Uni K Wax founder discusses brand's innovation in hair removal category

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

“We officially opened the first Uni K Wax studio in 1993 in Miami Beach. Since then, we have been trailblazers in the industry — we were the first to coin the term Brazilian Bikini Wax, the first to open a waxing-only studio and the first to create a proprietary natural wax,” said Uni K Wax founder Noemi Grupenmager. © PonyWang Getty Images
“We officially opened the first Uni K Wax studio in 1993 in Miami Beach. Since then, we have been trailblazers in the industry — we were the first to coin the term Brazilian Bikini Wax, the first to open a waxing-only studio and the first to create a proprietary natural wax,” said Uni K Wax founder Noemi Grupenmager. © PonyWang Getty Images

Related tags Hair removal Wax Innovation

With its proprietary all-natural pine resin wax, unique application methods, and innovation in comprehensive gender-neutral hair removal services, Uni K Wax founder Noemi Grupenmager discusses the brand’s commitment to disrupting the hair removal space in this exclusive CosmeticsDesign Q&A.

According to market research firm Statista, 6.39 million Americans used waxing as a hair removal process four or more times in 2020 in a six-month period, and “the global waxing industry is a rapidly growing market, with the hair removal wax market expected to reach $11.8 bn by 2028 with compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% from 2021 to 2028,” as reported by market research firm Gitnux.

Though there are currently a variety of available waxes and application types, the Uni K Wax company is working to differentiate itself from other hair removal providers through a combination of its proprietary pine resin wax formulation and unique application technique. To learn more about the innovation behind these products and processes, we interviewed Noemi Grupenmager, Founder of Uni K Wax for her insights.

CDU: Can you share some background information about yourself, Uni K Wax, and your relationship with the cosmetics and personal care product industries?​ 

Noemi Grupenmager (NG)​: I started my career in business administration and have been an entrepreneur since I was fifteen years old. My focus has always been on businesses. I started in the printing industry, completely unrelated to beauty.

My introduction to the world of beauty came through personal frustration. Whenever I found myself looking for waxing services for myself or my daughters, I always found the offerings unsatisfactory. The services were always performed in the back rooms of nail and hair salons. The products usually left my sensitive skin irritated. I knew there had to be a better way. 
This experience inspired me to develop my own waxing concept. I realized there was a need for a revolutionary hair removal method that was natural, allergy-free, easily spreadable, and affordable. I envisioned a product, a system and a method that would meet these criteria and do away with the industry’s standard process of using harsh chemicals, harmful synthetic materials and painful honey wax and paper strips. 
We officially opened the first Uni K Wax studio in 1993 in Miami Beach. Since then, we have been trailblazers in the industry — we were the first to coin the term Brazilian Bikini Wax, the first to open a waxing-only studio and the first to create a proprietary natural wax. We started franchising the brand in 2007. Uni K Wax has grown to include 34 locations in states including Florida, New York, New Jersey and Texas. 

CDU: What was the concept behind Uni K Wax, and what steps were taken during the​ formulation and development process to launch this product?​ 

NG​: I reached out to a friend of mine who was a chemical engineer to discuss my idea for this new, revolutionary wax. Together, we experimented with various ingredients and went through numerous trials.

After exhaustive laboratory studies and market analysis, we settled on pine resin, creating a wax that was natural, comfortable, versatile and suitable for any part of the body or face. The end result was ElastiKWax, our one-of-a-kind product.  
To accompany this skin-friendly wax, we also designed a precise technique of application and removal to optimize comfort and reduce service time, applying at body temperature and across wider surfaces.

We meticulously curated the application and removal processes to maximize comfort and efficiency, right from the preparatory antiseptic steps to post-wax care. Today, we offer a dynamic blend of 160 waxing services — body, bikini/commando and face — for unisex customers.

CDU: Why choose pine as a base ingredient for the proprietary elastic wax formulation?​ 

NG: ​The reason ElastiKWax is created from pine resin is due to its natural property as a topifier, meaning it is very sticky. Of course, the type of pine resin we use is completely different, but the underlying concept remains the same.

We need a substance that adheres to the hair without sticking to the skin, leaving it smooth. That's the rationale behind our use of pine resin. 

CDU: Were there any challenges during the formulation and development process that needed to be addressed prior to launch? If so, what were those challenges and what solutions were developed and implemented to resolve them?​ 

NG: ​Yes, it took three years of trial and error to perfect the product. Our primary experiment, for example, was an attempt to develop a wax capable of efficiently covering an entire leg in a single application. We began creating samples and we faced several challenges.

Some formulas were far too hot, for example, while others were not sufficiently spreadable. Pine resin, alongside our unique application process, proved to be the perfect solution. 

CDU: In what ways is Uni K Wax’s formulation unique or innovative compared to other​ currently available waxing products?​ 

NG: ​When you look at the labels of other waxes, the ingredients list is filled with chemical names, synthetic materials, preservatives, and parabens, which can be difficult to understand. In contrast, our wax is gluten-free and all-natural.

This simplicity and commitment to natural ingredients set our wax apart from others on the market. However, the simplicity of our product does not mean the formulation process is straightforward.

We collaborate closely with our raw material suppliers to ensure the creation of a product that meets our specific needs. It's not possible to just purchase any pine resin off the shelf; we ensure we meet dozens of specific requirements necessary for our type of wax. 
But the wax is just one part of our comprehensive products. Our service involves a range of products, each designed to enhance the waxing experience and ensure the best results for our customers. We've recently created the Cold Box, for example, a product applied to sensitive areas, like the bikini line or face, to close pores after waxing.  

And our approach extends beyond the products themselves. We have a Wax Lab in each studio where we prepare the wax specifically for each customer, warmed just for them, reflecting our commitment to personalized service. We've even designed a special warmer for our wax, along with other proprietary products used in the waxing process. 

We produce our own wax for all our franchisees at an in-house distribution facility in Miami, ensuring consistency and quality across our brand. We don't rely on external vendors for our wax, which allows us to guarantee that it's made from the finest, purest ingredients.  

Training is another critical aspect of our operation. We have an exclusive K University, providing extensive training to both aspiring and current waxers, ensuring they are certified and skilled in our methods. 

CDU: Does Uni K Wax have any plans for further innovation and development in the​ waxing space?​ 

NG: ​We're not currently considering any new types of wax because we are extremely satisfied with our current wax. However, we are constantly innovating in other areas, such as the warmers and spatulas, and all the retail products related to our services. We're committed to continuous improvement across the board. 

Additionally, the company was recently acquired several equity partners along with Heather Elrod now taking over as Executive Chair. They bring extensive experience in franchising and managing multi-unit businesses.

This acquisition is poised to significantly aid our growth in the years ahead, marking an exciting chapter for our future. Our focus remains on expanding our business, bolstered by our outstanding product and a cohesive team.       

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