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!

Winter is coming, but your hair doesn’t have to!

At Urban Waxx our most busy season is the summer. We see SO many new guests during the warmer months that have decided to try out waxxing for the first time. We also see guests that only visit us once or twice a year (summer time and Valentine’s Day).

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There are SO many reasons to waxx all year round!

  • A regular waxx is SO much easier! Trust me, when I was pregnant with Stella I decided to take a break from waxxing. Between the 95 lb weight gain (yes that’s right) and opening up the first Urban Waxx…I just wasn’t feeling the monthly Brazilian. When I finally was ready to waxx, I had about 7 months of hair growth. Let me tell you…it was DREADFUL! I vowed then and there to never go longer than 4 or 5 weeks again without getting my Brazilian. Now…my waxxes are soooo easy! Regular waxxing on a regular schedule makes each experience less painful.
  • Your hair gets significantly more fine (usually). Each time you waxx you traumatize the hair follicle (it’s a good thing), and eventually the hair follicle could weaken enough that it just never grows back!
  • Winter is the BEST time to start waxxing! We always encourage new guests to start leg waxxing in the winter. That allows the hair to grow out without the fear of having to be in shorts or a bikini. Also, it gives some time to really get in the groove so that we can determine how long you will need before appointments. That way you will get the absolute best results when it’s time to get in that summer swimsuit!
  • YOU FEEL GOOD! So often we see guests come in for the first time because their partners have asked for a waxx or they want to look or feel sexy for their partners. That’s great…but how about feeling sexy for yourself? A fresh waxx always makes a person feel like a million bucks!

Waxxing winter skin is a great exfoliant also, but do not forget to keep up your weekly shower exfoliating routine! Winter skin is dry skin so make sure to scrub scrub scrub and load up on some seriously lush moisturizers!

Rain, snow, or shine, we got you covered, babes!

 

We Love Ban.do! And you will,too!

Have you heard about the incredibly cute, colorful, make you feel super happy brand Ban.do? If you haven’t, you need to check out the entire line.

I first stumbled upon Ban.do when I was in LA at another of my favorite stores, Sugarfina. Ban.do has the type of collection that is whimsical and totally shop-able. On that first trip I bought pins, phone cases, pens…you name it. Things that I thought would make the most divine gifts for my local girl gang…and they totally did!

Well, we finally got Ban.do in house! That’s right… you can now shop this amazing line at all Urban Waxx locations! Check out some of the amazing items we are carrying!!!

You have got to come and check the cutest line ever out! It really just makes a person smile!

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