Customer of the Week: OFF & ON
We first visited Nicky and Kelvin from (as it was known then) OFF Wax in 2014. They now go by OFF Wax and ON Browhaus, with over four locations and over 40 staff throughout New Zealand, so we thought it was time for another visit.
A hairy situation
Nicky was spurred to start OFF and ON by her own hairy situation at a beauty salon eight years ago. After looking into the mirror wondering why her brows were now five feet apart, she knew that there was a better way. Nicky wanted a space where clients could get a top-quality wax, and maybe even have fun doing it.
After a few harrowing experiences and a year of research, OFF was born: the first of its kind in New Zealand, and a leader in hair removal and brow design.
Waxing with a twist
New Zealanders have a reputation for being a little prudish and shy. After travelling around Europe, Nicky knew she wanted to bring a bit of old world suavity to little old New Zealand. It was time to challenge some inhibitions.
Her mission was to create a business that could offer premium waxes, whilst still having a sense of humour about it all. After all, if you don’t need a laugh when someone’s pulling hair out of your sensitive bits then when do you?
Nicky’s energy is contagious and inspiring. It’s hard to tell if she’s hired people with the same hustle, humour and energy, or if they just draw on her vibrancy, but the whole place is filled with laughter, fast words and camaraderie. No hushed whispers at this waxing parlour.
You can feel the difference at OFF as soon as you walk in. It’s loud and buzzing with energy. The staff are buoyant, treating you like an old friend who’s popped by for a visit, and the music is anything but soothing.
We know some people don’t like us. Some feel that it’s too loud and they don’t like that experience. But we just accept that. We’re like Marmite, we’re not for everybody.
Nicky wants to create an authentic experience, and that includes encouraging her staff to be themselves.
“We’re all so different! If you force your staff into a stereotype, nobody can maintain that.”
The growth cycle
The business was OFF Wax & Brow Bar when Timely first met Nicky and Kelvin.
As business boomed, it became clear they needed to split the services into two specialist brands. Brows were becoming more complex; it wasn’t just about making them smaller and thinner. OFF didn’t seem to encapsulate all the business was offering.
A few years in, sister company, ON, was established. ON offers a range of services from temporary to semi-permanent brows, brow shaping, colour, extensions, a Browography, as well as lash colour and lash lifts.
Our brow artists are the best in their field. There is an art to ‘seeing’ a brow not just now, but where it needs to be.
Part of being the best means choosing not to do everything. This specialist approach was something Nicky had experienced in her travels but had yet to see take off in New Zealand.
Nicky’s unique approach to business is clearly striking chords with clients. She now employs 40 women across her four sites and has a sizeable waiting list.
Empowering her staff
For her business to be successful, Nicky and Kelvin believed that their staff must be empowered to have an opinion and to take charge. Nicky finds that encouraging each team member to specialise in a service results in more enjoyment for the job, and more return clients.
This approach also lets Nicky work to her strengths: being a businesswoman, and leaving the clients to her talented, carefully selected staff.
I have never learned how to touch a client in the last 8 years. You hire people that are better than you. If I was working in it, I couldn’t work on the business.
Passionate about confidence
Through her business, Nicky has become aware of how transformative beauty treatments can be for women’s confidence and self-esteem.
As the business began to offer restorative treatments like brow feathering, the team began to work closely with women who had hormonal issues, alopecia or post-chemo hair loss.
“It quickly became apparent that there was so much more we could offer these women.”
It’s not just about looking good for an Instagram selfie. We were able to help these women take back their self-confidence.
Nicky and Kelvin were one of Timely’s first ever customers, starting out when Timely only offered beta trials!
Needless to say, we’ve all grown a bit over the last four years.
Establishing OFF and ON has been the ultimate business journey for Nicky and Kelvin. They have a proactive and confident approach to business, and although she took a risk and offered something totally unique in New Zealand, it’s paid off.
Nicky knows that her business is more expensive than most, but with their growth rate, it has clearly not been a barrier.
They took a gamble on specialising the business, and it’s paid off with a fully booked calendar, fanatically loyal clients, and a team that loves going to work almost as much as she does.