First Person: Starting Fresh in a New City

By: Alexandra Dey

Alex-Seattle

Sharon Futerfas, Jodi Shays and Alex Dey flew to Seattle to scout a new location in December 2014.

Near the end of 2014, I decided that I wanted to move to Seattle, where I have a lot of family and friends. Though I was raised in the Pacific Northwest, I had lived in Los Angeles for 15 years and had spent almost 10 of them working with Jodi – and, by extension, Queen Bee.

I wanted the best of both worlds. While I wanted to live in Seattle, I didn’t want to sever my ties with Queen Bee. This place has become such a part of my life and the people who work there an extended part of my family.  I was hoping that when I spoke with Jodi, she would be open to me coming back to work at the shop every month or so.  I didn’t know how it would work out, only that I knew I wanted to stay connected.

If I’m being completely honest, some small part of me hoped that Jodi would be interested in opening a little satellite location in Seattle.  Over the years, we’ve talked about our next expansion step, but Seattle was never really on the radar.  I knew a few things: Jodi loves Seattle, that Seattle is growing in leaps and bounds and that all of those people would need trained skin care professionals.  That didn’t stop me from being utterly shocked when I told Jodi about my proposed move and she responded, without hesitation, “Let’s open a shop there.”

I’ll stop for a moment here to ask, “Am I the luckiest person on the planet or what?”

Just a few short months later, I moved to Seattle and set up our temporary space.  It took very little time to make the room usable for waxing – after years of helping Jodi manage our two Los Angeles locations, that part was fairly easy.

However, setting up the room was very different from getting clients in the door.  Many people told me that, given that we were starting here from scratch, it would be 6 months to a year before we started getting busy.  I understood that intellectually, but it wasn’t until I started spending full days here, just waiting for someone to walk by, that I truly understood it.  I started feeling some desperation and a lot of self-doubt.  I have a lot of time to think about whether this is a good idea.

In my sanest moments, I know I just have to wait it out, take really great care of my new clients and do my best to spread the word of mouth.  I have the enormous benefit of the referrals of our clients in Los Angeles and around the country.  I have the support of an INCEDIBLE front desk team.  I have to swallow my pride and go back to asking people to hand out my cards, to introducing myself to strangers and to giving nudges about those reviews on Yelp.  I have to learn to do more services that make me appealing to more people.  For instance, I was contacted by several men right away who told me that there aren’t many waxers in Seattle who wax men. So I have to learn and to continue to refine how to do those services.  I keep telling myself that this is a leap of faith; I have to continue to believe in myself, my training and Queen Bee.

The day-to-day here can be hard.  There’s a lot of time to sit and dwell and worry that I won’t be busy, that I made a mistake. But then I’ll have the days when I can see that this will actually work, that people here might like our style of waxing and customer service.  Those days are invigorating.  It is so fun to build something that wasn’t there before and to meet a whole new group of people.  I also receive confirmation on a daily basis of how much support I have from Jodi, the rest of the crew at Queen Bee, my friends and my family.  I’m taking a leap of faith, but I would never have to fall too far.

This experience has been a revelation.  After a bunch of years waxing in Los Angeles, I had become accustomed to walking into the shop and seeing my schedule entirely packed.  It had become strange to see any sort of gap in my day. I had glossed over in my mind the years it took to get there and the work it took to prove myself to our discerning clients.

This massive change has re-injected me with a passion for this industry and its incredible facets.  Once we acquire our skills, they are transferable. They can take us anywhere in the world, in any type of environment.  Care to wax on a cruise ship? Check.  Care to wax at a luxury spa in Europe?  Yes, you can.  Care to wax at a factory wax shop?  You can (but I wouldn’t recommend it).

These skills give us power, flexibility and a lot of control over our ability to make a good living, wherever we have the drive. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have to use them here in Seattle and in Los Angeles.

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