Leadership Profile September/October 2022 Women in Franchising Women in Franchising Article

Leadership Profile: A Smooth Transition

WAXON founder and CEO Lexi Miles Corrin on her passion for female empowerment, evolution within the beauty industry, and expecting massive growth in 2023

By Stefanie Ucci

Behind many franchise brands is a founder who had a dream to bring their vision to life. For some, that vision is sparked by their own experiences, and the desire to fill a gap in a lucrative market. Lexi Miles Corrin, founder and CEO of WAXON Laser + Waxbar, is no exception.

Corrin’s franchise journey began in 2012 when she was navigating her career as a business management consultant. “I was travelling a lot for work and was the person who is our ideal client now,” she explains. “I used to like going to nail salons for my wax appointments because I wanted them to be fast, convenient, and cheap.”

At the time, Corrin was spending a lot of time in the U.S. and discovered wax bars that were popping up all over the country. “I thought, ‘you know, this is just such an amazing concept, how does it not exist in Canada?’”

After some heavy research, and using her background as a consultant, Corrin dedicated herself to establishing a business that was well run, efficient, and focused on the client experience and working culture for team members. Her intention was to open one location to start, and dive into franchising as a way to quickly grow the business.

“My goal at the time was to open 100 locations in five years. Then, I very quickly realized that’s completely unrealistic, and I needed to open some more of my own locations before we could catapult forward. [I wanted to] be able to support our franchise partners effectively while making sure that we have a solid tool kit in place,” explains Corrin.

With a strong corporate team behind her, the WAXON brand began to grow and Corrin’s franchise dream started to come true.

Building women up through franchising

Today, WAXON has 14 locations, seven of which are locally-owned franchises. In addition, three franchise partners are multi-unit owners. The brand is slated to open 10 new wax bars next year, signifying substantial and thrilling growth.

Why was the beauty industry so appealing for Corrin? “If I was asked this question pre-COVID, I would have answered it a bit differently,” she notes. She says she believed it was a great opportunity because she could cater her business to services that she would be interested in as a client.

Although she lacks hands-on experience in the industry, that never stood in her way. “I love beauty esthetics, but I have absolutely no experience as an esthetician … no one wants me to wax them, ever,” she says with a laugh.

Working within a female-centred industry also drew Corrin to design a business where she could help empower women through the teams she builds and the people they hire. She notes that all of WAXON’s franchise partners were clients who fell in love with the brand and made the jump into business ownership.

“What really jazzed me about franchising is the amazing franchise partners that are all women, who have totally different stories and [come from different] walks of life,” explains Corrin. “From leaving a career they just didn’t love, to wanting to pursue something on their own, to stay-at-home moms who are empty nesters and now want to do something for themselves for the first time. We have a business opportunity that can support them and allow them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.”

For team members at each location, female empowerment revolves around offering a space where the “waxologists” and “laserologists” can build careers within WAXON, which Corrin says didn’t really exist previously in the esthetics industry. “They were always treated as hourly employees and now we give them the opportunity to be able to stay in a business for the long term and build their careers in esthetics. We hold on to people longer, as a result of building a really strong culture around them.”

Of course, the clients feel empowerment within their own skin, too. “I love the idea of just being able to be you—our purpose is to provide a safe space to inspire you to live more confidently in your own skin,” adds Corrin.

Roll with the punches

Like any franchise, Corrin notes that there will be “the not-so-glamorous days at WAXON” that franchise partners should be able to embrace. Rolling with the punches and facing challenges may include a last-minute situation “where your guest service employee doesn’t show up and you need to roll out of bed and run to your location to open it because the wax has to heat up.”

But with the right drive and entrepreneurial spirit, franchise success is within reach, explains Corrin. Franchise partners should also appreciate and enjoy the idea of operating within a structured business model, where they have a very clear training program and tool kit to follow. “We provide direction on literally everything, and then it just takes being able to implement and follow that in order to create a successful location.”

It also helps to align with the company’s core values and have a passion for the WAXON brand, clients, and team members who are an integral part of the daily operation process. “We need people who are going to maintain that culture, as well as the quality of service and brand integrity. That’s the most important,” notes Corrin. “What we really look for in our franchise partners are people who just absolutely love what we’re doing and want to be part of it because at WAXON, we build a family, and we want people that are really passionate about that.”

More than just a routine wax

WAXON’s membership model is a unique concept in itself, and one that was missing from the Canadian beauty industry. With a leader like Corrin—who’s consistently one step ahead of the pack—there are even more benefits and opportunities for franchise partners to flourish and evolve with their businesses.

She points to the brand’s product line, online blog, and podcast as supplemental items and educational tools that “drive more clients and round out our brand’s integrity as a place that’s really so much more than just waxing and laser … So it’s more of a community vibe that we’re building, while driving more brand value for our franchise partners.”

WAXON’s product line includes an exfoliating scrub, body oil and polish, a hand-held trimmer, loofah soap, and a line of intimate care items. The blog and podcast, dubbed “We Go There,” is a space “where there is no such thing as TMI…” per the brand’s website, with coverage ranging from women’s bodies, to quick tips for preparing for a waxing session, and even how to own a franchise with WAXON.

For Corrin, at the heart of her franchise system is a passion for investing in a business that’s making leaps and bounds within the growing laser and wax industry. “I really take personally the investment that franchise partners put into our business. You’re taking a big risk regardless of what franchise you open, and I take that very seriously. Within WAXON, it’s about feeling comfortable and confident with the support that you’re receiving because we, as a team, really want to see each and every one of our franchise partners thrive.”