Shobha Tummala, who helped bring waxing out of back rooms of nail salons into a freestanding business, is unveiling a new site in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
Opening on Saturday (November 11), it will be the seventh Shobha salon, the fifth in New York City. The location was pinpointed based on requests from her client base. While Williamsburg is known for facial-hair hipsters, Tummala is betting on demand for hair removal. The site is 76 N. 4th Street in Brooklyn.
The $2 billion hair removal category is big business, igniting the growth of salons specializing in waxing, sugaring, threading and lasering. The latter, in fact, is growing at a rate exceeding 15 percent per year, according to Grand View Research.
Tummala has emerged as a “go to” resource for hair removal, especially lasering, which will be offered at the new site. “Laser is something we are finding people still have a lot of questions about or have heard bad stories. We bring education to the market and that’s our goal with laser,” she said. Lasering is the fastest-growing segment of her business.
Bringing waxing, threading, sugaring and laser hair removal under one roof will attract clients to Williamsburg, said Tummala, especially those seeking laser hair removal, which isn’t prevalent in the neighborhood. Furthermore, to meet demand for full, natural eyebrows, Tummala also plans to add microblading — a semi-permanent eyebrow enhancing technique that’s grown briskly from social media exposure. In addition, Shobha stores offer an array of retail products that are also sold online.
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Tummala has witnessed major swings in hair removal since she opened her freestanding shops. She got her start in 2001 from a single chair at Sam Wong’s Salon in SoHo to her first freestanding site the next year. She branched outside of New York to Washington’s Dupont Circle in 2013, followed by Rockville, Md. The other four locales are in Manhattan. She’s considering a locale in California for her many clients who travel between Los Angeles and New York and request her services. The locations range from 1,200-square feet to 4,000-square feet.
Shobha salons also sell their own products for aftercare including a soon-to-be launched 30-count resealable package of Shobha Rosewater Freshening Cloths. Tummala handpicks natural and effective products sold in salons and on an e-commerce site (myshobha.com) with free shipping, including Andalou Naturals and Bogavia.