LA Bikini expands in Monmouth County, NJ

WALL – LA Bikini, a hair removal chain that uses gum paste instead of wax, is expanding in Monmouth County.

Currently, the LA Bikini studio at Brook 35 Mall on Route 35 in Wall is one of 14 stores in seven states and the only one in New Jersey. The Hoover, Alabama-based company hopes to have 100 stores open nationwide by 2027, eventually expanding to more than 300 locations.

Franchisee Michele Sottosanti, who opened her boutique in 2020, is leading LA Bikini’s efforts to expand on the Jersey Shore.

The LA Bikini team at the Wall studio includes, left to right, front desk associate Shannon Welch;  Michele Sottosanti, owner;  Giana DiGangi, sugar maker;  and Betty Rodriguez, sugar maker.  LA Bikini is a hair removal company that uses a mixture of lemon, sugar, and water to remove hair.  Wall Township, NJ Thursday, May 5, 2022

“We are growing,” said Sottosanti, the brand’s regional representative.

Franchisee Jeanne Dunne plans to open three locations in an area that stretches from Ocean Township to Middletown. “I’m optimistic that I’ll find the right place,” she said.

At LA Bikini, hair removal is called sugaring because the company uses a sugar paste, made from a mixture of sugar, lemon and water, instead of wax.

“Our product sticks to the hair, not the skin,” Sottosanti said. “It’s cool to the touch. It’s not hot on your skin.

Sottosanti, a former district sales manager at Dermalogica, the skincare company, which also owned a Learning Express Toys store, was looking for a franchise in the beauty industry when she signed on to LA Bikini.

“I noticed the hair removal industry was on fire,” she said. She opened her studio in June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her store did well from the start, she said.

“Women spend a lot of money on themselves, especially when it comes to personal care,” Sottosanti said. Hair removal “is just something they maintain, just like they would their hair and nails.”

Now, Sottosanti is recruiting potential franchise owners who want to open multiple locations in LA Bikini. Its territory covers Monmouth County and it is targeting Middletown, Shrewsbury, Ocean Township, Marlboro, Manalapan and Freehold for new locations.

Franchise fees are $35,000 and opening a store requires an initial investment of $297,500 to $431,000.

Dunne, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Sea Girt, was looking for her next step and chose an LA Bikini franchise. During her career, she was a hairstylist and owner of a beauty products company.

“When I found LA Bikini, it kind of spoke to me,” she said. “I thought it was the right solution. It’s something new and promising.”

“Taking care of your body feels good, she says. I think it’s important to take care of yourself, to be the best person you can be, not only for yourself, but for others. “

David P. Willis, an award-winning business writer, has covered business and consumer news at the Asbury Park Press for more than 20 years. He writes’s What’s Going There column and can be reached at [email protected] Join his What’s Going There page on Facebook for updates.

Lance B. Holton