Beauty File: In conversation with Claire Weathers, general manager at OFF & ON
As part of ProCollective’s Beauty File series, we shine a spotlight on the people behind-the-scenes. From those at the forefront of innovation to savvy beauty entrepreneurs, we speak to experts to learn how they got their start, what their day-to-day involves, and their predictions for what’s next in their field.
Ahead, we speak with Claire Weathers, general manager at OFF & ON. At the helm of New Zealand’s largest and leading waxing and laser hair removal salon, no day is the same for Claire. Below, she takes us through her career journey, the current brow trends, and forecast for the future of beauty tech.
ProCollective (PC): Firstly, talk us through your career journey to date. Have you always been passionate about beauty?
Claire: I am fast approaching my 24th year in the beauty industry and I am still as passionate and excited today as the 16-year-old ‘me’ on my first day at Beauty College. After completing a two-year Beauty Therapy qualification in the UK there was no turning back. How ‘beauty’ can change the way a person feels about themselves struck me deeply very early on. My career has progressed from general beauty roles into store management, training and development, operations to now general manager
PC: As general manager at OFF & ON, what does a typical day for you entail?
Claire: It’s a very varied role, with no two days or weeks the same, requiring me to wear a lot of different hats, which I love.
My day always starts with the normal ‘mum of two’ tasks, wrangling breakfast, and school drop off’s etc., followed by (at this stage, a much needed) large flat white on the way to the office.
Once in the office I’ll start my day by organising my inbox, checking for any issues that need my urgent attention. Following that I note down any priorities that I would like to complete (I couldn’t live without my Trello board!)
The beginning of the week consists of meetings with my lead team, which includes Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations and National trainers. Together, we talk over business results and discuss any projects and initiatives, ensuring we are aligned and motivated to act in our roles for the week ahead.
PC: What aspect of your job are you most passionate about?
Claire: People. They are the most valuable asset to any business in my opinion. Company culture and connecting with customers through exceptional customer experience is always at the forefront of my thinking.
PC: Throughout your career at OFF & ON, if you had to pick, what would be your proudest moment to date?
Claire: I can’t pick… I am proud of the whole OFF & ON journey. It has been rewarding to be part of a company that started from nothing, working together with great leaders we’ve created a brand that has a point of difference in a fragmented market. Growing from one to six stores nationally, 45+ employees and over 45,000 customers.
PC: When Off & On first launched it was a pioneer in the field of brows and waxing. Since then, these services have become far more accessible. How has Off & On kept up with increasing competition? What sets the Off & On experience and service apart?
Claire: The driving force behind OFF & ON has always been if you are not moving forwards, you are moving backwards – we are a company built on innovation. OFF & ON dares to be different and pushes the old norms of the beauty industry, bucking the industry penchant for Fru-Fru, Enya, and stock images. Rather than spreading far and wide we focus on specialisation and honing our craft, delivering a premium customer experience and service through our team of experts.
PC: You’ve been with Off & On for a long time. Reflecting on your career, what are some of the key changes you’ve noticed in the field since starting out?
Claire: Yes, coming up 14 years! The biggest change (and good change) I have seen would be that customers are more aware of what they want and what is available. With the rise of digital marketing over the last decade, customers expect more personalised experiences and customised results, which is something that’s always been a key focus at OFF & ON.
Life also seems to be getting faster. People are looking for fast, yet real results. For example, clients are opting for laser hair removal over waxing due to the permanent hair reduction results seen with this treatment, as well as long term cost and time savings. Semi-permanent make-up services like microblading, Powder Brows and Lip Blush continue to grow year on year, it’s a morning routine game-changer!
PC: How about now – any trends you’re currently observing?
Claire: In the world of brows, full and natural are still the desired outcome for most. Brow lamination, which can create both a ‘fluffy’ look or equally if you have unruly brows create more structure, is a very popular service at OFF & ON.
In terms of trends, bleached/lightened brows are starting to make a comeback thanks to TikTok. They can add a softer appearance to the face. This is achieved by bleaching to lighten by a shade or two, or using a lighter tinted brow gel.
PC: With ever-evolving technological advancement and new treatments coming to market, it’s an exciting time to be working in the beauty industry. For Off & On, with six locations across New Zealand, how do you go about selecting what treatments to offer and brands to align with?
Claire:Never ones to follow trends (they never last very long), we simply focus on what’s next for our customers in terms of ‘essential beauty maintenance’ within our areas of specialisation. We also ask… both our team and customers. After 15 years, we have very loyal customers so ‘listening’ is paramount. In terms of what we look for in a brand… uniqueness, individuality, and inclusiveness.
PC: One of the devices Off & On uses is the Candela GentleMax Pro system. Can you tell us a bit about how you use this and what attracted you to it over other systems on the market?
Claire: When we decided to move into laser hair removal in 2015, we did extensive due diligence. The Candela Gentle Max Pro system came out on top for our needs – it’s what we refer to as the ‘McDaddy’ of laser machines. This dual platform machine allows us to treat all skin types safely, delivering a comfortable experience and successful results. The support from Candela, which includes machine servicing through to quality training, was also part of the attraction.
PC: Looking ahead to the next few years, what are your predictions for the future of beauty?
Claire: I think in terms of ‘beauty looks’ we’re moving globally towards a more natural look and feel – it’s about investment without looking like you’ve invested. People want others to notice, but not to know. As for technology, we should expect to see more advancements in ‘Beauty Tech’ (the intersection of artificial intelligence and the beauty industry), which makes me both excited and slightly nervous at the same time!