Women in Charge: Lexi Miles is building a luxury wax empire for people on the go
Lexi Miles is redefining the waxing experience through her successful business, Waxon, a high-end wax bar that offers quality services at an affordable price.
Written by Alison Joutsi
Miles started her career as a consultant where her work involved a busy travel schedule. After seeing the wax services offering on the other side of the border, Miles noticed that the Canadian market was missing a conveniently located, high-end wax service. Despite having no background in aesthetics, Lexi has built a successful company that combines a high-end experience at an affordable price.
On starting a new business, in a new industry:
I am a big believer in knowing your strengths, but more importantly, understanding your weaknesses. As a consultant with a business background, I had no formal training in aesthetics or skincare. Yet, I believed in my business idea of creating a high-end, yet affordable waxing experience for busy men and women on the go. The business strategy as a result was unique: build the business from the customer perspective up. As a customer, I frequented different salons and waxing services, and knew the type of waxing experience I wanted to create for my clients: positive, personal and enjoyable. From the moment a customer books their appointment online, they receive a personalized email and once they leave they receive a thank you note. In order to acquire the technical skill set, I hired people in aesthetics to fill this skill gap. I’m is a big believer in surrounding yourself with the right people who can teach you new skills.
Similar training is required of everyone that works at Waxon. Each aesthetician, or waxologist, must go through a rigorous program to ensure every client has the best wax experience. Waxon’s approach involves a unique five-step approach, starting with an oil barrier and finishing with a soothing treatment. We manufacture our own wax formula that uses special ingredients, such as aloe vera, to calm the skin creating a less painful experience. We even hire secret shoppers to ensure every service is positive and consistent.
I made every mistake possible when starting Waxon. Part of my execution model involves following what I refer to as the 80-20 rule, which means once something is 80 percent complete, we launch and make changes on the go. This rule prevents my team from getting caught in a snowball of perfection. For example, because 80 per cent of my to do list was checked, and despite the fact that not everything was ready, our first store opened in Toronto’s Summerhill neighbourhood in 2012. Six years later, we have expanded to 12 open locations.
On the unique challenges that women in business face:
Women are judged more in business than their male colleagues. The first time I experienced sexism in business was during the early days of Waxon. I was looking to brainstorm a few business ideas with an individual that had business experience. I was hoping to learn from him. After our initial meeting he admitted that when he first saw me– dressed in a blazer and heels – he didn’t think I was a serious businesswoman. He soon learned that I knew my business and numbers, which he later acknowledged as judging me prematurely based on my appearance.
Being six months pregnant, I am now facing another wave of judgement. I am currently working on my first raise with outside investors, and since I’m pregnant, I am worried about the stigma: Will my investors think that I’m not a committed businesswoman? I want others to know that women can still build and grow a business, while we grow our family. It shouldn’t be one or the other.