THE WOMAN WHO DARED SAY “NO”
PIA LEDBETTER SHARES THE WAXING BAR’S SAGA
“there was skin coming off and there was blood splattered on the wall. It was crazy.”
It’s been a while since I visited Pia Ledbetter at her location for the Waxing Bar. Her place is not your typical waxing place. It’s the only service she provides and she along with her staff are very professional and highly recommended by clientele. She’s weathered a lot of changes over the last half dozen years. The sudden passing of her brother Damian, who served as office manager at the Waxing Bar and then her husband of 19 years, Michael, suddenly passed away last fall, of all days on Damian’s birthday.
Now the resilient 40-year old businesswoman soldiers on determined to build on her success regardless what life throws her way. Pia was very gracious to sit down with us for the second time in fours years to talk about her business, her life and her principled decision in turning down a potential hit reality show based on the Waxing Bar. Public News: A lot of things have changed since we last spoke. You moved locations, up the road from the Dosey Doe Big Barn.
Pia: Yeah, we were running out of parking spaces. We needed to focus on waxing folks, not helping them find parking spots behind each other. It was crazy. Here, at the new location parking is a little better but not a whole lot better. Public News: We’ll fast forward, and now you are the owner and proprietor of The Waxing Bar. Pia: Going on eleven years, now. Yeah, it’s great.
Public News: What was the genesis of The Waxing Bar. What was it that made you want to get into waxing?
Pia: I was going to hair school at the time, and my brother’s ex-girlfriend got me a gift certificate for a wax. It was at a very well-known place downtown, which I highly recommend for anything but waxing. (laughs) The procedure took her like an hour, there was skin coming off and there was blood splattered on the wall. It was crazy. We were about halfway through and I was not going to let her finish, but I didn’t want to be a half waxed, though. What I didn’t know, the time, was that the wax she was using was too hot so it was kind of taking my skin off with the wax. I didn’t know that at the time. I thought the woman knew what she was doing. So, I went home from that wax that day and sat in a cold bath. Afterwards, I got on the phone and called all my friends that owned hair salons and they all said ‘It sounds like you got a bad wax.’ And, I thought to myself, ‘I can do better than that’. So, I went to school the next day. I didn’t really like the school, but I was going because all my friends were making I went
and withdrew the next day and I decided to be an esthetician. So, doing the waxing all came all came from a bad wax.” Public News: What exactly is an esthetician?
Pia: We do skin care, much like a cosmetologist do hair. Well, actually they do skin, too. For instance, Casey is a cosmetologist. I met her when I was in
hair school. Public News: So, that’s when you went into waxing full time?
Pia: “But, everyone told me, ‘You just can’t wax. It’s not going to work.’
Public News: Why did they believe that?
Pia: Because I was just offering one service. Most places offer waxing with skin care, hair or this or that. There are lot of places that specialize in just waxing, but there is not a lot of them. I wanted to give it a try. I mean, I was the first one out here. European didn’t come until years later. Public News: How long does it take to get a “general” wax? Like a bikini wax or a Brazilian? Pia: A Brazilian, for a female, is probably on average 10 to 12 minutes. A Brazilian
is maybe 15. It is not a very long process. There are people that aren’t as fast as we are but there are not as good as we are. It’s not like you are torching them. Of course, I make my own wax. I mix a couple of different blue waxes together to make my specific blue, so that it makes it slightly less uncomfortable. It’s not a very long process. Even with a full body wax. The first time takes about an hour-and-ahalf, but after the first time I get done in 45 minutes.
Public News: Many women, in the late-40s or early-50s, suffer from a lot of growth of facial. I assuming you can take care of that, too.
Pia: Sure, and sometimes it takes as little as five minutes, maybe 10. It just depends. Some of these women who have really coarse hair so it might take a little long until you break down the roots. But it also depends on if they have shaved it or have taken care of it poorly. Every time you wax, you hair grows back thinner and thinner, because you’re breaking down the roots. It’s really coarse at first, but it grows back really soft. Over time, you kill the follicles so it’ll never grow back. Public News: You, personally, have some really cool tattoos. When you work with skin that has tattoos does the waxing process bleach them out at all?
