Archive for 2015

Holiday Giveaway from our gal Martha Chartreuse!


I have said it before and I will say it again and again: We have the most AMAZING clients. Urban Waxx is filled every day with people that blow me away with their creativity, kindness, and just general coolness.

Case in point: Meredith, from her delightful blog, Martha Chartreuse.  She is smart, creative, and a total delight, and her blog is a very good read. Also, she is a total connoisseur of all things food, and I am always hitting her up for new restaurant recommendations. Meredith puts together some really great Holiday Gift Guides, and she is also doing a wonderful Holiday Giveaway. And guess what? One of the prizes is a $100 gift card to Urban Waxx!

How to enter? Easy! Head over to her Instagram feed at @merecdavison and enter. It’s that simple!


What we love.

Right now, we are obsessed with:



This Maika Tote. Such an amazing gift.




These votive candles by Mixture. The pumpkin spice scent is award winning, and the votives are so elegant.

pudding-apeel-tapioca-rice-active-fruit-glycolic-mask-7This masque from Farmhouse Fresh. Resurfaces your skin in the most delightful way.




The Mean Girls Halloween party. So good.

Happy Birthday, Urban Waxx!


Eight years ago Urban Waxx opened it’s doors on the corner of NW 18th and NW Marshall. At the time there were 4 employees: Mindy (who is still here and is now the Director of Esthetics), another waxxer and one front desk employee, and me. I had ZERO idea of what I was doing but I knew that I couldn’t fail. I was pregnant with Stella, and I had just sunk every bit of savings that I had (which was very little) and maxed out every credit card that I could max into opening Urban Waxx. I had moved to Portland in January of 2007, and when I told people that I was going to open a waxing salon, in Portland, where I knew no one, people were…skeptical.

I had been an Esthetician since about the age of 26. After graduating college with a theatre degree, and then moving back to New York to basically spend a lot of time in bars and restaurants, both working in them and hanging out, I was really struggling to find out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I had always loved salons and spas, and all the feel good things that went along with them. I also knew from working for years in food service that I loved customer service. I loved people. I loved making people feel good. I decided to go to Esthetics school. At the time I thought, “Well, at least I will have a skill that I can fall back on.” I remember having a conversation with my mom (who was still holding on to the delusion that maybe I would go to law school), and she said “Shannon, are you going to be able to support yourself working in a beauty salon?” I didn’t really know, but I wanted to try. I had to try.

Well, fast forward a few years and a few different spas. I was working in Charleston, SC at a beautiful spa where I worked for seven years. Waxing had become increasingly popular, starting with the famous J. Sisters bringing their Brazilian wax to the US in the late 90s. Do you know who trained me to do a Brazilian? ME. Do you know who I trained on? MYSELF. Oh the horror when I remember trying to wax myself clean so many years ago. Let’s not go into detail but I will say, it was excruciating. After much trial and error (sorry friends that I practiced on), eventually I realized that I loved, loved, LOVED giving Brazilians. Loved it. Mostly because I had become very good at it in a world where people were still very reluctant to give and receive a Brazilian. Oh the joy of the immediate result! For someone with ADD and a strong need for quick results, Brazilians met all of my needs! A guest could come in, nervous and timid, and then 20 minutes later walk out, smooth and flawless, and feeling like Superwoman! We would laugh, we would bond, we would share secrets, and then they would rebook to come and see me in 4 weeks! It almost seemed too good to be true!

Waxing in a full service spa: not great. I was constantly being told to zip it by my colleagues who were trying to bliss out their guests during a massage or facial and then they could here me chatting it up in the next room. Yes, you really have to talk when you are waxing a Brazilian. And laugh. It makes the experience one million times more comfortable. So, when I moved to Portland in 2007, I thought, wouldn’t it be AMAZING to open a salon where all I can do is wax? All day in and out, waxing until my heart is content. Waxing until everyone understands that a Brazilian is NOT scary, and it’s not gross and it’s not for just a certain type of person. It’s for EVERYONE! And it’s wonderful! And it makes you feel great after and you can connect with your Waxxer like she is your long lost best friend and you can eat M&M’s and drink mimosas! And be surrounded by beautiful things and maybe buy some great skin products or a nice candle. And so, Urban Waxx was born.

