After recognizing a gap in the market for a hair removal destination that fell somewhere between cheap nail salon and expensive spa, and that specialized in hair removal itself, Lexi Miles decided to do something about it. As a professional management consultant, she had the business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit needed to launch her own beauty company: WAXON Laser + Waxbar. As an all-around #beautyboss, Lexi is in charge of all aspects of the company, from big-picture planning, to day-to-day operations, to overseeing various locations, and leading a team of professionals.
Here, we talk all about how she started her own company, her organizational tips as a CEO, how motherhood has transformed her approach to business, her favourite beauty products, and more.
So, tell us about WAXON Laser + Waxbar. And what inspired you to launch it?
WAXON is your ultimate destination for all things hair removal. We offer waxing, threading and laser services in a convenient, affordable, fun trendy space with the absolute best trained estheticians. What inspired me to launch WAXON was my frustration with the offerings that existed for hair removal. There really were only two options: your cheap nail salon or expensive spa, neither of which specialized in hair removal. I saw a gap and wanted WAXON to be the solution.
Walk us through your career path. How did you end up starting your own business?
Surprisingly to most, aside for my love of beauty products and services, I actually don’t have any actual esthetic experiences. However, my girlfriends do come to me for all things hair and makeup. I was actually working as a management consultant when I made the decision to open WAXON. It took me a year and a half of planning before I opened our first location’s doors. I probably could have spent five years planning before opening WAXON, but I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule: get something 80% of the way there, execute, and then iterate based on the results.
How has your company evolved since you opened in 2012?
Oh wow, we’ve changed SO much! Not only that we have opened 12 additional locations, added incredible franchise partners to our family, a body product line and laser hair removal to our list of services, but I think my favourite part of our business’s evolution is that it is always ongoing.
Every year we are continuously working to better understand our customers, their needs, and how we can go about expanding our offerings to satisfy those needs while still staying true to who we are: the ultimate destination for hair removal, and ultimately, your go-to gals for all of your “down there” questions—I mean, who better… right?
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well since my daughter Piper came into the world, things have changed quite a bit and the word “typical” rarely exists in my vocabulary. But here is what an ideal day looks like if all goes as planned:
5:45am: I am a true believer that “the early bird gets the worm” so I’m an early riser. I try and catch up on emails or get a workout in first thing, and if not, I make sure to fit some kind of workout at the end of the day. Either way, I’m a better person if I can fit it in daily; it’s how I decompress.
7:00am: Piper’s up! My husband and I scramble to get ready while feeding Piper, responding to emails, calls… it’s everything but calm.
8:45am: Piper naps and I try and squeeze in a 10-minute intention setting meditation. I truly believe in this practice and the positive impact it can have on your life.
9:00am: Head into the office if not I’m out in meetings, visiting locations, etc.
5:00-7:00pm: Piper time. Both my husband and I really try to be offline during this time to focus on Piper.
7:00pm: Quick dinner with my man. We really try and make sure to have some QT daily to reconnect and chat about our days. I lean a lot on my husband and find it so valuable to get outside perspective on the business.
7:30pm: One of the reasons my husband and my relationship works is because we are both workaholics, so our evenings usually consist of us on the couch with our laptops open and random shows on in the background. Wild times!
11:00pm: Head to bed and get ready to do it all again!
Do you have any organizational tips you have gathered from your experience juggling tasks like franchise building, day-to-day operations, marketing, etc.?
My team and I would be lost without Google Keep. You can create lists, assign boards, deadlines, reminders, etc. I track everything from grocery shopping lists to quotes to agendas, etc.
So, you recently became a mom! Congratulations! Has motherhood transformed or shifted your philosophy at work at all?
Thank you so much! It’s a new-found level of joy being a mom and it has shifted me in so many ways. I really didn’t understand pre-Piper how I was going to fit a baby into what I already felt was an extremely busy way of life, but this bundle of joy has turned me military in terms of my time management.
Since having Piper, I have become uber-efficient in terms of where and how I spend my time. Everything from meetings to workouts is productive time spent because any minute that isn’t productive, I now see as another lost minute from “Piper time” and that is time I’ll never get back.
What advice do you have for women who are struggling to balance motherhood and their careers?
Honestly, I’m going to tell it to you straight. There truly is no such thing as balance in my life. I prefer to call it more of a juggle because a balance would assume all things are being treated equal and I’ve come to recognize that this just isn’t realistic. Inevitably, whenever I am succeeding in one area of my life, that very likely means I am failing in another area of my life. But what keeps me going is I know I am a better mother to Piper and wife to my husband because I work, and I hope that one day Piper is proud to have a mother who continued to make her dreams come true while raising her.
