Wax + Exfoliate = ❤️

If you come into any UW, you will likely end up having a conversation with one of us about the wonders of exfoliation. WE LOVE TO EXFOLIATE! 

Anyone who has waxed will know that there is nothing like the feeling of a fresh Brazilian or a freshly waxed pair of legs.  It’s so…liberating!  However, there is one magical step that is required in order to get a really smooth wax: that’s right…exfoliation!

Waxing is a way to exfoliate the skin.  When you come in for your service, we remove your hair, but we also remove a layer of dead, dull skin.  That sis why sometimes your skin may feel more sensitive after your treatment.  But…what about in between your waxes?  How do you say smooth?  What happened when the hairs start to grow back in and there are ingrown hairs?  What about red bumps?  

So many yuck aftereffects can be avoided by regular exfoliation.  Exfoliating the skin can help to remove dead skin cells that can build up and cause irritation, redness and ingrown hairs.  

Our advice: Use a 2 pronged approach to exfoliation perfection: 

  1. Use a chemical exfoliant.  Chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells with the use of chemicals (you could probably have deduced that from the name).  Think AHAs, BHAs, peels…all chemical.  Our favorite?  Serious Serum OF COURSE!  Not only did we develop it, so we know it is 100% fabulous,  but it has both AHAs and BHA.  Because of that, your dead, dull skin doesn’t stand a chance.  The AHAs dissolve the glue that hold those dead cells together.  The BHAs work deeper in the skin and have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and helps with break outs and blemishes.  BOOM!  Both are in Serious Serum along with so many other skin soothing properties.  Start using Serious Serum on waxed skin the day of your wax (we put it on everyone in the salon before they go), and use it every night on clean, dry skin.  www.seriousserum.com
  2. Use a physical exfoliant.  This covers any kind of scrub type product.  Sugar scrubs, salt scrubs, coffee scrubs, dry brushes, scrubby gloves…you get the idea.  Anything that manually sloughs away dead dry skin is a winner.  However, try to avoid the scrubs that have the larger granules…like crushed up pits or ground up nut shells.  Those can be a little aggressive and also cause micro tears in the skin.  We sell quite a few scrubs, brushes and polishes at Urban Waxx.  My personal favorite right now is the Sugar Scrubs from Beaute Nouveau. They smell amazing and are incredibly moisturizing.

Chemical exfoliation is more effective than physical exfoliation, because it can worker than the surface of the skin to really loosen those dead cell bonds.  However, we recommend BOTH!  Chemical every night and physical a few times  a week.

Getting on a good routine will really help to not only allow those new hairs to come to the surface without becoming ingrown, but will also help irritation and dryness.  Just be sure to stop a day or two before your next wax.  Excessive exfoliation can irritate your skin.

Happy exfoliating, everyone! xx

Babes Who Hustle

We love the Instagram and interviews of Babe who Hustle! It is always inspiring to read about female entrepreneurs. 

Click on the link to read about a sorts of entrepreneurs and small business owners…including me (Shannon) and some of my thoughts about being the founder of Urban Waxx. 

Necessity is the mother of invention. Necessity is what caused me to make so many choices when it came to my business. In fact, necessity is what pushed me to open Urban Waxx. I wanted to work in a salon that only waxed, with a fun upbeat atmosphere, with a serious focus on customer service. It didn’t exist in Portland in 2007, so I opened one.

The same thing happened with the invention of Serious Serum. As an aside, I do not consider myself a creative person. I am so in awe of people who are constantly thinking of new and exciting concepts. That is not me. Instead, I usually get frustrated with something that I am dealing with and I finally think: “I can do this better.” And then, sometimes I do it.  Urban Waxx is an example of that. We aren’t the first salon to wax. We aren’t the first salon to only wax. But Urban Waxx is my idea of the BEST wax salon.