The reaction that we received from the guests was overwhelming. Portland is really just the best place to open a small business. So many wonderful things have happened in the 8 years since we opened. We now have 5 locations, and about 70 employees. People ask me all of the time who else owns Urban Waxx, or if we are a franchise. Nope. It’s still just me. Now I have a really amazing Leadership Team in place and they do so many of the day to day operational stuff, but I am in it. Urban Waxx is my life. I still wax on Thursday mornings. I selfishly cannot give up that one shift of waxing my guests. I still love love love giving a great Brazilian but more than that I need to connect with guests on a one to one basis. It makes me so very happy. We wax about 35,000 Brazilians a year. That number blows my mind. It really does.

The past 8 years have been humbling, crazy, wonderful, inspirational, exciting, and most of all, so unbelievably blessed. I feel blessed. I feel like I am the luckiest woman in the world to be able to work with a dynamic, charismatic, loving team of people who amaze me every day. We get to change our guests’ lives in little ways. Or sometimes in really big ways. We get to connect. We get to do good things. I get to show my kids what it’s like to run a business with integrity and joy. I also get to struggle, and to mess up, and to take accountability and to ask for help when I need it, which is a lot. I get to be so stressed and overwhelmed that I am googling “How to sell my spa and move to an island.” And then I get to wake up the next day and tell myself to snap out of it and to fix what I did and make it better. That is the joy and the pain of owning your own business. The joy is that it’s mine and I get to celebrate what goes well. The pain is that it’s mine and I get to torture myself incessantly when things go wrong. I’ll take it all: joy and pain I wouldn’t change it for anything.

To all of the guests that have walked through our doors, and loved us, and laughed with us, and told us when we needed to tweak something to make it better, and have referred us to friends and shouted from the roof tops that you believe in us: YOU. ARE. AMAZING. You have made Urban Waxx what it is. You are the reason that we are excited to come to work each and every day.

To all of my employees who have believed in me and Urban Wax and this journey and each other, and who consistently strive for excellence and love to deliver this magical experience: THANK YOU. I have met more creative, strong, fabulous women in the past 8 years than I have in my entire life, and so many of them work at Urban Waxx. What a gift.

Thank you all for the last 8 years. Let’s see what the next 8 bring!

Peace & Love,



What makes you YOU?


Sometimes we do contests at Urban Waxx. Yesterday we did a little one on Facebook and it was so simple. I asked people to comment on the Facebook post. The question was simple: In 3 words describe what makes you unique.

I LOVE reading what people think makes them uniquely “them.” What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd. If I could describe myself in 3 words they would be: Driven, Intuitive, Resilient.

Here are some of the responses that we received for our contest:

  • Bubbly, outgoing, natural curls.
  • Independent, loyal, FIERCE!!!
  • Silly, Kind, Loving
  • Loving, honest, independent
  • Just being me!
  • First time mom
  • Loyal Caring Auntie
  • Passionate, friendly, caring
  • 6/6/68 Mother Grandmother
  • Loyal, caring, Passionate
  • Funny, sympathetic, and smart
  • Awesome, radical, tubular.
  • Fun, loving and always smiling
  • Passionate, loving, Mom
  • Intelligent, witty, compassionate.
  • Fearless. Kind-hearted. Positive!
  • Intelligent, witty, compassionate.
  • Fearless. Kind-hearted. Positive!
  • Sensitive, empathetic, creative
  • Sarcastic charismatic mother
  • Odd, funny, dedicated
  • My crazy curly hair, and my lack of caring what other people think about me Oh, and my insane ability to perfectly match color sight unseen – I can remember a color in my head and match something to it without having a swatch next to me. Its my superpower
  • Sparkly, Loving, determined
  • Focused. Optimistic. Compassionate.
  • Loyal, foodie, athletic
  • Quirky, sexy, loving
  • Hardworking, clever, bold
  • Dedicated, empathetic, friendly.
  • Stubbly, fuzzy, hirsute… smile emoticon
  • Healer of animals
  • I am the only version of ME, I can touch my tongue to my nose, and I LOVE. Period.
  • swaggy tall chick
  • Obnoxious, Bookworm, Mom
  • Brow game strong
  • Smart, animal-lover & feisty
  • Hardworking, fun, mom
  • Nurse, optimist, wife
  • Calm, caring, giving.
  • Powerful, caring, creative

So many great answers. I love how many people identify as loving. I think if we all felt loving the world would basically explode with heart emoticons!

Peace & LOVE

Core Values Video

At Urban Waxx we talk a lot about our Core Values. Do you want to see what they are? Check out this video we made! We are pretty proud of it!


