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LunchboxWax Focuses on Inclusivity for Trans Community


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“As a lesbian in LunchboxWax, I find that the conversation and dialogue with franchise peers and corporate leadership is always, how can we do this better?” said Erika Cremona, a LunchboxWax franchisee.

Erika Cremona spent 15 years in corporate America, working in jobs ranging from sales to project manager at Nestle—but she knew she wanted to be her own boss and give back to her community, so she started looking into franchising.

She stumbled across waxing franchise concept LunchboxWax and was drawn to the cheekiness and edginess of the brand, which was founded in 2010 by Debi Lane and started franchising in 2013.

“They’re not afraid to talk about something uncomfortable,” Cremona said about the brand. “I love being in that position of being a forerunner…that really resonated with who I am and what kind of staff I wanted to have.”

Cremona became a LunchboxWax franchisee in October 2019 in the Austin, Texas area, and has had ongoing conversations with other franchisees and leaders about their role in creating an inclusive community.

“As a lesbian in LunchboxWax, I find that the conversation and dialogue with franchise peers and corporate leadership is always, how can we do this better? What stands out to you, what do you see, what does the community see?” Cremona said.

Recently, the 50-unit company has focused its attention on inclusivity for the trans community, with outreach messages such as “we are trained to know how to wax every body.” In 2018, LunchboxWax eliminated male/female checkboxes when setting up appointments. Staff also asks guests for their preferred pronouns.

“I don’t personally see this as an initiative—that feels like a destination or finite point, and that at some point it will be over,” Cremona said. “Our tagline, ‘we wax every body,’ is a tagline by marketing terms, but it’s really who we are and the most truthful thing about LunchboxWax.”

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is celebrated in June to honor the Stonewall riots of 1969. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride traditions. Transgender—or trans—is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned at birth. The transgender community has historically been discriminated against in many areas of life, including work, school, housing, health care and public accommodations, and hate crime murders targeting people who are transgender reached a 27-year high in 2018, according to FBI data.

The trans community has also been excluded in some waxing spaces, Cremona said.

“In the waxing industry, there is this perception of a very standard box—you have a typical client that gets a wax right before vacation, things you see on TV,” Cremona said. “We have to let (the trans community) know we’re here, having that evolving conversation of who we are as the brand expands.”

A spokesperson for European Wax Center, another waxing franchise, said in a statement that “as the leader in the waxing industry, European Wax Center is inclusive and services all genders and is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Our wax specialists are highly trained to perform services for all body types and genders.”

It comes down to picking staff that are genuinely good-hearted people ready for any conversation, Cremona said, and then continuing to educate franchisees and staff on best practices for engaging with every body. For potential franchisees, Cremona suggests exploring brands “that allow you to be uniquely you.”

“It’s a movement, and it does take trust for the first trailblazer. I see LunchboxWax as a trailblazer for a service provider,” Cremona said. “I also see our guests that come in that aren’t the typical version of a waxer as trailblazers as well, because it takes more than one to make a trend; it’s a group effort to get that inclusivity.”

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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