Case in point: Serious Serum. So, ingrown hair is the bane of every Waxxer’s existence. They are a real bummer. There is nothing worse than having a perfectly smooth Brazilian only to be plagued by pesky red bumps. I ALWAYS used to struggle with ingrown hairs after I waxed myself.  They drove me bananas! I tried everything that was available to treat them…everything that was on the market. Nothing worked! Some things worked a little…but nothing worked as well as they claimed. When I opened Urban Waxx, we carried a few ingrown hair serums. I had a real problem recommending them to guests because…well…they didn’t work very well.  SO frustrating! One day I was at my friend’s spa getting s facial. She was carrying this glycolic facial serum for $75. She told me to use it on my face and it would be amazing. So, I bought it. It was amazing for my face. I had a thought: Could this be amazing on my bikini area? And guess what…it was.  So then my next thought was: Why isn’t there a serum that can be this good for ingrown hair prevention? I think you see where this is going…

Necessity is the mother of invention. I needed a serum that worked. There wasn’t one available. I invented one. 

I love Serious Serum. It is available in every Urban Waxx, online, and in so many spas and salons around the country. It works. It is formulated with AHAs and BHAs. The AHAs (lactic and glycolic acid) help to slough off rough, dead, dry skin cells on the surface of the skin. The BHA (willow bark- a natural salicylic acid) helps to dissolve the skin debris that clogs pores. Together, these exfoliating agents really do a number on so many skin troubles. Clearly, I developed it to help prevent ingrown hair. However, there are SO many other uses for Serious Serum. It is facial grade, so use it on your face for breakouts. Use it on your face for helping to soften fine lines and wrinkles. One of my favorite uses: It treats keratosis pilaris.  Do you know what that is?  It’s that rough, bumpy skin on the back of your arms and legs.  Yes, Serious Serum can really help with that.  At Urban Waxx we use Serious Serum post waxing because it is SO soothing that it helps with redness and irritation, and then the AHAs and BHAs kick in and they really help to eliminate post wax breakouts.

The other important piece for me: I wanted a serum that was very effective and would not cost a fortune.  Serious Serum is $25. 

So, guess how Fresh wipes came about?  Yep, same way.  Owning wax salons, we try to think of everything that can make the guest experience perfect and comfortable.  We take into consideration that some of our guests will be coming for a wax after work…working out…running around all day…and may want the option of freshening up. 

I thought: Wouldn’t it be a great idea to have individual wipes in the restrooms for guests to use before their wax?  And also available for guests to purchase so that they can freshen up, on the spot, anytime? 

Enter Fresh wipes.  Lots of work with a chemist and my creative team and packaging companies and Fresh wipes arrived!  I LOVE Fresh wipes.  They are so cute, all natural, and they freshen all over.  I have Fresh wipes in my yoga bag, the car, my purse…you name it!  I have used them on long trips, camping, after workouts, and of course pre-wax.  Also, to wipe up my car and my kid’s faces and hands.  Basically, everything!

And…I wanted them to be SO CUTE! And they are.  I absolutely love the way they look and it always makes me smile to see one in my bag! 

I love both of these products and I am passionate about the creation of them.  Like I said, I am not creative, just particular…and I am particular about everything that I do. Let me know what you think about Serious Serum and Fresh wipes! We love feedback! x


 

Recently, we have started asking the questions  in interviews: “Are you a happy person? What are 3 things that bring you joy? Do you like to make magic?” That last question is my favorite and I love to roll it into a conversation. Stefanie, our HR director, has a more subdued affect, so watching her casually work that into an interview gives me endless joy!

These questions and the answers that follow are SO important to the process. Why? Because to have a happy team, you have to hire happy people. I have learned over the years that NO matter how hard we try, no matter how perfect we make the environment, we cannot make a person happy. A person chooses to be happy, or chooses to be unhappy.

I love happy people. They have a light around them that is intoxicating. They can draw you in with their smiles, their laughter, their energy.

In the beginning of the Urban Waxx handbook, we have the below paragraph that I wrote probably 5 or 6 years ago:

Life is full of choices. We choose little things: what coffee to order, what clothes to wear, whom to spend time with. We choose big things: where to live, who to love, what our life’s work will be.  You have chosen to be part of Urban Waxx.  And Urban Waxx chose you right back. You may think that you’ve chosen a job, but in fact, you’ve chosen a family and a career path. And we’re glad you did. We want you here. We want Urban Waxx to become a part of who you are, not just what you do.  We want you to learn from every interaction you have while you’re with us. We want you to learn from co-workers and your guests – and we want you to teach them all a thing or two, too.  We want you to participate, grow, and evolve, and become a part of our mission. It’s about honoring the moment, and creating something bigger than any of us are as individuals.

