KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Threading, Waxing, Plucking, and finally – IPL. There are so many ways one can eliminate unwanted body hair these days. Waxing salons are getting more customers than ever before. This, with both and women being more conscious over their body hair as well as the hygiene issues they come with. Here at The Binge, we’re totally on board the hair-free bandwagon which we hope is here to stay.
We spoke with Cynthia Chua, the founder of Strip – Southeast Asia’s leading hair removal chain with branches in Europe and the US. We asked her how business was going, as well as Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and why people who want to go hair-free should give it a try.
The Binge: What do you think were the best changes in hair removal trends in the last decade?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: Hair removal is now a common and important part of regular personal grooming, with leg, underarm and Brazilian being the most popular areas. The female market has certainly become more mature and at STRIP, we are seeing more people moving towards IPL as a semi-permanent solution to hair removal.
The Binge: What makes Strip so popular even with all the competition out in the market?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: Strip was launched in 2002 and pioneered the hair removal concept store. It has since grown into a recognised international brand with presence in London, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta.
Our strict code of hygiene has made us one of the very first to practice and advocate the No Double Dipping rule, which has, in turn, urged other waxing salons to follow suit, revolutionising the standard of waxing treatments. Hygiene standards were brought to even greater heights with our sealed personal STRIP Hygiene Pack. We have also formulated our own wax and post-wax care products. We have a dedicated STRIP Training School in Singapore where all our Waxperts have to undergo intensive training for 4-8 weeks and a 10 men strong research and development team to ensure constant improvement. On top of all these, our pricing is highly affordable.
Despite having numerous stores across the globe, we put in loads of effort to ensure that we offer creative, fun campaigns and a different interior concept for every store worldwide, providing our customers with an exciting experience at each visit.
The Binge: Is there a surge in male clientele, and what services do they prefer? Why do you think men have become more conscientious of self-care?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: Yes definitely! These days, popular treatments amongst the male clientele are Boyzillian, underarm and chest waxing. Our male customer base varies but a larger percentage tends to be PMEBs who are more aware of grooming trends. There are a few reasons why these men opt to do hair removal.
For some, it is for hygiene and comfort purposes, especially if they are avid sportsmen. Many of them feel that it reduces friction, especially in their underarm region. Hair removal also reduces body odour as it minimises the chance of sweat and bacteria getting trapped in your hair. This is especially true in a warm and humid environment. There are also men who do it at the request of their partners or spouses that they practice hair removal. This is most common with those who have partners who practice Brazilian waxing. Some men do it for aesthetic reasons. They feel that it is an important part of basic grooming and it makes them look neater and cleaner. In recent years, waxing has become an important part of basic grooming for the females and this is slowly filtering through to the male population.
The Binge: Strip’s been known to be very bold and risqué in marketing hair removal, which is unlike many other hair removal salons in Asia. How has this set Strip apart from competitors?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: Strip is a pretty tricky brand as Brazilian waxing was a taboo among Asian women when we started in 2002. When I first started the brand, everyone said that I was crazy to provide such a service, that only Caucasian women will patronise the brand. But our top-notch treatments, paired with great media endorsement and quirky marketing campaigns propelled the brand. To date, we have presence in over 10 cities across the globe, including London, New York and Shanghai and I am happy to say that over 80% of our customers are local men and women.
The Binge: What makes Malaysia a particularly unique market, taking into consideration the conservative nature of the public?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: I am happy to say that the Malaysian market is quite receptive to our brand. They care about personal grooming and are willing to explore and curious to learn.
The Binge: What are your plans for Strip in the next decade?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua:It is no longer just about hair removal, it is about perfecting the Brazilian. Be it offering the most comfortable hair removal, Brazilian facials, products and potions that soothe, pamper and beautify the Brazilian area.
The Binge: Is there a shift towards the market doing IPL as opposed to waxing? Why do you think this is?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: Today we see more and more customers opting for IPL as it is a more comfortable and long term hair reduction treatment. Most of our customers start out with waxing and progress to IPL once they experience the benefits of hair removal and get addicted to smooth skin!
The Binge: Is the demographic getting younger? If so, why is this the case?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: The demographic is certainly getting wider, more younger and mature people are practising grooming and hair removal. In general, our core clientele are PMEBs aged between 18-45 years of age. There has been an evolution of body culture where modern women have become more aware of their grooming needs. The change in fashion and body perception resulted in the popularity of removing unwanted body hair on legs, underarms and the Brazilian area, as smooth skin tends to make one look neater / groomed. Women today are very interested in grooming and will invest time, effort and money to ensure that they look good. They also understand the necessity of looking good inside and out. After all, it would be unjust to have a wild, messy bush underneath the stylish clothes and immaculate make-up.
The Bigne: Do you feel that the business is one, which is recession-proof to some extent? Why do you feel that way?
Strip’s Cynthia Chua: Grooming has become an important and regular part of many people’s lives.
Got hair removal questions you also need to ask? Shoot us a comment below! – The Binge