Click here!


Have a great weekend!

Maika bags: you need them in your life.

I was in Seattle a few weeks ago and I stumbled across the cutest bags! I was immediately drawn to the roomy canvas totes. The leather detailing is so gorgeous and I am basically swooning over the patterns. I had to come back to Portland and add the line up to our locations.

These bags would make the cutest holiday gifts (yes I know it is August but I am insane and like to think about good holiday gifts all year long). We even have a dopp kit for the traveler in your life.

They will be in all 5 UW locations this week! Come check them out!

Peace & Love,

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Our well is complete!


It has been 3 years since our Waxx-A-Thon. Do you remember what that was? It was a 24 hour event where Urban Waxx NW 18th was open for 24 hours. We waxed literally all night long, and all of the proceeds were donated to charity. We also collected for a raffle for a month before the event, with really exciting prizes. It was also one of those things that sounded like a great idea in theory, but we will probably never do 24 hours of waxing again! It was a loooooong night.

The end result was that we ended up raising enough money to meet our goal, which was to fund the money to build a well in a vicinity that desperately needed access to fresh water. We were thrilled! We worked with the wonderful organization Charity:Water.

We just received notice that the well has been completed! It is in Tanzania, and now a community of people has access to fresh water. Before, they would have to walk over 2 hours to have water. It’s pretty amazing.

Charity:Water also sends pictures and GPS coordinates of the project, so we can see exactly where in the work our well is. It’s pretty remarkable! You can check out the well and the site here.

Fresh water is something in the US that we never even think about. It never occurs to us that we couldn’t just turn not the faucet and get as much water as we need. This project was a great reminder, again, of how very lucky we are.

Peace & Love,



New retail makes us so happy!

We LOVE some products at Urban Waxx. With the help of the magical Unicorn Angie, we have finding and adding some really great lines at Urban Waxx lately, and we are already gearing up for the Holiday Season! Ugh, I know it’s only August but that is where our heads are at!

Have you checked out these sweet little necklaces by JJ Marcs? These are such a great gift idea and they are so reasonably priced at $30.


What about these candles from Wax by Lax? If you have come into Urban Waxx you will know that we have a real thing for candles. We carry so many different kinds that sometimes people think the Waxx is actually referring to us being a candle store. These candles are really great, smell great, look great, and the company is fantastic. Also so reasonable at $16 or $22.



We also love lip balms. Like, we may need to get a restraining order from all lip balms, because we are constantly adding them to our line up. These little babies by Patrick & Jane are really some of the best we have found. The scent and taste is really perfect, and they go on creamy and smooth…not sticky at all. And for only $5 you kind of have to get one in every flavor. My personal favorite is coconut, but they are all pretty delightful.


Speaking of lips, Angie has been on a roll adding new lipstick lines. I mean, who doesn’t need a new lipstick every week or so? She found the line Shien and we are all swooning over the highly pigmented colors and the creamy consistency. $18 and you can have a strong lip to take you into autumn.


One last lip line: Karen Murrell. Organic lipsticks that go on great and look like a dream. The prettiest colors that really flatter the skin. $20 for endless smooches.


That’s all for now! I’ll be talking about some of our holiday gifting ideas soonish, so get ready to shop!
Peace & Love,



A Yen for Chocolate

Last blog I wrote about my intense love of yoga. And cake. You know what else I love? Chocolate. Also, I love female business owners. Ok, I love all entrepreneurs but I am clearly biased toward my ladies. Also, I love our neighbors and I get so incredibly excited when a business that is wonderful moves in close to one of our Urban Waxx locations.

So, it was kismet when we were visited by Cristina Yen, owner of the completely darling chocolate shop, A Yen for Chocolate, came to visit us at Urban Waxx NW 18th. Her shop is right down the street from our NW location, and Mindy and I had happened across it a few weeks ago. We literally stood outside and pressed our faces against the window. Her chocolate looked SO delightful. When Cristina came in this week she brought in some of her homemade delights and guess what? They were probably the best chocolates that I have tasted. We basically fought over every one. Then, after we had eaten them, we talked about them for hours after. That’s how good they were.

Cristina is not only cute as a button but she has an amazing resume! She worked in Paris at Fauchon. Have you heard of Fauchon? Ok, so it’s this world famous patisserie in France and it basically made me start my ridiculous love affair with macarons. Clearly I have an issue with all things sugar, but that is a topic for another blog. Or therapy.