At Urban Waxx we do much more than just waxx. We deliver an extraordinary experience for every Guest.  We create surprise and delight.  We help people look good and feel great.  We raise self-esteem.  We increase self-confidence. WE MAKE MAGIC! All of this begins with you!

Welcome to Urban Waxx.

I believed in every word of that paragraph when I wrote it and I do even more today. Full disclosure: I just added that part about WE MAKE MAGIC…but I love it.

I want Urban Waxx to be better every single day. I want to have a happy team, not only because it is so important to have a positive and happy work place, but because a happy team means that we will have a happy guest experience. You cannot fake happiness (I mean, you can try, but it you either have to be the best actor ever or eventually you start feeling happy and it stops being fake). When I walk into one of the salons, and I hear laughter, and I smell all of the good smells, and I see the GEMs smiling and the Waxxers smiling and the guests looking pleased or excited…that is magic.

Every single day, we think of ways to make Urban Waxx better. We think of tiny details to make the experience for the guest warm, friendly, and special. We want them to feel like they are guests in our home. We want you to look forward to the entire experience…the mimosa or your favorite tea, the Fresh wipes in the restroom, the M&Ms to snack on. (Pro tip: mix half M&Ms with half trail mix. OH YES). We want you to feel completely at ease and loved and included.

Every single day, we think of ways to make the employee experience better. My whole goal when I opened Urban Waxx was to create a home for employees. I wanted the team to feel seen and heard and important. I wanted them to be paid well, better than any other salon or spa in the area, with more and better benefits. I wanted, like I state in the handbook, the opportunity to have a career. I wanted them to be able to save, and have great benefits. And..they do! We offer a fantastic benefit package with health insurance, a 401K with a match, PTO, bonuses, parties…all the things that I had wanted when I was an employee…I wanted for my team. Most of all, I want them to make magic. At Urban Waxx, I know that without a happy team, there will be no happy guests.

So, we strive, every day, to do better and be better. I have always thought that my curse was the ability to walk into any Urban Waxx and see what was wrong or needed to be fixed…anything out of place I could see in a millisecond. A while ago, a dear friend said: “That’s not your curse! That’s your Superpower!” So, I will take that. I like that. I can see ALL of the details because that is where the magic is…in all of those tiny details that leave you feeling…happy.

It’s summer time! That means it is time for shorts and bikinis!

Have you taken the plunge yet and come in for your first Brazilian? If not, it’s time!

When I tell people what I do, they either are super psyched or they seem terrified. So many people want to get waxed and they are either nervous or they have had a bad wax experience. Well, rest easy…we have seen it all!

There are 2 things that I have found that most women get nervous about when they think about getting their first Brazilian: the pain, and the embarrassment. I am here to tell you…you have nothing to worry about. Yes, there is some pain, but it is so fast and SO worth it! In my experience, we mostly here guests telling us at the end of their Brazilian: “Wow! That was so much better than I imagined!” After the first wax, the rest are smooth sailing.

Now, let’t talk about the other fear: you have to take your clothes off in front someone! A stranger! In a bright room! Eek! Sometimes I think that we (your waxxers) forget that feeling of embarrassment and modesty because we are SO used to being around people’s parts. It seems totally normal to us! And, I can assure you that we see it ALL! There is really nothing that phases us…least of all, your body! We love all shapes and sizes, and to us, it’s all just skin and hair!

Very early on in my career, I realized that we ALL have our own body issues. I remember, many years ago, I had a beautiful young gal come in for a Brazilian. She could have been a swimsuit model, and yet, when she hopped on the table she cautioned me: “Ugh don’t look at my cellulite!” I was shocked…not only was she cellulite free, but it occurred to me that we ALL look at ourselves and mostly focus on what we hate about ourselves and what we would like to change. These are things that probably seem so minute to the rest of the world, but we all have those things about ourselves that we wish we could change.

