinking of new, interesting services. Our signature Vajacial treatment, which is a Stript trademark, has been featured on “The Doctors” and other print and television media as something truly innovative we’ve brought to our segment. It’s essentially a facial treatment for the bikini region that shows tremendous benefits for those women plagued by skin discoloration, irritation, and dryness. It even fights the occurrence of ingrown hair that can often accompany the waxing or shaving of body hair.


What plans do you have for the future?

A. We genuinely feel like it is our mission to change the waxing experience for the better for women and men everywhere, not just here in California, where we’ve gotten our fortunate start. We’ve chosen consciously not to grow by franchising or to expand too quickly, so as not to ever compromise the quality of our service experience, and we remain committed to growing in a community-centric and employee-conscious manner.


What have you learned from surviving  the recession?

A. We have learned that you can never rest on your laurels and have to continue to strive to build and innovate, not just maintain your business. We are constantly trying to improve upon our service and product offering and create lasting relationships within the community.­—­­Compiled by Heather Mikesell