Owner Denise Coleman emphasizes customized services and client comfort
Photos by Christine Craddock
Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin. Denise Coleman, owner of Black Cat Wax in Gainesville believes in this so wholeheartedly, she created a business around it. Her salon offers full body waxing for both men and women. Coleman, who was born and raised in Manassas, attended Paul VI High School before going on to study studio art and art history at VCU in Richmond. After giving birth to her son, she moved back to the area to be close to her family.
Once here, she started a job working at the front desk at a local salon and spa in Haymarket, and discovered her love of skincare. “Working there, I was able to see the way estheticians were able to control their schedules and spend time with their families,” Coleman said. “Not to mention the career opportunities they were given.“ Shortly after, Coleman made the decision to attend school to become a licensed esthetician. When she got a job at a local hair removal salon, she fell in love with body waxing. “It was amazing to be able to see in a very short amount of time that I was able to make someone leave with a pep in their step,” Coleman said. “They were smiling more and even walking straighter!” She spent two years learning the ropes before making the decision to open Black Cat Wax in May of 2019.
She recently moved her salon from Manassas to Gainesville. “Two days before I planned to close in order to move, COVID closed everything,” Coleman said. “I had plans to have an open house and to expand.” Even with the bumps in the road, Coleman feels blessed to have been able to reopen on May 29th of this year. Gainesville has welcomed her with open arms.
“They’re finding me online, and everyone is interested in supporting small businesses,” Coleman said. “The support from the community has been amazing.” If you’ve visited her salon, you would quickly come to realize why people keep coming back again and again. She had a specific vision in mind when creating the Black Cat Wax experience. ”I wanted to be able to tailor each service and appointment to each person and give them more of a boutique-style waxing salon feel.”
Coleman spent years working for a franchise-style waxing salon, and not only knew that she wanted her salon to have a much more personalized experience, but also knew there was a need and want for customized services. “It takes a level of vulnerability to come to me for services,” Coleman said. “I am so honored when people want to come back because my goal is to make you feel comfortable enough that you want to come back. It’s so much more than just getting the service done.”
You would think for a relatively new small business owner that the biggest concern during this time would be to stay afloat, but that wasn’t the case during the shutdown for Denise. “The hardest thing about being closed during quarantine was that I wasn’t able to talk to my clients, Coleman said. “I know about their husbands and their kids. I feel so honored that they talk to me about their personal lives, so not seeing them for 8-10 weeks was killer. I missed them! I was constantly wondering how they were doing.”
Aside from offering personalized services, there are many other things that set Black Cat Wax apart from other salons. “I am one of the only places in Northern Virginia that offers full body waxing for men,” Coleman said. “Male grooming is becoming more and more commonplace among all walks of life and I’m so happy that I get to provide a service and environment that caters to that demand.”
She specializes in hard wax, which is a type of wax with a low melting point that dries quickly. “It’s by far the most gentle and efficient type of wax available,” Coleman said. “I have had many people tell me that compared to previous experiences with other types of wax, hard wax is the least painful.”
More than anything, Denise wants every person who walks through her doors to feel 100% comfortable and at ease. “When I first meet someone, I usually give them a little introduction speech and tell them about myself and the salon to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible. They’re completely in control of the appointment.”
In addition to full body waxing for both men and women, Black Cat Wax offers eyelash extensions, and lash lifts and tints. You can learn more about Black Cat Wax services and book online by visiting www.blackcatwax.com.