Waxing, and being around so many naked bodies, has taught me that there is so much beauty in everyone. Confidence and feeling good about yourself is better than all of the exterior alterations. As I have gotten older, I laugh at all the endless hours I fretted about parts of me that I hated. What a waste!!! Do you know what I realized? NO ONE CARES! No one thinks about you as much you think about you. When I realized that, when I finally understood that we are all just running around focusing on ourselves (mostly) it was actually quite liberating!

So…challenge yourself! Get naked and take a good loving look at your bod. What do you love about it? What makes you proud and happy? Go to a yoga class and see all of the different body types. Go to a beach or better yet…a nude beach…and see all of the differences. Notice that the people that seem the happiest and most free may not be the ones that are physically perfect…but the ones that seem the most confident. I encourage you to not waste one more minute worrying about what anyone else thinks about you and your beautiful self!

Get a Brazilian! In my experience, once people have their first wax they seem incredibly liberated! You did it! You got naked in front of a stranger! And…it was actually amazing!

My favorite thing…above all else as a Waxxer…is the ability to connect with another person, to validate them, to put aside their fears and insecurities, to affirm them. It is so gratifying to connect with another person.

Ready to try it? There’s no better time than the present, babe!

Happy Summer!

 

Happy Father’s Day, Mr. Conley.

My dad convinced me to open up Urban Waxx, and he never even knew it.

My Dad was a complicated man. He was many things, to many people, throughout the course of his life. When I was young, he was a giant to me. He wore suits to work every day, and a hat when it rained. He would commute the 90 minutes from suburban New Jersey, where I grew up, to his job as a graphic designer on Madison Avenue. In the evening I would wait for him at the end of our driveway as he took the long walk home from the train station. I would see him walking, with purpose, from far away down Northfield Road, to me. I would get SO excited to see him, and he would greet me with a wide grin and swing me up into his arms. He carried a brief case, he shined his shoes in front of the TV every night. He was as punctual as my mom was tardy. He always cleaned his plate. He rarely got angry but when he did the ground would shake. He had a devilish sense of humor and at the dinner table, we all tried to keep up with him. I often won his approval by being the funniest. In my house, it wasn’t necessarily the best student or most athletic that garnered favor…but the most interesting and the most funny…yes, those were the awards that everyone gunned for. My dad smoked a pipe and was a voracious reader. He loved music and bought me my first Beatles tape (Abbey Road) when I was 8. He was creative. He was hard working. He was charming.

He was also divinely flawed. My mom and dad had an incredibly messy divorce when I was 16. At the time, my parents and their divorce seemed embarrassing and inconvenient and so deeply tacky to me. I pronounced to all who would listen that it was a relief that my parents had split and that my father had been transferred to Dallas. Of course, we all know now that the rantings of an angsty 16 year old have little weight in the grand scheme of things. I was mostly angry at my father. It is a terrible thing when a girl realizes that her father is just a man. Just a man who makes mistakes and causes pain and doesn’t know how to say sorry to a very outspoken teenage girl.

As the years passed, my relationship with my dad ranged from cordial to deafening silence. He remarried, he stayed in Dallas. I graduated college in Arizona, went back to the East Coast, and my resentment toward my father grew to epic proportions. I would tell my friends that my lack of a relationship with my dad did not affect me, but the bitter sadness in my words didn’t fool anyone.

When I turned 30, my dad extended an olive branch. We hadn’t spoken for a few years at this point, and at first I was quite skeptical. My dad was never good at taking accountability, and even worse at apologies, so I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, he had changed. The years between us had pushed him into therapy, and with his therapy had come some serious soul searching. He came to Charleston, where I was living, and we spent a weekend together…talking. He went through all of the things that he felt he owed me an amends for, and I mean ALL of the things. I wasn’t a parent then but as a mother now I know I cannot imagine what it would feel like to have that rift between my child and me. What a terrible thing. We spent the weekend crying. And laughing. And when it was over…I felt peace. I felt clean. I was relived of all that horrible anger and disappointment and sadness that I had been carrying so closely to my heart for so long. I had my Dad back.

