Eyebrow-threading business Ziba Beauty in Artesia is looking to defuzz the nation with its ancient Middle Eastern hair-removal technique.

The company, founded by Indian beauty expert Sumita Batra in 1988, is gearing up to begin an aggressive franchising campaign by the end of the summer. The goal is to expand from 16 to 501 locations around the world by 2021.

Aaron Quah, vice president of franchising for Ziba, said the company will start by opening a dozen or so locations in the next year, then expand efforts in the following years.

“There will be an initial infancy stage, then we’ll ramp up,” he said. “Ideally, the first 12 to 15 will be here on the West Coast, so it’ll be easier to work with the franchisees to make sure they’re successful.”

The company already has four franchised locations owned by close family and friends.

“It was basically a test model for us to get our feet wet when it comes to franchising,” he said. “We have seen the success of those businesses, so as a company have decided that this is the route we want to pursue our growth.”

Ziba locations charge $12 for an eyebrow-threading treatment, which the company promotes as faster and less painful than waxing or tweezing. Waxing typically costs twice that much. At Stark Waxing Studio locations in Los Angeles, for example, an eyebrow wax costs between $25 and $35.

Driving Tourism Dollars

The city of Santa Monica has teamed up with various area retail and tourism organizations to designate a tour bus drop-off zone in the heart of shopping-heavy downtown.

The drop-off zone, unveiled last week, is on Broadway Street where the Third Street Promenade meets Santa Monica Place, between Second and Fourth streets.

Though there were already nine tour bus drop-off zones scattered throughout Santa Monica, the latest addition will bring tourists closer to the most shops.

Julia Ladd, senior property manager at Santa Monica Place, said the new stop will mean more customers for the neighborhood’s retailers.

“Broadway is the most accessible stop in the city of Santa Monica for visitors interested in shopping, dining and entertainment,” she said.

Tourism dollars are a significant portion of retail spending in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that $1.4 billion is generated by tourism each year, supporting more than 11,400 jobs.

The city offers the stops as a courtesy to tour bus companies in order to make it easier for them to bring more visitors to the neighborhoods.

About 20 tour bus companies have permits for the program that allow them to use off-site parking while waiting for tourists. Other tour bus companies can use the program’s loading and unloading zones without permits.

Revolving Doors

Restaurateur Steven Arroyo opened Mexican restaurant La Otra Taqueria Escuela on Beverly Boulevard on June 22. The restaurant is an offshoot of one he already owns around the corner on Stanley Avenue, Escuela, and replaces another, Cobras & Matadors, which Arroyo closed in February. It’s next door to a third restaurant Arroyo owns on the corner, a sandwich shop called Potato Chips that opened in 2009. … Hospitality company SBE Entertainment Group opened dance club Blok last week on Schrader Boulevard in Hollywood. … New York candy shop Dylan’s Candy Bar will open its first West Coast store in Los Angeles this fall at the Original Farmers Market. The 2,500-square-foot sweets shop will offer over 7,000 types of candy. … Husband and wife culinary duo Karen and Quinn Hatfield, of Hatfield’s restaurant on Melrose Avenue, opened Sycamore Kitchen last week. The breakfast and lunch place, at 143 S. La Brea Ave., will add a brunch menu in July. … L.A. music producer Cisco Adler, who owns the BananaBeat music and accessories brand, teamed up with Chicago boutique Sofia to open a pop-up shop for the summer at the Malibu Country Mart. The shop, Sofia BananaBeat Boutique, will carry beach-inspired merchandise and apparel. Its official opening party is set for July 7. … Santa Monica’s English pub Ye Old King’s Head in June opened a second outpost on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. … Chef Ari Taymor opened Alma Restaurant last week on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant is a permanent location for what used to be a pop-up shop first in Venice, then in Silver Lake. … Personal styling boutique Stylehaus moved from its Melrose Place storefront to one on Melrose Avenue last week. It took over the 1,750-square-foot former space of Arcade Boutique, which owner Rochelle Gores shuttered at the end of May. Gores went to work for her father, Alec Gores, at his private-equity firm, Gores Group. … L.A. online lifestyle brand Poketo opened a brick-and-mortar store in the downtown L.A. Arts District on June 23. The boutique sells mostly housewares, books, accessories and art items, but also has some clothing available. … Chef Owen Timoteo opened lunch spot Kitchen Faire in downtown Los Angeles in June. The eatery, at 512 W. Sixth St., serves sandwiches, salads and wraps.

Staff reporter Bethany Firnhaber can be reached at firnhaber@labusinessjournal.com or (323)549-5225, ext. 235.

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