Co-Founder Andrew Glass Plots Wakse’s Big Retail Push And BeachDays’ Big Launch

Fifteen years ago, Andrew Glass’s beauty industry career started in a kiosk at Eastview Mall near Rochester, N.Y., hawking Proactiv to teenagers crowding the halls. From there, it would wind through distribution (EC Scott Group) and brands (Astral Brands, EvolutionMan Skincare and LaTweez), where he begun to sharpen his own brand concepting skills, beginning with Non Gender Specific, a premium clean, inclusive skincare brand he launched in 2017.

“I had no idea what was going to happen,” recalls Glass. “It was just something I worked on at home at night.”

What happened is that he precipitously launched another brand, Wakse, with co-founder Shayan Sadrolashrafi to transform the hair-removal experience. Currently sold at Ulta Beauty, it’s about to land at Boots and CVS, multiplying its door count 4X to 8,000, and place an exclusive kit at Sam’s Club with its Meltoway hair-dissolving cream. Next year, Wakse is making a broader push into mass-market retail. Glass projects Wakse will reach $9 million in 2024 sales and could nearly double that amount by summer 2025.

Glass’s thirst for brand creation wasn’t sated with Wakse and Non Gender Specific, which is making moves, too, by stretching into haircare. In 2023, he introduced upscale sexual wellness brand Nauox and in the spring of 2025 he anticipates releasing cheerful sunscreen brand BeachDays. Not every brand Glass has unleashed has been a huge hit. Juice-inspired skincare brand Joos and clean fragrance brand Kemestrē have been shelved. That hasn’t dismayed him, though.

“One of Shayan and my strengths is identifying gaps in the market for dead categories that need to be revitalized,” says Glass. “We could have so many more brands than we have right now because our minds just keep going.”

Beauty Independent talked to Glass about bringing Non Gender Specific and Wakse to market, preparing for Wakse’s retail expansion, reacting to consumer caution, blurring distribution channels and the future of his business.

What was the path to launching Wakse?

Shayan was a freelancer at [LaTweez] doing design. We had both gotten hair removal services done, and it just so happened that the day after we were working together and started talking about how awful it was. That conversation led to us doing research online of the category and realizing that there was no innovation. It built from there.

How did you view the category of waxing products?

We saw it as a dated category. It was the same brands that have been around for decades. The products weren’t aesthetically pleasing, and they smelled bad. That got us thinking about creating a brand that was built upon being visually striking and having a sensorial aspect to the experience, something that looked good and smelled good.

We wanted to try to create products that people wanted to post about. Before, there was a stigma associated with hair removal. It was something people wanted to hide and not talk about. That was the whole concept for the brand.

Most waxes are very cloudy and creamy, and we developed a custom formula that was crystal clear. That way, when we put our pigment into it, the pigments all showed true to color and were super vibrant.

We knew we wanted to launch with rose gold, gold and silver based on jewelry. Then, we had to find a U.S.-based fragrance house that shipped all the scent to be incorporated into the wax. With scent, it’s easier to create an emotional connection to a product.

How much did it cost you to bring Waske to market versus Non Gender Specific?

We had to be really careful with Non Gender. We started with one product called Everything Serum. That’s the only product we had in our first year. I took it step by step. I built a website and paid a few hundred dollars to have a bottle sample made so that I could photos done. I had a friend who was a photographer, and that way I could at least get a brand deck built and start presenting it to people.

My idea was to present a product that didn’t technically exist besides a couple samples, and that way I could get pre-orders. I used the money from the pre-orders to fund production. I really didn’t have a lot of personal money to put into the brand. I just had an idea that I was passionate about.

With Wakse, it was the same thing. I think we invested $5,000. It was all Shayan and I could afford. What we ended up doing was getting empty jars shipped to my house and bulk wax, and we literally hand filled probably 15,000 jars in my kitchen. We didn’t want an investor. We didn’t want to get a loan. We didn’t want any of the stress that came with that. If we couldn’t do it on our own, we weren’t going to do it.

Wakse got into Ulta within a year of its launch. How did you finance the rollout?