I moved to Portland in January of 2007. I had procured a terrible job at a terrible spa (now long gone) in the Pearl. It was owned by an extremely dysfunctional couple and every day was like a toxic circus. I was sitting at the front desk of that terrible spa when my sister called me and told me that I needed to get on a plane, now, and fly to Florida. My dad had been vacationing there, and he had gotten sick…very sick…and was in the hospital. She told me to come, now. I didn’t ask many questions. I got up, left the spa, and quickly made my way to the airport and then to Florida. My dad was not sick. My dad was dying. My father, who was a runner, and a competitive swimmer, also had weak lungs scarred from childhood illness. My dad was stubborn as a mule, and although he was supposed to be using oxygen to combat the poor Dallas air and his weak lung strength, he wasn’t using oxygen. He was pretending, like he was prone to do, that he was fine. He wasn’t fine. He had contracted pneumonia, and it was taking him out.

I stood by my dad’s bed with my sisters and my brother. It was the first time we had all been together in at least 5 or 6 years. My dad, that man who stood so tall and so proud, that man that was a giant to me, laid in the hospital bed, intubated, looking so frail and small that it didn’t seem possible. I held his hand and it was cool, and his skin felt papery. Even though he was barely conscious he heard us, and it was like we were little at the dinner table again. We all tried to make the best jokes, we tried to get him to laugh, we tried to win the award for most clever.

My dad died on March 16. When he was gone, I remember standing on a street corner downtown. I had just gotten a coffee and it was raining. I remember looking around and wondering how everything could still be going. How could the world just keep moving, as if nothing had changed. How could everything be the same even though nothing was the same.

I had dabbled with the idea of opening my own business before my dad got sick, and I had even talked to him about it, but I was afraid. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to succeed. He had told me, “Shannon. Just do it. What have you ever tried and really wanted and not been successful at?” His death was all of the motivation I needed. Death has a funny way of crystalizing what is important, you know? I suddenly knew that I was done wasting time. Done working for places that were awful. Done being afraid.

My dad has been gone now, for 11 years. 11 years!!! I almost cannot believe how long it has been. Sometimes I think about all of the things he hasn’t been a part of. He never saw me be a success. He never walked into an Urban Waxx. He never met Stella or Dino. He watched me make a LOT of mistakes, but he didn’t really get to ever see me get my footing. But…I can still feel him. Sometimes I will smell something that reminds me of him, like his cologne, Aramis, or I will hear some music that reminds me of him (the Beatles…I still sing Blackbird to my kids before bed), or someone will make a silly pun or say something that reminds me so much of my father that it hurts. I see him in my kids. I see him SO much in my brother. There are so many times that I think to myself, “Is he proud of me?”

I miss him. I tell my kids about him, and how much he would have loved them. He would have found them to be so delightful. He would have laughed at all of their jokes. I think about him walking into an Urban Waxx and looking at the details. I think he would have loved the design, the order, the details, the warmth and the laughter. I would love to have been able to ask his advice when things got really, really hard. I would have loved to have him celebrate with me. I think, now, that my dad would be proud of me. And that makes me happy.

 

 

Instagram = ❤️

Are you on Instagram? If so…are you following your favorite waxx salon?

We love Instagram at Urban Waxx because it gives us a chance to show you who we are and what we do. We are a pretty fantastic team of women and we love to have fun.

Kaylynn is our Creative Director and she is also in charge of all things Instagram, so you will see her on there quite a bit. I also love to make an appearance, and one of my favorite things to do it to go in the salons and chat up team!

We also have announcements, contests, and all sorts of fun insider information so do yourself a favor and connect with us!

xo

Bossy Mom

 

“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” -Tina Fey

 

Becoming a mother changed me. Opening a business changed me. Both of those statements are TREMENDOUS understatements. When I think about life before Urban Waxx and my kids all I remember is a long blur of free time and leisurely brunches and sleep. I am certain that there were lots of other things happening but WHAT HAPPENED TO SLEEP? Nothing changes more when you become a Mom than your lack of sleep.

I digress. I have always known that I wanted to own my own business. I did not always know that I wanted to become a mom. That came later in life, and coincided with Urban Waxx opening. I thought that I was the only crazy person that would decide to have a baby and open a business at the same time, however, over the years I have talked to SO many female business owners that have done both in unison. So, maybe we are a little mad. Or, we just like to see how much we can do on 2 hours of sleep a night. Or, we like to create.

