Jason Goldwater started BOX Human Landscapers, with his wife, almost ten years ago. It is one of the first, solely dedicated bikini waxing salon in the country. Jason owns the key word domain, BikiniWaxing.com to represent the business.
Mike: How did you get started in the bikini waxing business?
Jason: My wife was going to school and wanted to get into skin care. She had been a career waitress basically. We were like ships in the night. We would sort of pass by each other when she’d get off or I’d be asleep or whatever the case may be. So she wanted to get into something different. I came from a copywriting/advertising/creative director background, had been doing that for quite a while. I used to always say that the only way you were ever going to make any money was to use your own ideas on yourself. She was going to school in kind of this downtrodden, beat-up place and was talking to me one day about how she really enjoyed their bikini waxing class. And I just out of nowhere said it’d be kind of funny to open up a bikini waxing salon and call it BOX.
So our first space was a 498 square foot space, which we paid $0.60 a square foot for, and I was a bigger believer in the idea that a name and kind of showing up every day with the right attitude and performing a great service would do more than any amount of ads could ever do. We didn’t have enough money to do that, and so we took our last $6,000 and we created BOX. Slowly it grew and it is now almost ten years later. It’s in a slightly larger space. It’s only 1,300 square feet. It’s maybe just a few miles from our first space, still in sort of a ghetto shopping center, because we were never big believers in the high rent district. It gets people who come from all over the country. It does just an absolutely amazing business and was the first of its kind to just solely dedicate itself to bikini waxing. 90 percent of our business is bikini waxing. We bought the URL BikiniWaxing.com probably a couple years into it, which gives you a sense it wasn’t even that expensive and it was available.
Mike: So you were the first to register that domain? You didn’t have to buy that from someone?
Jason: I bought it from a guy and… I don’t remember, I think I paid like $1,500 or something like that. It just seemed like a good choice. And all the other, the dot net all those things were still available at the time, and it just never struck me to register those because I always thought that the dot com was the more important of the bunch.
And so we just plugged away over the last ten years. We get people who come from all over. We did things that were funny, like I trademarked the phrase “Sac and Crack” which has been a style of waxing that we’ve offered now for many years. And we get people who come, it’s almost become that man versus food item on our menu. You know people come and they dare each other to get it. Then there are people who come and get it on a regular basis. If nothing else, it’s one of those things that sort of keeps the conversation about us going.
Mike: How many employees do you have? Is it still you and your wife?
Jason: No, it’s my wife and then there are four other aestheticians who work there. We’ve always had a very . . . we’ve been approached over the years multiple times to either franchise or just open multiple spaces, and we’ve never done it because we’ve never really run across a great business, a great small business. You always run across businesses that multiply, and as they multiply they sort of lose something in translation that sort of brings them back to average. And so we work really hard to be really, really great so that everybody who walks through our door, whether they’re employed by us or they’re coming for a service, they have a great experience. And so our employees, typically we’ll train them for upwards of like six to eight months before we allow them to touch a client and all that stuff. So we treat it as a much bigger deal. You can get waxed at nail salons or beauty salons and all those things, but we always felt that it was one of those things that was not only super personal but it was one of those things it’s actually dangerous if you don’t treat it right. So we just keep it on a pedestal and keep trying to get better at it.
We started manufacturing our own wax about five years ago. I think six years ago we went out to London and started working with a small wax refinery to come up with our own formulas that gave us just stronger abilities where it would grab the hair closer to the root. It would be a little less painful, and it would just be easier to work with and all that stuff. So we went from London, and then we wound up outside of San Diego with an old surf guru making wax and it’s an amazing product.
Mike: What role has owning BikiniWaxing.com played in your success?
Jason: You know it undoubtedly gives us a leg up. My wife and I both came from, I came from almost a purely creative background, she came from a pure service background, and we’ve never been in a position to find somebody who had the technical aptitude or web savvy to really utilize what could be harnessed in having a domain like that. But at the end of the day, for a business like ours to own that, it gives us leverage that other people can’t have. It’s almost like because we have that URL and I’m sure it’s almost like if you’re… I don’t know what other businesses… If you had Jewelry.com or Bars.com or something like that, it isn’t quite the same, but when you’re dealing with a business that is a service like that and it’s as personable as it is, it’s as cathcy as it is, it’s as kind of funny in the movies as it is and all that stuff and it’s not as obvious as some of the others, it just gives us a certain place to stand on that nobody else can really stand on. Then we back it up by having the ability that we have, and so it just reinforces the whole deal. I think GiGi Wax bought all the other extensions as far as dot net and all that stuff, and they’re a generations old wax company that puts out a product kind of similar to like waxy hairbrushes or just kind of those old school beauty products. I don’t know if they get anywhere near what we get out of it. I also think that because it was BikiniWaxing.com, BOX, and the fact we’re in Las Vegas, it was the trifecta.
