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Eyeing Expansion

Eyebrow Designer 21 tests day spa format.

Eyebrow Designer 21 is rolling out a new day spa prototype that could spark even more expansion for this national chain.

The Chicago-based company opened its first eyebrow-threading boutique more than a decade ago at a street-front store in Naperville, IL. The firm has been busy expanding its store count—and its menu of services—ever since. Currently, Eyebrow Designer 21 operates 78 stores and kiosks in 17 states and is planning to open another 20 to 35 stores this year.

The core service of Eyebrow Designer 21 relies on the ancient tradition of eyebrow threading as a means of removing unwanted facial hair for both women and men. In addition, the business also offers eyelash extensions, herbal facials, waxing and henna tattoos.

The company’s latest menu offering is a day spa, which recently opened in Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, FL. “We are very excited about the location, because it is one of the top five malls in the nation,” says Syed Ali, president and founder of Eyebrow Designer 21.

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Expansion opportunity

For the past two years, Eyebrow Designer 21 operated a smaller store in the mall. When a spot opened up in a more prime location, mall management approached Ali and asked if he was interested in expanding. The company seized the opportunity to test a new day spa format while adding nail services. The store can accommodate up to 35 customers simultaneously for services such as threading or facials, as well as manicures and pedicures. The new store represents an exciting move that allows Eyebrow Designer 21 to capitalize on a high-traffic location next to Marshalls and Neiman Marcus—the store is also close to the food court. The relocation also allows the retailer to expand in a much larger 2,500-square-foot store. The typical Eyebrow Designer 21 location is 1,200 square feet or smaller. “This is our largest store that we have opened so far, and so far we have had a great response from our customers,” says Ali. The new store features much of the same design, color scheme and brand image as the rest of the Eyebrow Designer 21 chain. The Sawgrass Mills location also features more decorative finishes, as well as the addition of pedicure chairs and manicure tables. The main vision is to create a nice aesthetic that complements the mall, Ali says.

The new store format coincides with customer demand for additional spa services. “What we are seeing from customers now is that they are very happy that they don’t have to do threading separately and then go somewhere else to do nails,” says Ali. “They like the one concept, one store where they can get their eyebrows threaded, have a facial, waxing and nails at the same time.”

The expanded services also are a welcome addition to the mall. “Eyebrow Designer 21 at Sawgrass Mills represents yet another retail offering as part of our unique brand of shopping [that is] popular with millions of shoppers from south Florida and around the world,” says Luanne Lenberg, vice president and general manager at Sawgrass Mills. “As the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States, we strive to provide the best retail mix and this new concept fits with our impressive roster of stores, dining options and entertainment venues,” she adds.

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Growing menu of services

The new Sawgrass Mills location will be a good test of the larger day spa format and the possibility of adding nail services to additional stores in the future.

Being able to have a larger store with more services in its repertoire will certainly give the chain more options as it continues to move forward with its expansion strategy. The new store locations could be either the traditional Eyebrow Designer 21 stores or the larger day spa model. “We are open to both formats. It depends on the deal that we can get from the landlord and the space available,” says Ali.

In addition to targeting top mall locations throughout the United States, Ali is currently pursuing locations in Toronto, as well as top cities in his native India including Mumbai and New Delhi.

At this time, all the stores are company-owned, but Ali would like to add franchising as an option in the future. Eyebrow Designer 21 continues to prove that eyebrow threading is a growing niche that is resonating with the American consumer. “We are seeing pretty good demand right now, and in another five to 10 years we think there will be top demand from the American people,” says Ali.

For more information about Eyebrow Designer 21, please visit eyebrowdesigner21.us.


Beth Mattson-Teig

Beth Mattson-Teig is a freelance business writer based in Minneapolis, Minn. She specializes in covering the national commercial real estate industry.

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