When I moved to Portland in 2007, I decided to open Urban Waxx shortly thereafter. However, I wanted to do it on my own for a while. I wanted to be my own boss, set my own schedule, make my own appointments. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and see if I was really as good at managing myself as I believed. I wanted to make it perfect BEFORE I hired employees and became responsible for other people. And then…I got pregnant. We had been trying, but, like so many things to follow, Stella had her own timeline. I thought it would probably take at least a year (I don’t know why I thought that…I thought so many things about pregnancy and motherhood that were false before it happened to me), but instead, I got pregnant right away. Like, first month. I had only opened up my little one woman shop a few months earlier and I was NOT READY to expand. However, I was also not ready to go on maternity for 3 months and have all of the guests that I was seeing be unable to see me and then have to start over. So…I decided to open up the first Urban Waxx, and hire my first employees, and, well, the rest is history.

As soon as they laid Stella’s little body on my chest, everything changed. I had a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I had a purpose before, but suddenly I had a reason to be better and do better. I wanted to be the best mom ever. The best boss. Create a legacy that my children could be a part of. Be the kind of mom that they would respect and love and they would know that she could build something from nothing. They would see my work ethic and my drive and ambition and they would know that their mama was a hustler. They would know that I could make magic.

Guess what? That isn’t exactly the way it has been. Being a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me, closely followed by owning Urban Waxx. These two events are also the most challenging. They require the most humility. The most growth. The ability to see when I am wrong and change my behavior. Parenting and owning a business are surprisingly similar.  And for me, they are completely connected. I cannot imagine doing one without the other.

If I were not a parent, would I continue to grow and build and move Urban Waxx to the degree that I do now? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. My children keep me on the straight and narrow. They keep me focused. They make me better. They drive me to be the parent that I wished that I had. And now, Urban Waxx is 10, Stella is 10, and Dino is 7. Now, we can all relax a little. Now, when the kids get home from school, I tell them that my phone and laptop will go away until they go to bed. I have realized, after so many years of being permanently attached to my iPhone, that nothing is really more important than spending time with my babes. And, even though I would tell them that I am working on my phone, and sometimes I am, I am usually just messing around and not being present. And that is really sucky. For them and for me.

So, what are the similarities between opening a business and being a mom? Here are my observations:

  • When I opened a business I had no idea what I was doing. I kept waiting for someone to come in and either tell me what to do or tell me I was unfit to be doing what I was doing. Having a baby-same.
  • Both required putting something else in front of my selfish self. Once you open a business, your life is not your own. You are responsible for other people, and you need to have their best interests in mind. Being a mom-SAME. Although same to the 1 billionth degree.
  • All of that extra money you had laying around (if any)…well that goes away. Every penny you have goes into the business or into the kids.
  • Sleep-HA. Did I mention that you can kiss sleep good bye? And if you do sleep you will wake up in the middle of the night worrying about either the business and how you are messing it up or your kids and how you are messing them up.
  • Both are 24/7. That is a real fact. I think about my kids or my business on a loop 24 hours a day.
  • Both require a thick skin. Do you think you have a high self esteem? Awesome! Wait until you get your first scathing Yelp review or your child asks if you are going to wear make-up today (Stella). You just gotta let these things roll of your back, with grace.
  • You have to, HAVE TO, be able to take accountability. To say sorry when you are wrong. To evolve. To recognize your shortcomings. To ask for help. Be present. You have to be generous with your time and yourself. You have own your own crap.

 

SO THEN WHY DO EITHER???

Because, it is f-ing amazing. Both. The BEST. Both mean you are creating something from nothing. I still look at my kids and think: “I made you!” in this feeling of awe and wonder. When I am not dissecting Urban Waxx, I think the same thing. Damn. I did it. Both take a village. I mean, sure, you can raise a child alone or run a business alone, but doing it with people who love you and believe in you and support you makes things magic. Being a mom and a boss gives me the freedom to pivot. If I make a mistake, I can change my mind. I can say “Oh that was a terrible idea. I won’t do that again.” Plus, I get to create a life that I want. And, I feel pretty lucky.

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That was baby Stella and me, and Dino was in my belly….feels like 100 years ago!