“In the Philippines,” says Fiona Hilario, “(there used to be no) exclusive waxing salons. The available service providers were from the extreme (sides of the spectrum) – there were high-end salons offering waxing as add-on services, but they are often too costly so not many can afford them; and there were the low-end salons, where the technicians (wax the clients really painfully, so that) you wouldn’t want to go to them in the first place. There was nowhere to go to in the middle.”
That was in June 2006, when, because “even if there was a need, a demand, there were no responses,” Hilario decided to open Lay Bare Waxing Salon (LBWS), a one-stop-shop for “all waxing needs” with a start-up capital of P300,000.
“It was hard at first – specifically for the first nine months,” Hilario, who quit her job as a human resource specialist, says. “Filipinos are not that open to waxing, with most, if they remove body hair at all, opting to shave instead.”
But LBWS’s efforts paid off. “After only six months, we opened our second branch, this time in Quezon City, and we didn’t even get our return of investment yet,” Hilario says. But mainly because “I have been receiving numerous requests to open (a waxing station) in the northern part of Metro Manila, it was a natural progression of things for us.”
From two employees, there are now eight people working at LBWS, which was incorporated early this year. “We aren’t growing extremely fast, but our growth rate is just about right,” says Hilario, who stresses that “I’m happy with our pace of growth (over 50%).”
There are already plans to re-structure LBWS, “and we’re even looking at franchising,” she adds. But over time, I learned that when opening and running a business, things are never easy. You work harder and for longer periods of time (than when you are working for somebody else). But definitely, it is more fulfilling.”
The best lesson in business, however, is “to never fail in satisfying your customers. Not only will that make them return to continue availing your services, but the word of mouth (from that) spreads fast, too, so you end up capturing more customers,” Hilario ends.
Lay Bare Waxing Salon is at 5081 Filmore Street, Barangay Palanan, Makati City; and at 18 Scout Ybardolaza, Sacred Heart, Quezon City. For inquiries, call 8337915 (Makati City), 4160998 (Quezon City), or 0917-LAY-BARE; or visit lay-bare.com.