Miss Diana King: The Queen Of Beauty Business
Diana King Brazilian Waxing
Seated across Diana King in her posh Holland Village salon with Ricky Martin interjecting the bubbly conversationalist with his adrenaline-pumping hit song, makes one feel like Livin’ La Vida Loca. In the midst of everything beautiful–one may slip into oblivion of the fact that success in the beauty business does have its naked, ugly truth. It’s the kind of truth that Diana King lives with and breathes every single day.
“Sky-high rental, months when there are zero sales, and a growing competition,” the queen of beauty business names a few. And to these she sheds light on the principles she lives by, her inspiration, and sacrifices to grow her business big and beautiful for the past 14 years. Here is her story.
The Diana King Beauty Services Brand: Personal & Fast
Straight from the University at 26, Diana King knew that she would not find herself in any other vocation but the beauty business. “I have always been vain. Beauty is my passion,” she confessed. She started with not a single name in her database to contact and convert into a patron. With a modest capitalization, she did not have money to advertise or hire a sales person. Instead, most of her savings went into renting out an old law office and renovating it into her salon. Diana said making the salon feel like home is important, especially because she was offering a very personalize service. In 2000, Diana was breaking ground in Singapore for offering a unique service that most locals initially hushed about: Brazilian waxing.
Back then, her mainstream clients were Caucasians, mostly wives of expatriates working in Singapore, who have done Brazilian waxing from their own countries and who are looking for a salon to do it for them in Singapore. Soon, word about Diana spread in the expat circle like wildfire. For Diana, trust is important in keeping loyal patrons. “Waxing is very personal. It is like going to the gynecologist. They come and expose themselves to you. They need to feel that they can trust you,” she said.
On top of this, waxing was also a “no pain, no gain” sort of service. “Waxing is very painful. There’s nothing pampering about it. You have to do it fast and make the pain end fast!” she explains. Diana did not realize how important speed was until much later when she had an epiphany why her examiner in the Brazilian waxing certification course couldn’t stop praising her “fast hands.” “I didn’t know why she kept telling me that, it was starting to make me feel uncomfortable. And then it hit me, what can I do with my fast hands? I will use it to make me stand out in the market.”
From this, Diana’s buzzer-beating 10-minute waxing challenge was birthed. Clients loved it, and even secretly timed her as she attended to the matter. Today, Diana King is so famous in the beauty world, as she holds the title of being the fastest Brazilian wax specialist in the world. Taking The Entrepreneurial Journey The Slow and Stubborn Way While Diana King’s fast hands won her both local and international clients, she had never thought of it as a means to make money fast. Admittedly, she knows it is a material world and people want to make money. But the queen of beauty says it shouldn’t be just about the money. “There are a lot of salons where clients are getting burned. They use cheap wax; there is no quality in how they do it. They are just after quantity. I believe if you are in the beauty business, your purpose is to enhance beauty, not destroy it.”
So while her competitors were devising all means to make the cash register open and close as fast and easy as batting eyelashes, Diana held on to her principles of doing business. She did not compromise on quality. She did not flaunt her services by the door. Instead, she let her clients— 90% of whom became her friends — do the talking. Her business thrived on very strong recommendations from her happy clients.
Diana is wired this way because of her biggest idols who imprinted upon her the importance of having a persevering attitude. One of her idols is Singapore’s Founding Father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, from whom she admires for his fighting spirit. Diana is also inspired by businesswomen Lalita Nithiyanandan who steadily grew her business amidst many struggles. Finally, Diana learned a lot from her landlord, a successful patent lawyer. “Their examples keep me going. They are fantastic people who wear a no nonsense attitude in business, very prim and proper.”
Because of this, Diana does not see failure as it is. She turns failures into challenges which she is able to surmount. “Failures can pull you down. Challenges can help bring out the fighting spirit in you. ” One of the biggest challenges she had to face was a dry spell in her business during the months of June to August, when her Caucasian clients would return to their home countries on a summer break. Diana had zero sales and the overheads running, which rendered her finances tilting to the negative. She is not ashamed to admit that during these times, she had to pawn jewelry to stay cash flow positive. “Try to solve it yourself and see how it goes. A couple of times there are ups and downs. I only have to answer
3Ps to Success: Passion, Patience and Perseverance
To the young entrepreneurs, Diana King advises applying the 3Ps of her life and business principles:
Passion, Patience, and Perseverance.
“I see young people who are very talented but they give up easily. It’s easy to set up a business. Sustaining it is hard,” she said. It takes time to build a reputation in the market. But when one is passionate about something, he or she would do what it takes, and would get out of his or her comfort zone, to make things happen.
“Cultivate yourself to be patient. Running a business will drive you to the verge. It will drive you to give up. But when you keep on, lots opportunities will come,” she promises. Asked about the one thing that gives her greatest satisfaction being in the beauty services business, Diana does not hesitate: “It’s when I see my customer smiles. It’s when they say, ‘Thank you, Diana.’ It’s not only about making money. It’s when customers say ‘Wow!” This experience makes me feel so good.
It’s about doing the right thing, the right way.
In the next five years, Diana King sees herself expanding her business overseas, especially in Australia, where she has a growing number of loyal patrons. Until then, the beauty service queen will continue with her devoted endeavor, revealing beauty behind skin deep, one day at a time.