A hairy story

Oct 29, 2016

I fully subscribe to our nationwide thrust to push entrepreneurship in our country. The Go Negosyo program, for instance, has been the guiding light of many upstarts through the ups and downs, the many challenges that they face as they start a new business. I also laud the government's full support as evidenced by the many Go Negosyo Centers across the land through the efforts of the Dept. of Trade & Industry and the initiative of Sen. Bam Aquino. These centers are virtual one-stop shops meant to serve the registration, documentation and other help needed by would-be entrepreneurs.

We here at Business & Leisure have a portion at the B&L TV show known as Strictly Business where we feature successful Filipino ventures, whether micro, small or medium, our small way of showing our kababayans the limitless potentials of entrepreneurship. We ourselves are amazed at the plethora of stories that we have come across in our features and how these ventures have flourished with "sipag" and "tiyaga". Some have risen from the ashes, others were sparks of bright ideas given life through a business venture.

What is more interesting, though, is those that have departed from the ordinary or common and went for the less beaten path and in the process have spawned a new sector in business. In the beauty industry for instance, there are unlimited options for new products, new services. Here at home, waxing has been around for some time but only as one of the many services offered in salons and parlors. A young lady, Monique Hilario and her sister were waiting in line at a salon to have this service. As she waited patiently in line, she realized that there is a strong demand for waxing services among Filipinos. A dedicated waxing salon could be a viable business because of this strong demand.

The sisters did their homework including research on the raw materials to be used and the market. They opened their first waxing salon at the ground floor of their condominium building in the outskirts of Makati, in Palanan where students pass through going to the universities among many others using this busy road. The sisters lived in the same building, so transportation and traffic were not a problem and they could monitor the business closely, a big plus for them. The small salon could easily handle the volume of business that was steadily growing in the immediate area. This was the first Lay Bare Waxing Salon, and many more were soon to follow.

With an initial capital of less than P500,000.00, Monique opened the door to many possibilities. Through word of mouth, her loyal base of clients was built, and soon it was time to open another branch. After a while, there were serious inquiries for franchises from their own customers, all waxing enthusiasts, and this was another facet of the business that Monique began to seriously consider.

Franchising is another vehicle for growth that many Filipino entrepreneurs have discovered. It is with great pride that we acknowledge the Philippines' leadership in the ASEAN region as far as franchising is concerned. It is regarded as the franchising hub of Asia, and the very successful franchising trade shows and fairs that we have hosted here over the years are proof of this. Many small businesses grew exponentially because of franchising. With the right business model and the machinery that goes with professional franchising, this is the way to go. In the Philippines, we have two franchising associations, the umbrella organizations that have provided the key to the success of many top corporations from Jollibee and the 7-Eleven franchise to Binalot, Fruit Magic and Potato Corner which has gone global.

Because of franchising, Lay Bare Waxing Salon now has over eighty branches scattered from Luzon to Mindanao, and more are in the offing. The expansion plans of Monique are now focused more in the provincial areas.

The B&L staff visited one of Monique's waxing salons and she gladly gave them a tour. The salon was modern, smart and chic and the epitome of cleanliness, the criteria that cannot be missed out by anyone in the beauty business. They created a very relaxing atmosphere and ambience in all their salons, and they have even developed their signature scent that is used in all their branches. All these contribute to a total Lay Bare experience, according to Monique.

Yes, they have mostly female clients but one will be surprised to know that they have their fair share of male clients as well. In fact, they even have regulars who are male athletes; apparently, many males do not appreciate hairy faces and bodies. We watched as they waxed and threaded off the stubble on the face of one of the salon's regular male customers. In a few minutes, the face was fresh-looking, neat and of course hairless.

There is a full range of services here, from full body waxing that can take up to three hours if one is a first-timer and cost P1,750.00 per session, to eyebrow threading which can only take ten minutes and cost an affordable P110.00. Different body parts have different rates of hair growth, Monique said, but generally one can expect regrowth within three to six weeks.

They also have their own brand of beauty products from facial and body wash to different kinds of creams and lotions, exfoliators, deodorants, sun blocks and lightening gels. They continuously think of promotions and lately, they have come up with their own Loyalty Rewards Cards. Constant innovation is key to one's long-lasting success and this is true for many businesses that we have encountered. For those who have an aversion to the slightest pain or discomfort often associated with hot wax treatments, the salon now offers cold wax treatments as well, another innovation in their services.

With over eighty branches all over the archipelago and still counting, Lay Bare Salon has developed a dependable and reliable brand that has been embraced nationally by waxing enthusiasts in the country and believe me, there are many in the country.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

For comments and inquiries (email) sunshine.television@yahoo.com

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About the Author

Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.

At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network's AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart's middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN's DZYL and DZQL.

From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.

In the early 70's, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).

In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports' living legend Pocholo Ramirez.

After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN's Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable's Channel 13.

The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport's hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.

In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry's latest technological developments.

In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star's business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.

Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.

Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)