Mike: Do you know what kind of traffic volume or how many visitors you get to your site per month?
Jason: No. I think it’s pretty big. I don’t know exactly. Like I’ve said, we’ve always been really lousy at that stuff. Creatively, we were able to do things in certain scenarios, but we’ve just never found somebody that was really reliable in the web space that could do anything that we hoped. We spent small fortunes on trying to do and all that stuff, and just never have hit it quite right. We sort of hit peaks and valleys as far as we get ramped up and we’re excited about somebody, and then they turn out to not be so good. Then it turns out that we get more play on our domain by simply being on Yelp and Citysearch and letting other people sort of grow us organically than we do by trying to do it ourselves. Or not ourselves but . . .
Mike: What kind of online/marketing do you do, if any?
Jason: I think we do Google AdWords. We were more interested in having genuine organic things. Even if it was bad things people were writing about us, we were always more interested in the idea that or the importance, it was more important what somebody else said about you than what you could say about you, because whatever you’re going to say about you is obviously going to be great, unless you’re just a self-deprecating person or business or whatever the case may be. So we always tried to do unsolicited things. We did one ad campaign, which was Bye Bye Bush. When the former president was leaving office, we ran a full page in November, and then I think some things went out with that. Then we’ve always done interesting things like at the salon you can buy . . . I created these little stuffed toy beavers with white Mohawks on them and they’re very friendly and very happy. They come with a little card that says there’s nothing cuter than a well-groomed beaver and stuff like that. But it’s all done in such a way where, you know, we have two children, we have an eight year old and a four year old and our goal is always to, if we were going to go this route and we were going to do something that was a little bit on the naughty side, how could we do it in such a way that was tastefully done? How could we make sure that if our kids were to walk through the salon, they’d be okay? Or if a mom came in with her kids, they’d be okay. So we juxtaposed sort of the naughty nature of BOX with being a very cool, very relevant, very hip, very non-descript salon. You would never know if you looked at our space, it looks more like a library than it does anything else.
Mike: Do you think you’d be willing to sell your domain at any point, or is it something that you feel it’s just a part of the business at this point?
Jason: I think it’s a big asset for us. I think that if I were ever approached to sell anything, I think I would be selling my business as a whole. At this point obviously, because it’s still relatively small, it would be sold on the idea of futures. But I think that the URL is actually really, really important whether we figure out how to harness the power of it or somebody comes along and buys us and figures out how to harness the power, I think that it’s a big, big tool. The industry didn’t really exist until we got to it. Now, it’s a burgeoning industry that certain scenes show up in movies and they get a lot of play. There’s a lot of talk, and the number of people that just are having conversations about this sort of thing is just astonishing. It’s a service that’s been going on for thousands of years and all that stuff, and there are just a handful of people out there that do it really, really well. But it’s on par with the explosion of like little nail salons and all that stuff. The difference is, is that there are more and more of those little cottage industry services within the beauty industry that are getting better. They’re learning how to execute the whole idea of it better. They’re learning how to perform it better. Smarter people are coming into the industry as opposed to it just being sort of a high school dropout that ops in for beauty school to sort of get by or whatever the case may be. They’re all getting smarter. The schools are getting better. So our hope is, is that collectively we just are able to not only be the bar but to be a part of all that.
Mike: Have you ever received any offers for your domain? Anyone reach out to you to try and purchase it from you?
Jason: Yeah, we do. I do pretty regularly actually. Yeah, pretty regularly. I never, usually I just politely decline. I never know, I’ve never had the conversation as far as what . . . I think if I got an offer from like L’Oreal or GiGi, I would probably e-mail them back and say so what are you thinking, you know?
Mike: Is there any other information that you’d like to share with people who are either starting businesses or starting websites? Any advice you have on selecting a domain name?
Jason: From the perspective of selecting a domain name, try to make it relevant to what you’re doing. Try to use it to your advantage. I think that a lot of times people think they need to have the exact most relevant, but a lot of stuff that I see anymore it’s a little off color or a little off the beaten path and it’s kind of interesting. But I think that at the end of the day, I mean obviously if you’re selecting a domain name for a web based business, it’s very important. If you’re selecting it as part of a business that’s a bricks and mortar business, it’s important but not as important, at least in our world. Then just be patient. I think a lot of times if, most of the people that I talk to now that are people that either come to me as small business people that are looking for a mentor or whatever the case may be, the one thing that everybody lacks is patience. Everybody is in such a huge hurry to be big, and I’m such an advocate of thinking small. Nobody’s ever been in a position where they’re sitting there trying to build a great small business. They’re always trying to build a great big business. I think that if more people thought the other way around, we’d build a lot more strong businesses that do great services and that reduce the vacancy rate in shopping centers and all those things. Most of them can’t even make it six months or a year because they don’t have the patience. That would be my wise old owl thing is be patient.