We factored our first order. I knew a factoring agency [Riviera Finance] who funded the PO and then took a percentage off of the invoice. That was our way of being able to fund a big purchase order without having to get a loan. After that, we’ve been able to do it ourself.

It was the right move. We’ve been approached by a lot of investors. We just don’t want that additional person to answer to because they come with their own set of goals that may not align with what we are doing. For us, it was a stress-free way to get into mass distribution.

How do you help Wakse thrive at retail?

It’s totally different now than it was back then. Back then, we were the new bright and shiny brand, and we were creating product that nobody had ever seen before.

A year or two down the road, a lot of copycats started coming out trying to replicate what we were doing. For us, it’s really staying ahead of the curve. We develop innovation about three to four years in advance to stay ahead of the competition. With more brands now than ever, I think that’s what you have to do to stay different.

Do you have sales support going into the stores?

We don’t, but we dedicate a lot of our social—about 30%—to them. We have an amazing social media manager who’s constantly building influencer relationships. We do a lot of support that way, and we have a number of exclusives at Ulta that will never be available to any other retailer.

How many products does Wakse have now?

We have about 15 SKUs, and we’re constantly trying to improve. For example, we had a product called the Melting Pot, which we still have, which is a microwaveable option to melt the wax, but a year and a half ago, we launched the Melting Pot Electric, which was an evolution. It had the same features that people love from the original, but it’s a plug-in, so it’s a lot easier to use, and it keeps the wax melted for as long if you want. It’s a better experience.

We just launched a hair removal cream collection. This is the first time that we’re expanding outside of wax for a hair removal method. That launched in March at Ulta nationwide nationwide, and it’s called Meltoway. All of our creams are scented, and they’re also colored, so they’ll come out like a vibrant purple or an orange or a pink. We ended up selling out within the first three days of launching at Ulta because we had a video go viral on launch day.

Our main goal for Wakse is not to only be the best wax brand available, but to be the authority on hair removal in general. So, we’re expanding into other hair removal methods.

How do you expand distribution and product selection?

We want to diversify our retail footprint. We have the U.K. launch with Boots coming up. We’re launching dot-com in July and in stores in September. We have a 6,000-store CVS launch coming up on July 18. We have a Sam’s Club custom kit coming out on July 12 nationwide. We have retail launches in the spring.

We’re working on a peach fuzz collection. This is really based on customers requesting something for the face that isn’t painful. We are actually developing the world’s first hair removal clay mask. You would apply the product like you would any other mask. As it’s detoxing the skin, it’s also dissolving all the fine peach fuzz all over your face.

Sold at Ulta Beauty, modern hair removal brand Wakse is entering CVS and Boots. This year, it’s on track to reach $9 million in sales, and it could nearly double that amount by the summer of next year.

You’re expecting a lot of sales growth coming up as Wakse expands its retail footprint. How do you prepare for that growth?

Oh man, it’s hard. I mean, we are such a tiny brand. We work closely with our manufacturers. We have the same manufacturer we’ve had since the beginning. We typically don’t change up our manufacturing a lot. We try to build a really good relationship. So, we’ve been able to negotiate some pretty decent pricing that’s really profitable for us.

What does your team look like?

We have me and Shayan, and we have a COO named Chloe [Lamb]. We have a social media manager, we have warehouse staff, and that is it. We all wear a million different hats. Account management, sales, social media innovation, we’re all doing it all.

We own Nauox, and we have BeachDays, which is a sensorial sun protection brand, coming out. We’re launching seven SPF 40 products, and they’re named each day of the week. We think it’s going to be even bigger than Wakse. We are in the process of landing major retail for it for the spring.

The branding is very playful. Our whole concept is, instead of having your SPF product be another step in your skincare routine, we wanted it to be a moment where you could feel like you were at the beach at your own home, making every single day feel like a beach day. All the formulas are colored. We have a product that’s cotton candy scented. It’s different than anything that’s available.

How much of Wakse’s business is direct-to-consumer?

Forty-five percent of our revenue. We go viral on a regular basis, and that’s really helped us build that business. The sensorial aspect of the brand is visual, but it’s also an immediate gratification-type product. The hair is there, and then it’s gone. You don’t have to wait for a result. That makes for a really striking video. It’s that instant gratification that helps make the videos go viral.

