Mpls. Hair-Removal Chain Plans Rapid Expansion
A Minneapolis-based hair removal business called BodyBrite USA, whose self-proclaimed goal is to “eliminate the divide among the hairy have’s and have-not’s,” is expanding in its home state and elsewhere.
Originally conceived in Spain about four years ago, BodyBrite provides med spa treatments, such as permanent hair removal and skin rejuvenation, using an intense pulse light or “IPL.” The company claims that the IPL is a safer and less painful alternative to laser hair removal treatments and is equally effective.
In addition to permanent hair removal, BodyBrite uses the IPL to remove spider veins, age spots, and surface acne.
According to BodyBrite USA CEO Chris Hardy, the IPL treatments and the BodyBrite business has thrived in Europe, Mexico, and Central America for several years but only entered the U.S. market in 2011—the delay due mainly to the stricter regulatory process here.
BodyBrite has about 200 franchise locations throughout the world—125 of which are in Mexico—but currently has just 11 in the United States. Minnesota is home to the only company-owned BodyBrite location in the country, which is in Minneapolis along with the company’s U.S. headquarters.
Hardy said the company hopes to open three new BodyBrite locations in Minnesota—in Edina, Eden Prairie, and Rochester or Plymouth—by the end of the year, or even by the end of the month.
“We’ve seen exponential growth since we created the brand,” Hardy told Twin Cities Business. The company said its annual revenue is about $1.5 million, which it said is between 300 to 400 percent higher than in 2012.
In addition to the Minnesota locations, the company expects to open four new locations in the next week, three in Texas and one in North Carolina.
Hardy said the company currently has about 20 franchise units sold nationwide and anticipates about 10 new shops opening by the end of the year in the United States, some of which will be in the Midwest—two in Iowa, one in Nebraska, and one in Chicago.
“We also have about 52 prospects, which means people are still in the process of reviewing the contract and the franchise disclosure documents,” Hardy said. “I would say they have about a 90 percent chance of opening.”
The company began franchising U.S. BodyBrite locations about a year ago. Franchisees pay between $110,000 and $150,000 for the equipment, training, marketing, and brand.
Hardy said his philosophy is “keep it simple stupid,” and BodyBrite has differentiated itself from competitors by maintaining low infrastructure and hiring few employees.
“Unfortunately this means the new Minnesota locations won’t be adding a whole lot of jobs,” said Hardy. “Each location has about three to five employees.”
However, Hardy confirmed that BodyBrite is planning to ramp up its corporate office with the addition of about three more positions, which would bring its total to 15 employees.
The goal of the company is to bring luxury beauty services to the masses: “Our IPL procedures cost anywhere from four to 10 times less than the laser hair removal treatments,” Hardy said.
BodyBrite charges $49 for hair removal on any zone of the body, per session. Hardy said it takes a client anywhere from six to 12 sessions on each zone before they receive the permanent effect.
BodyBrite has its sights on more than just the laser hair industry, however. “Laser hair removal is only about a half-a-billion-dollar industry; our position is to compete in the $4.5 billion waxing marketplace,” said Hardy. “A client who has done a waxing and has also used our treatment, if they compare all the elements, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t want to choose us over them.”
If it hopes to dominate the hair removal industry, BodyBrite will compete with waxing businesses like Waxing the City, a waxing salon—with a location in Woodbury—that was recently acquired by Hastings-based Anytime Fitness.
Currently, hair removal makes up about 70 percent of BodyBrite’s business, but Hardy said he plans to broaden the business’ revenue streams further into more skin rejuvenation and even teeth whitening.
“We hope that soon we’ll have clients who will be laying down for a hair removal on their legs and at the same time we can be whitening their teeth,” said Hardy.