Backstory: Esthetician building business with personalized touch

lfinaldi@newsobserver.comJuly 8, 2013 

Molly Ingle applies wax to client Emily Hord's brows. Ingle is the owner and sole employee at Molly's Wax Shop, a boutique waxing-only studio in Raleigh.


  • Advice from Molly Ingle

    •  Have a business plan and stick to it.

    •  Know your market.

    •  Keep at it.

— On the wall next to the couch in Molly Ingle’s waxing studio is an Andy Warhol-style photograph of a pale, dark-haired woman, wearing a two-piece bathing suit and laying on her side.

With her full legs, rolls of stomach skin and love handles, she’s not your Gwyneth Paltrow-thin, model-like woman.

But Ingle wouldn’t have her up on the wall if she was.

“That’s her skin, that’s her actual fat. I love it,” Ingle said of the woman in the picture. “It’s a representation of the evolution of the female.”

Making women feel confident and empowered through waxing is one of the goals of Molly’s Wax Shop, Ingle’s boutique waxing salon.

Ingle opened the business last year after she recognized a need for a comfortable and personal waxing experience in the area. Her shop is a waxing sanctuary for women who want that type of setting.

“I like to get women to feel as beautiful as possible while helping them to understand natural beauty,” she said.

A graduate of UNC-Wilmington with a degree in philosophy, Ingle was a waitress, a telemarketer and an English teacher in South Korea.

Back in North Carolina about seven years ago, she found herself in a slump, looking for a career change. She discovered a four-month esthetics certification program. As a lifetime lover of skin care and makeup, she decided to give it a shot.

After she was certified, she got a job at a salon in Chapel Hill, where she learned she loved waxing because she was able to see the same clients on a more regular basis and build relationships with them. But she found herself frustrated with the corporate nature of her salon, and the limited accessibility she had to her clients outside of work.

“They were more the salon’s clients than mine. We weren’t allowed any contact info, so I couldn’t send a Christmas card,” Ingle said. “I wanted to control the quality of customer service that I thought was really important.”

Between her own savings as well as some money from friends and family, she was able to raise the $5,000 she needed to open a shop of her own. With the help of her husband, Trent, who works in advertising and marketing, she developed a business plan that helped her create an overall idea for the shop. Trent also taught her how to increase her Google presence and how to utilize blogging and social media.

She brought over some clients from her job in Chapel Hill, as well as some she had picked up during a three-month stint at a friend’s shop in Cameron Village. Because her existing client base was local, she looked for a space in Raleigh.

Since Ingle juggles her business with motherhood, she waxes by appointment-only. Interested customers can make reservations online and pay after their waxing. The reservation policy means the door is locked between appointments, allowing her to focus all of her energy on one person at a time, which she said is a crucial aspect to her customer service.

Ingle said she places a large emphasis on educating her clients on hair regrowth and on pre- and post-wax skin care. She also wants to make sure that all of her clients, Gwyneth-thin or otherwise, can relax while at the shop.

Going forward, she hopes to hire an assistant and potentially another waxer, though that may not happen for awhile. Within the next three years, she also hopes to move her family from Durham to Raleigh.

“I feel like waxing, especially Brazilian waxing – doing a brow wax or an underarm – it can be very liberating. That’s your womanhood, that’s who you are, embrace it,” Ingle said. “It’s not about making you feel good for somebody else.”

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