As a keynote speaker and panelist, you’ve become a champion for empowering women in business. What does feminism mean to you and what do you hope to see change in society?
I absolutely love speaking with and for women. I have had so many experiences already through growing WAXON and I truly feel I have a duty to pay it forward to other women running into similar experiences because, let’s face it, it can be hard out there.
Feminism to me and as it relates to women in business is simple. We deserve access to the same opportunities as men and currently that is very much not the case. Arlene Dickinson, who is a tremendous supporter of female entrepreneurs, recently had an article in The Globe and Mail outlining the major gap in venture capital funding in Canada. Female founders only received 4% of venture capital funding and struggled in other areas of investment also. This isn’t okay and it needs to change.
What are some struggles you see women facing in today’s business world?
Becoming a mother has really opened my eyes more than ever to the sacrifices and challenging choices that women have to make when trying to achieve both their personal and professional dreams. I often find myself trying to understand how we can expect women to “Lean In” when working for companies that aren’t supporting the fact that we are different from men. We do have an extremely important role in life and decisions to make that most men will never face.
Being a CEO with 150 women working for WAXON and a management team that is 100% female, this is something I think about a lot and I think other workplaces should be doing the same. For me, I think about how I can create an environment and culture that supports my team in being able to achieve both their professional goals while starting a family.
What entrepreneurial advice do you have for aspiring female leaders?
Follow your passion and believe in yourself. If you want to be a top performer in your field, do what you love and follow your gut. We are far too hard on ourselves, and as women, if we could get out of our own way, we could do anything we set our minds to. You are the only thing standing in front of you achieving your dreams.
I love that you support various non-profits that focus on helping and raising up women. Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in charities like White Ribbon?
We are very passionate about giving back at WAXON, and in particular, to causes that impact women. I sit on the board of White Ribbon, which has a mission to end violence against women by getting men and boys involved in the solution. Owning a business that employs women and serves predominantly women makes this a cause that is near and dear to our heart.We are very excited as we will actually be closing our locations on May 29th for a couple hours in the afternoon so our entire team can participate in the WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES fundraiser in downtown Toronto where we will walk together to raise awareness and funds to end violence against women and to promote gender equality.
What makes WAXON unique among beauty destinations?
Let’s get personal… Literally, as I was lying behind a shower curtain in a nail salon getting a wax, I realized there had to be something better than this when trying to find a convenient, inexpensive place for a wax. Why couldn’t we have the best of both worlds: a convenient location with the best trained professionals that specialize in only hair removal andoffers affordable prices. Enter: WAXON Laser + Waxbar!
I also love that WAXON caters to people who are busy. Do you have any other beauty tips for people who are always on the go?
Convenience is so important to us, and personally, I’ve always been a lover of quick beauty tips and tricks. But since becoming a mom, this is now more of an obsession. We recently launched lash lifts at WAXON, and they are an incredible time saver. It’s like lash extensions but takes 20 minutes and is much better for your lashes. Combine a lash lift with a tint and you literally bounce out of bed looking fabulous. Add a splash of tinted moisturizer, a little blush, and lip gloss, and you are ready to face the day!
Tell us about your own beauty routine. What are your go-to brands and what products are in your beauty bag?
I love all things Radford, especially their GLOW Primer and Makeout Balm. And I can’t live without my Skinceuticals SPF 50 daytime face moisturizer. For my body, of course WAXON BodyShot is my go-to body oil, but right now my bathroom is actually full of product samples! We are launching a new body care line in the fall, so I’m trialing it all and I have to say it’s really all about exfoliation and moisture.
Who do you follow on Instagram for beauty inspiration?
Again, my girl Victoria Radford never steers me wrong and does amazing tutorials on makeup application. I also love Jessica Alba for the mixed bag of beauty tips meets business meets motherhood.
What trends are you particularly excited about right now in the world of beauty, hair removal, makeup, skincare etc.?
Oils are very hot right now and I’m loving it. This is a big focus for us in our new line of products. I personally use a simple argan oil on my face every night and have seen such amazing results.
Self-care and providing products and services that allow women to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin is a key focus for us right now in our product development. Teaser… stay tuned for some incredible product developments coming soon both to WAXON stores and online.
Who were your role models growing up?
Definitely my parents. My dad and mom are both entrepreneurs, and I grew up in a home with endless support and the mindset that if you can dream it you can do it.
What is next for you?
WAXON world domination, of course! We have so many exciting opportunities coming down the pipeline this year that will really take our brand to the next level. We are being very intentional about our focus this year and really centering ourselves around supporting women and providing new ways to help women feel the more confident in their own skin.