We wanted to know more about Yoshie, the dynamic powerhouse behind Smoothie Waxing Salon in Osaka, Japan. Smoothie is our newest retailer and officially the farthest BOX Naturals have ever been from home (hello, San Diego). We couldn't be more pleased to be part of Smoothie's offering, or to meet Yoshie. For the scoop on waxing trends in Japan AND insider tips on where to shop and get the best cocktail, read on!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I'm from Osaka originally, when I was 15, I moved to England to go to a boarding school, then on to university where I studied physics. After I finished university, I came back to Japan and worked in several different companies.
After spending 6 years in Japan, I decided to change my career completely and help with my family business which we have been operating for 65 years - spa, restaurants, capsule hotels. Before joining my family business, I went back to London to study beauty therapy because our main part of the business is spa. I spent anther 4 years in England then came back to Japan to join my family company.
Now, I work as a managing director of New Japan (http://newjapan.co.jp/) with my brother. I started a waxing salon SMOOTHIE in 2010, set up my own company and became a sole distributor of French depilatory brand "Perron Rigot" in 2013. My next plan is to open a salon in Tokyo and look for different products to sell/distribute in Japan.
How did you get into Waxing?
I went to a beauty college in London in 2004 and took a CIDESCO International qualification. It was then that I learned about waxing. Other beauty treatments were all familiar to me but waxing was something that I had never heard of in Japan. I worked in a spa and a beauty salon in London after getting qualified, got some hands on experience during that time. I returned to Japan in 2008, realised that there weren't many salons that offered waxing service.
I opened a waxing salon in Osaka, Japan in 2010, originally targeting western people living in Osaka but within a year, waxing has started getting popular so now I have both Japanese and Western clients coming in.
What are your customers like? Are they mostly Japanese or other nationalities?
60% - Japanese, 40% - Foreigners, mostly western people who live and work in Osaka. Occasionally I get random tourists coming in. 50% of my customers are male.
How popular is hair removal in Japan?
Hair removal including Laser, IPL, Electrolysis and waxing is very popular. IPL treatments are very reasonable now a days so most people treat their unwanted hair by IPL or Laser. Waxing has become popular few years ago, with the influence of "Sex And The City" and some celebrities talking about "Brazilian waxing". Most clients come to my salon to do Brazilian waxing - completely bare style is most popular for both men and women. There aren't many salons that allow male customers, usually waxing salons are only for women.
What is your favorite place to eat in Osaka?
I have few different places for food. For Sushi, Kitarozushi. For Teppanyaki, Gekko Kamen. For Roast dinner - my favourite! - Viento. For cocktails - Cafe Absinthe.
What about shopping?
For clothes/shoes, I go to department stores such as Takashimaya and Hankyu. But to avoid crowd, I tend to go online for shopping - Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion.