Enterprising Woman May, Michelle White

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CHANGING EXPECTATIONS PERSONAL ATTENTION, RELATIONSHIPS AND EDUCATION SET WAX’D APART

LEATHER COUCHES, a thick pile rug and rich earth-toned walls featuring inspirational words and quotes may not be what you expect when you walk into a waxing salon. Yet changing expectations is something Michelle and Brett White have been doing since opening WAX’D five years ago. The full body waxing and esthetics salon in Mandeville has flipped the script on the waxing experience, offering a comfortable, unassuming environment for both men and women.

The WAX’D difference goes well beyond the reception area. It’s evident in the way they treat their patrons — referred to as “guests” — as well as in the long-standing relationships they’ve forged over the years. In fact, some regular guests routinely travel from as far away as Vicksburg and Tuscaloosa just so Michelle can provide their waxing services.

Michelle, a licensed master esthetician, said she jumped at the idea to open their own salon when Brett first floated the idea.

“WAX’D has allowed me the flexibility and freedom to provide a true guest-based experience. We are not here to push products or upsell our services. We are not here to see as many people as we can in one day. Our focus is on quality, not quantity, and our guests have responded positively to that philosophy.”

From new kid on the block to a Northshore staple, WAX’D has established a loyal and supportive clientele. The salon has been named the “Northshore’s Best Hair Removal” the past three years by readers of Sophisticated Woman magazine. Guests will often meet the WAX’D crew out on the town to catch a concert or to attend a local festival or event. And when Brett and Michelle take their team on a “thank you” cruise every November, guests have been known to tag along as well. “We are a part of this community, and this community is a part of us. Over the years, we have gotten to know our guests to the point that they’ve become friends. Guests who were pregnant when they first came to us are now coming in with toddlers and preschoolers. We’ve been with them through laughter and through tears. The relationships we’ve established aren’t confined to the treatment rooms. We sincerely care about them and their well-being,” Michelle said.

Michelle’s easy demeanor and compassionate nature are what ultimately led her to choose esthetics as a career. Originally in beauty school to become a hairdresser, Michelle shifted to esthetics because she felt it better suited her personality. She wanted a slower pace that allowed her to provide the best services she could. She did not want to feel rushed. More importantly, she did not want her guests to feel rushed either.

“Our guests are paying for our services, but they are also paying for our time. It is my job to make sure the time that we give is focused solely on them,” she said. “Unlike many other salons, we schedule our eyebrow appointments for 30 minutes rather than 15. This time allows us to be able to recognize any possible reactions to the guest’s skin and make adjustments, without having to rush to the next guest. All of the wax we use is designed for sensitive skin, but sometimes reactions will happen. If we need to stop waxing and tweeze instead, we still have the time to do that as well.”

Michelle ensures estheticians on staff deliver the same level of quality she demands of herself. She spends a lot of time training, not just when new staff members come on board, but also as new techniques, tools and equipment are integrated into the salon.

“Our guests can be assured the estheticians performing their services—whether it be a wax, a microdermabrasion, eyelash extensions or a spray tan—have been specially trained and certified for that particular service by our manufacturers,” Michelle said. “The industry is always changing, and it is up to us to stay ahead of the curve. I call myself a perpetual student because I jump at every chance to learn. I tell our estheticians that the day that they don’t learn something new is the day they need to get out of the business. There are opportunities to learn every single day. Everyone’s skin is different.

This industry is not ‘one size fits all,’ and part of being a professional is being able to adapt.”

Michelle focuses on training, quality control and services, while Brett handles the front office management, administration and marketing for WAX’D. It is a dynamic that suits them well. “I love being able to do this with my husband,” she said. “People ask how we can be together all day, every day, but it works for us. We have been on this adventure together since day one.”

While their business venture may only be in its fifth year, the couple has maintained a successful partnership for decades. They recently celebrated 20 years of marriage, and for her present, Brett surprised Michelle with the Jeep she’s always wanted. “We have the words ‘Do what you love, love what you do’ on the wall behind the front desk. I am doubly blessed because not only do I get to do what I love and love what I do, but I get to do it with the one I love,” she said.

WAX’D is located at 1675 Highway 190 in Mandeville. For more information, please visit waxdbody.com or call 985-778-2005.



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