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Inside Uni K Wax's New Membership Program Launch

Under the strategic guidance of Frank Ponce, Uni K Wax's Executive Director of Operations and a dedicated franchisee, the brand is set to transform how customers experience the brand’s waxing services.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 3:15PM 12/21/23

Uni K Wax, the 34-unit hair removal and waxing franchise, recently announced the launch of its new membership program, spearheaded by Uni K’s Franchise Advisory Council and Frank Ponce, Uni K Wax's Executive Director of Operations and a franchise owner in Florida. The new initiative promises to not only provide a convenient and affordable way for customers to take advantage of monthly services, but also a way for Uni K Wax franchisees to stand out in the competitive beauty landscape. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Ponce to learn more about how the membership program was born, his role in the initiative, the plans for the future and more. 

The Franchisee and Franchisor Perspective

Ponce's decades-long retail career, which began at RadioShack and led him to become an Area Director in South Florida, laid the foundation for his innovative approach at Uni K Wax. After moving on from RadioShack, Ponce transitioned to Uni K Wax, initially joining as an Operations Director with aspirations to eventually become a franchisee. 

“My ultimate goal was to become a franchisee — I just wanted a good grasp on the business before investing in a location myself,” Ponce said. “My wife was a customer at a local Uni K Wax studio and she loved the brand. When I told her I had been put in touch with the brand for a corporate role, she was already sold. We knew this was a company we wanted to team up with.”

Just six months later, Ponce’s entrepreneurial aspirations became a reality when he purchased his first Uni K Wax studio in 2018, followed by two more locations in Broward, FL the next year.

Today, Ponce's unique position, alternating between franchisee and franchisor roles, offers him a comprehensive understanding of the Uni K Wax business from both perspectives. This duality enables him to act as a bridge, ensuring alignment and fostering communication between the corporate team and other franchisees.

Conception of the Uni K Wax Membership Model

The idea of a membership model was originally Ponce's brainchild, envisioned as a way to enhance customer loyalty and provide consistent value to franchise owners. 

“After just a couple months with the company, I floated the idea that a membership program would benefit not only customers, but operators as well,” Ponce said. “We could offer a service or multiple services for a monthly fee, and it would cost the same amount as a single session of our most popular services. We worked it out to ensure both the customer and the franchise owner would be protected.”

As a day-to-day franchise owner with Uni K Wax, Ponce says he immediately noticed a demand in the marketplace for this kind of membership service. 

“Folks want that smooth and healthy skin, but many customers are inconsistent when it comes to scheduling regular visits,” Ponce said, likening it to gym memberships. “Some of our competitors were offering a similar model, so it was clear that there was a demand for this and it would benefit customers. My main goal, subconsciously, was to help people achieve the results they always wanted.”

Following a few years of delays due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uni K Wax membership program was officially rolled out in a pilot phase across Florida and selected New York locations in early 2023. 

When compared to other membership programs, Ponce emphasizes the customer-friendly nature of the Uni K Wax offering, highlighting its non-contractual, month-to-month flexibility. Customers can sign up for memberships starting at $59 for bikini and $69 for commando in Florida & Texas and $69 for bikini and $79 for commando in NY & NJ (the same price as a single service for non-members on average), and also take advantage of a 20% discount on additional hair removal services. 

“On average, customers wax every 21 - 25  days, so a monthly membership model aligns well with their needs,” said Ponce. “As a member, you can come in as many times as you need and you aren’t required to sign a rigid contract — you pay month-to-month. It really fits everyone’s lifestyle.” 

Franchisee Involvement in Shaping Uni K Wax's Membership Program

Although Ponce brought his own experience, he knew that fellow Uni K Wax franchisees would need to be involved in the creation of the membership program in order to instill a true franchisee-focused approach. The corporate team created a Franchisee Advisory Council committee of on-the-ground franchise owners to help gather best practices, share ideas and shape the program. 

Hector Morales, for example, is a Uni K Wax franchisee based in Coral Gables who brought valuable insights from his extensive retail and massage industry background to the Franchise Advisory Council, playing a pivotal role in shaping this initiative.

“Uni K Wax really listens to all of us and is willing to hear all of our ideas,” Morales said. “I was always in constant communication with corporate about the membership program launch. They told me they were building a committee to make the decisions on what they were going to test, and they added me to that advisory council. I knew I could provide good insight.”

Morales's experience with his other beauty franchises allowed him to bring a customer-centric perspective, for example, understanding the appeal of a membership model to modern consumers. 

“Corporate put together their ideas, we provided feedback and together we went through to refine the strategy,” said Morales. “This included going over everything from integration with the POS system to compensation for studio owners. That all brought us to the final product we have today.”

Ed Miranda, the Uni K Wax franchise owner of the London SquarePinecrest and Bal Harbour studios, was another member of the committee, leveraging his in-depth experience with other beauty franchise concepts to help guide the membership launch.

“We are really fans of that membership-based model — it helps provide stable revenue month-after-month,” said Miranda. “We were able to work with the corporate team to determine the price point, the benefits we should offer, etc.”

Overall, Miranda says it felt great to work alongside the Uni K Wax corporate team. “They are experts at what they do, but they also value our input as owners,” he said. “They were always willing to consider our insight and eager to reconsider any decisions if we had second thoughts. There was open communication and it was a great experience.”

Impressive Early Results and Future Plans

The pilot phase of the membership program, involving both corporate and franchise committee studios, began just seven months ago and has already exceeded expectations. 

“I was one of the first studios to launch the membership program officially,” Morales said. “We had been in the development process for over two years, so it was very exciting to get the program started. We ended up bringing in 30 memberships that first month alone. We have over 200 members now at our studio.”

Miranda says his studios have seen similar success since starting with the membership pilot program back in June. 

“It has been unbelievable so far — the first month we sold 100 memberships, which is unheard of, and we currently have over 350 members at our London Square studio and 250 memberships at our Pinecrest salon,” Miranda said. “Just four of five months after launching, the memberships now account for over 25% of our sales. It really shows how much people are eager to sign up for a wax membership.”

With a retention rate close to 90% and over 2,100 total members across all of Florida, the initiative is certainly off to a promising start. Currently, members can visit any participating Uni K Wax location and receive the same membership benefits.

“The response has been amazing so far,” said Ponce. “The price point, ease of the terms and the offering makes it a no-brainer for a lot of our customers. Our customer retention rate far exceeds the industry standard, we are doing an amazing job.”

Looking ahead, Ponce says the Uni K Wax team plans to expand the program to all studios, including all of New York, by 2024. With its early success and ambitious expansion plans, Ponce is confident this program is set to redefine the Uni K Wax experience for franchisees and guests alike.

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