Pia: “No, no, no. Actually, it makes them better, because you take all the dead hair and skin off. A lot of people don’t exfoliate their bodies like they should, you should have everything exfoliating at least twice a week. From your head to your toe, everything. Public News: What’s the best way to exfoliate?
Pia: You can use a salt or sugar scrub or if you just have baking soda on a wash rag , you can use that, too. You know when you shave you have that little layer of dead skin over them? When you exfoliate, it helps to bring those hairs to the surface so you get a smoother, longer lasting wax or shave. And, the tattoos look shinier and fresher. As a matter of fact, all the guys that go to tattoo conventions, pretty much every tattoo shop around here really, we wax them all before they go so all their stuff looks nice and bright. Public News: It sounds like waxing is for everybody?
Pia: We have some of the unlikeliest characters who wax regularly. I mean, we have your older men, we have older women, we have your soccer moms, we have your young girls, and we have young boys...well, not too young. (laughs) Actually, I do (wax) boys who are 12 and 13 years old. Moms are more attentive to their boys these days than
they used to be. Public News: It seems as if the younger generation likes waxing because it makes them look more mature. Pia: It’s funny that you say that because I was just having this conversation, last week. There are these girls that were standing at the bus stop, but they don’t look like young girls. They look like grown women.
Public News: Is there a minimum age you have to meet before you can be waxed?
Pia: I mean, if their mothers are in the room, we will do six-or-seven-yearold girls eyebrows. I have a 14-year old client, and I have been waxing her for like six years. She’s on the volleyball team, so I do her legs and arms and little mustache. As long as mom is in the room, we’ll do it. Now, if they want a Brazilian mommy has to be in the room. When they turn 18, they can come by themselves.
Public News: The last time we spoke, you were talking about some deal that fell through or that you weren’t going to do.
Pia: We pulled out of the (reality)TV show (based on The Waxing Bar). When we filmed it, it was supposed to be about one thing but it wasn’t. We weren’t supposed to get to see it until it aired but we FaceTimed each other so that everybody could see it and it was the complete opposite of what it was supposed because of the way they edited it down. I never believe those people on TV because they edit it that way, I swear to God they do. One of my clients is married to a doctor and they wanted her to divorce him on the show, and we were like, ‘No, we are not here to break people apart. So, we just didn’t do it because it just wasn’t for us. They never aired it.” Public News: You dropped out of the project mainly out of respect for clients
“One of my clients is married to a doctor and they wanted her to divorce him on the show, and we were like, ‘No, we are not here to break people apart’.”
and their secrets.
Pia: Exactly. First of all, each of our clients volunteered to be open. Well, the crew was not even supposed to be in the (waxing) room. Well, somehow within a few minutes everyone’s like, ‘I don’t care if they’re in the room. It’s this wellknown network that we are contracually unable to name, so they can’t show anything anyways.’ But, there’s still in three camera dudes in the room. It was cool enough that they even let them in. That was their decision. It was not something we asked them to do. That was them. I mean, there were teachers that are swingers that were openly speaking about their lifestyle. They were cool enough to even mention it. However, when they try make a story out of it that’s not fair to that person in their job or their career. Call the network. The network just didn’t care. I worked too hard to get where I am.
The Waxing Bar is located at 26107 I-45 A1 The Woodlands, Texas 77380 and they are open Tuesday through Saturday 9am to 6pm, 3pm on Saturdays. Call (281) 363-5055 to make an appointment. Special thanks to Earl Dittman for transcribing the interview.
CASEY WITT, KATINA ROSIEJKA, PIA LEDBETTER IN FRONT OF DAMIAN ROSIEJKA’S MURAL
PIA LEDBETTER, KATINA ROSIEJKA, CASEY WITT
MICHAEL AND PIA LEDBETTER