Over the last few years, Filipinos have seen a significant increase in disposable income, especially among the middle class. In fact, consumer spending in the country reached an all-time high in the last quarter of 2017 (Trending Economics). Many of these increasingly cosmopolitan men and women are spending their extra pesos on beauty and personal care, an industry worth $3B (Statista, 2018). Despite this global trend, when it comes to professional hair removal – an increasingly popular treatment – Filipinos are torn between low-cost, often unhygienic salons that offer waxing as a secondary service and expensive high-end spas. Launched in 2006 as one of the country’s first waxing-only salons, Lay Bare offers a wide range of high-quality, hygienic, and affordable hair removal services. With 107 branches, Lay Bare has become synonymous with hair removal in the Philippines. Having grown up in a typical lower-middle class family in Manila, Paolo never imagined that one day he would run his own multi- million-dollar company, let alone one focused on hair removal. After earning his BSc in Financial Institution Management from De La Salle University, Paolo began working as a bank teller for HSBC, where he worked his way up to manager in the corporate banking department. In 2002 Paolo got married, and despite his steady climb at HSBC, he knew that raising a family on his banking salary alone would be tough, so he decided to invest his wedding gifts to start his first business – distributing plastic bags for vendors at public markets. Although Paolo eventually shut down this business, unbeknownst to him, his entrepreneurial career was just beginning.
After years of long queues and disappointing hair removal services offered by neighborhood hair salons, Paolo’s sisters, Fiona and Monique, decided to take matters into their own hands. So, in 2006, the three siblings launched the Philippines’ first waxing-only boutique. Due to a limited marketing budget, Lay Bare spent its first six months in the red. Unwilling to give up, the founders began contacting editors at major national publications telling them about their business. Their perseverance paid off when Lay Bare became a hit among beauty bloggers who inspired hundreds of Filipinos to bare it all. In 2008, to meet the increasing demand (with limited funds), the founders decided to franchise the business. A year later, realizing the company’s potential, Paolo quit his job at HSBC to focus full-time on Lay Bare as its President. Paolo immediately optimized the company’s supply chain and product management. Today, Monique and Fiona (Chairwoman) sit on Lay Bare’s Board, with Paolo in charge of the company’s operations as CEO.
With 100+ locations, Lay Bare has made hair removal widely accessible in the Philippines. Using “sugaring” – a technique that utilizes honey, sugar, and citrus fruits – instead of hot wax, Lay Bare customers are less likely to suffer from cuts, burns, and nicks, and experience smooth skin for two weeks longer. All Lay Bare’s technicians undergo a ten-week training program to ensure cleanliness (no double dipping), premier customer experience, and high-quality results at an affordable price. Lay Bare provides more than hair removal services; it strengthens clients’ self-esteem. In a country where over 10% of the population is employed overseas in the services industry, Lay Bare is making a difference by creating well-paid, lower skilled jobs at home. Furthermore, as a born and raised Filipino entrepreneur, Paolo is an inspiration to millions of young Filipinos. It’s safe to say that the company’s future looks anything but bare.