We have zero advertising budget. Everything we have done has been organic. We do have affiliates that we work with. We use Peach’s. We tried ShareASale, and that didn’t work for us. We were getting a lot of discount websites trying to sign up for affiliate links, but Peach’s is driven toward influencers, and we love it. It’s 15% off. If there’s an affiliate link, their followers get 60% off the purchase order, and we see a lot of success with them.

Do your brands have demographic overlap?

Wakse has its own demographic. It’s primarily female. Age wise, it’s wide. We are developing a couple men’s products, which will be coming out next year, called Meltoway Men because the grooming category I feel is starting to boom again.

With Non Gender, it’s a little more of, I wouldn’t say an elevated customer, but somebody who’s focused more on skincare versus beauty overall, if that makes sense. It’s 60% female, 40% male. We’ve always maintained a good amount of male customers buying the products.

When you started Non Gender Specific, it was a very different time. People aren’t touting their brands as crossing gender barriers as much now as they were then. What do you think of that?

I totally agree. I don’t think it’s talked about much anymore, but we’ve been fairly quiet through the years with Non Gender Specific. I never wanted to be known as the brand for nonbinary people or just gender-fluid people. I really want to be known as the brand for all humans. We have to be so careful, even advertising things for Pride. I know it sounds stupid, but we can easily be put into a very small market versus a market for literally everybody.

It’s always been ingredient focused. We work hard on creating formulas that have amazing ingredients, and then all of the visuals are ingredient focused. Even the models are typically covered in flowers. I want to create a brand that’s timeless, and I feel like a lot of the brands that focused so heavily on being gender fluid didn’t make it because that was a moment in time. We don’t want to be the gender-fluid brand, we just want to be an amazing skincare brand.

Are there any emerging channels that you believe have more potential?

I feel like Sam’s Club and Costco are not really spoken about, but we have had nothing but an amazing experience [with Sam’s Club]. We see so many high-end brands in these types of retailers now. It’s a new avenue for us, but I think it’s something that more brands should explore because the margins are typically really good. The volume is high, and you’re not discounting a regular product. You create a custom kit that would only be found in a Sam’s Club or Costco.

Last year, we did a waxing kit, and it came with everything you would need to do hair removal. It came with two jars of wax, the Melting Pot and applicator. We typically do something that would be a $74 or $75 value for $39.99 retail. It’s no different from a holiday kit that would have a value that you are retailing at and a discount price.

This type of retail distribution is a totally different experience. You have to be financially prepared for it because the volume is so big. There’s a lot of logistics involved, not just creating the product, but you typically have to create a custom branded tray that the products fit in. It’s a lot of details, but for us it’s been really good.

Clean, inclusive skincare brand Non Gender Specific is expanding into haircare with formulas rich in botanicals designed to repair and strengthen the hair from scalp to strand.

Earlier this year, Ulta CEO Dave Kimbell said beauty’s growth was moderating amid consumer caution. Do you detect consumer caution?

There is more consumer caution, but we’ve always been median price point. It’s not like people are investing a lot to buy our products. The alternative, at least for hair removal, is services, which are more expensive. We haven’t seen that much of a difference.

It helps shape what we plan for innovation-wise, especially for Non Gender. Because we have such strict ingredient protocols, it is very easy to create a formula that’s really expensive, and I do have to be cautious about that. We try not to do anything that would be over $90.

What role does Amazon play for your brands?

Almost nothing. Non Gender is not on Amazon. Wakse is on Amazon. We manage it, but it’s never been a big focus for us. We’ve tried working with a couple agencies who promised massive growth in a very short amount of time, and there’s never been any result. We’re so busy in our other channels, we haven’t just had the time to dedicate to it.

But lines have blurred with distribution channels. Three years ago, we probably would’ve said no to some mass retailers. Now, a lot of retailers carry the same brands. It’s not like, if you are at an Ulta, you can’t be in CVS, for example. And, based on the economy, you have to diversify your revenue streams in order to make it.

What are your plans for the future?

We do have plans eventually to sell. It’s just getting so big, so fast, and we’re such a small team that finding somebody who can help propel us forward will be important at some point, and I feel like that time is approaching.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.