Cristina sells her confections and also creates beautiful gifts and favors. She also does, which I want to do and think is totally cool, chocolate tastings! I think that would be such a fun event.

I love: our neighbors, small businesses, chocolate, writing about all things sugar, supporting our local businesses, also chocolate, and cake. and macarons. The end.

A Yen for Chocolate
915 NW 19th Avenue, Suite B
Portland, OR 97209

Peace and Love,



Yoga makes everything better

A few weeks ago I posted a  blog about this past year and I mentioned that I love yoga. Well, let me be clear: I LOVE yoga. I have practiced yoga on and off for (ahem) 20 years, but I feel madly, passionately, over the moon back in love with yoga this past February, and I hope this love affair never ends. For me, yoga is really the only way that I can get my brain to SHUT UP and I can actually be in the moment. I have learned so many things from yoga, and I fear that I am turning into a bit of a yoga pants wearing, mat toting, 40-something year old cliche. But you know what? I do not care!!!

For me, yoga is like cake. I love cake. I love all cake. I think that if someone offers me cake, even if it is not my favorite, it is rude and poor form not to accept it graciously and then try to devour it with as much grace as I can muster. I feel the same way about yoga. I like it all. I like the really rigorous fast moving flow classes where it looks like I jump in a pool after I am done. That’s my favorite. That is my yellow cake/chocolate icing/rainbow sprinkles kind of yoga. But, I also love gentle yoga, restorative, hip-hop yoga (yes that is a thing). I love the classes that are thick with incense and lots of chanting. I love the classes that have a soundtrack with Beyoncé. I repeat: I love it all. I think that one of the best gifts that I have received from practicing yoga is that I am beginning to release my expectations. I am trying to just be. To allow things to happen instead of trying to manipulate the universe. So, when I go into a new class, I always try to get something out of the experience. Even if it isn’t my favorite cake, I still always enjoy it.

Today I was lucky enough to take a class at the beautiful new studio The Grinning Yogi. Jamie Silverstein, the owner, contacted me a while back and offered to give the team at Urban Waxx some classes. Her studio is right across from Urban Waxx Division! Uhhhh, yes please! Today we went and it was so great! Jamie is a super adorable, laid back lady face with a really unique way of teaching yoga. She made it SO fun. The studio is beautiful and sunny, the playlist was really interesting (a slow, sweet version of “Black Hole Sun” by the Stone Temple Pilots, Bon Iver, and a haunting rendition of “Halo” by my girl Beyoncé to name a few), and her vibe is totally accessible. I actually laughed many times during the class. I understood why it’s named The Grinning Yogi. I felt totally engaged and also totally light. Plus she also an East Coast sense of humor which I totally fall for, and she said things like “You are the sky and everything else is just weather.” Man, that really got me. I loved that.

You know, I think that sometimes people poo-poo yoga because they think it will be too “out there” for them. Or too hippie dippie. Or boring. Or that everyone will be able to twist themselves into crazy poses and they will just be like “Help??” But I don’t think any of those things are true. Yoga is just so good. The benefits of yoga are really amazing. Want to know what some of them are? No? Well, I am going to list them for you anyway!

  • You get a long, strong body. All of those planks and chatarangas really tone you up in the most graceful way.
  • You will sleep better. Yes, for sure. When my mind won’t shut off at night I go through a few poses and then it’s good night Irene.
  • You get more energy. So true. Yoga gives me a serious high afterward.
  • Yoga lowers your blood pressure.
  • Yoga makes sex better. You heard me. You think that flexibility is only good on the mat?
  • Yoga improves your metabolism.
  • Better balance. This is an obvious one. Try yoga for a few months and see how much easier it becomes to stand on one leg. Or on your head!
  • Yoga is said to help ALL kinds of ailments, from lowering your cholesterol, to lowering your blood sugar levels, to lowering your risk of heart disease…you name it.
  • My personal favorite: LOWER MAKES ME CALM. Ok, sorry I screamed just then, but for real, it does. Yoga clears my mind and opens me up like nothing else. One hour on the mat will absolutely change my mood from a mad emoji to the blissed out emoji. Is there one?

Ok, so my yoga PSA is done for now. Go check out Jamie at The Grinning Yogi. You will not regret it. If you do, just do it again. They call it yoga practice for a reason.

Peace & Love