Posted on September 17, 2014
No, Gil Colorina doesn’t have any The 40-Year-Old Virgin stories. But, folks are always mentioning that flick to the SF Manscaping owner, a Bay Area esthetician who works solely in wax. “The clip is hilarious, but that’s not what happens in my shop,” Gil says, laughing at the memory of a hairy Steve Carell yelping on the table. (Psst: Gil has had a couple of guys attempt Brazilians – But that’s another story entirely!)
The waxer heralds from the world of… human resources, and started his career in hospital administration and recruitment. While he’d always enjoyed working one-on-one with people, Gil found himself “looking for a major, major career change,” he says. In order to escape the hospital setting, Gil enrolled in massage school, completing his degree as a part-time, evening student while maintaining a day job at the hospital where he worked.
To say there are a lot of massage therapists in San Francisco is an understatement, and, once he had a degree in massage Gil needed to set himself apart. With that realization, he enrolled in esthetics school in an effort to expand his education while, hopefully, honing in on a more niche focus. What Gil found was more than niche – it’s downright unique. “Waxing,” says the professional manscaper, “ended up being really fun, especially in a major city.”
Gil’s boutique salon is located at Sola Salon Studios in the heart of San Fran’s bustling financial district where, Gil says, there are 25-ish other salons mostly housing hairdressers. “There are very few estheticians,” he explains. “And, I am literally the only male esthetician in the building!” Waxing was so fruitful, in fact, that Gil ultimately nixed massage and skincare in an effort to concentrate entirely on waxing and manscaping, which is light clipping and man grooming in conjunction with waxing. “The waxing biz has grown so much that I had to become a true specialist,” explains Gil.
He works mostly with men, and gets the whole gamete these days: “Young clients, older clients, straight men, everybody,” he says. “I read recently that between 39 and 45 percent of men in the U.S. do some sort of manscaping,” Gil adds. Being a man (and understanding what it is like to have a man’s worth of body hair) has helped Gil better serve his clients. One of the little secrets – “It’s not even a secret, really,” Gil says – if you are going to wax somebody like a Steve Carell, don’t forget to trim down the hair first, and always use hard wax, which doesn’t tug on skin.
Gil went so far as to purchase a monstrous hard wax pot for this very reason. The stuff is more expensive and time consuming than strip wax, but totally worth it for client retention. “If I know you are super hairy or pain is an issue, then I’ll use hard wax,” Gil says, noting that he always keeps hard wax available and fired up because, “I don’t know who is going to walk in, and how hair they’ll be.”
Male clients, especially, value privacy, and that’s where Sola Salon Studios comes into play. Gil had been renting office space about a block away from his current location before transitioning to Sola, where both Gil and his clients appreciate the new-found solitude, along with the studio’s cleanliness and impeccable lighting. (“It’s very well lit here,” Gil says. And, we think that’s important when working with hot, molten wax!) “I can’t stress the centrality of this location,” Gil continues, adding, “Clientele is basically built in.” Gil likes to “watch numbers,” he says, and gladly reports that, since coming to Sola, his client-base has increased steadily each month. And, that’s without any advertising whatsoever!
For more information about SF Manscaping, please visit: http://www.sfmanscaping.com/ For more information about Sola Salon Studios San Francisco, click here.