BodyFactory’s Founder Talks Entrepreneurship And Beauty In The Men’s Space
Presently at the forefront of the establishment’s success is, Eugene Kagansky.
BodyFactory is a young beauty brand known for its quick success in New York City - since 2014. Originally launching as a cosmetics brand, the New York founded brand has arced and extended itself in such a short amount of time transitioning into body and wellness treatments.
Presently at the forefront of the establishment’s success is Eugene Kagansky, the brand’s founder. Prior to the success of BodyFactory, Kagansky had also heavily contributed to the pioneering of niche coffee shops in New York City in the early 2000’s, successfully running two shops on the lower east side, and in Midtown Manhattan.
A few weeks ago, we met with Kagansky at his luxury midtown apartment to get the full story on his early beginnings and the inner workings that has allowed him to be a true entrepreneur in his own right.
We spent close to an hour talking New York City in the early 2000’s, botox, men’s beauty in modern day culture, work-life balance, and of course, Body Factory.
On Moving to New York:
I was born in Russia and then my family moved to Israel where we lived for about 10 years. In the beginning of 2000 at 17 years old, I moved to New York City with no money. Really had $500 to my name but I really wanted to live here. I moved alone because I felt like Israel was a bit too small for me and I was always dreaming of being in a big city like New York.
I lived in Brooklyn with all the Russians in Brighton Beach, working every single job possible. From selling Shawarma to working in a sex shop selling different things [laughs]. I was just trying to make it. I didn’t speak English very well at the time so I had to learn in time. Eventually, I did and I handled my immigration situation as well. After that, I started understanding more of what I wanted to do and who I was.
On the project that began his career as an entrepreneur:
It was a bit later. I already spoke english, and I knew that I had a creative mind. I knew I wanted to do some visual work, merchandising maybe but specifically, helping companies in fashion.
Then, I met a guy who was Italian and one time, he took me to a really cool coffee shop. He asked, “How do you like it?” and I said I really liked the idea of the experience. All of a sudden, I wanted to open a coffee shop. It was going to cost me a lot of money so I really developed my credit. I was just going to borrow some money from the bank, go to the lower east side, and open a coffee shop.
The thing is, back in the day before the economic crash, you could ask the bank to loan you as much as $50,000. If you had very high credit, you could get it. I took the money, went to the lower east side, and found a cute space that was 500 square feet, on Stanton Street and Ludlow in 2007. I opened the coffee shop I decided to call Despresso.
On how the economy Crash Affected Business Growth:
Everything crashed. I was like what am I going to do? I have things to do. I fired everyone, worked 14 hours a day, 7 days a week making it happen alone. It did become really successful, and later, I had a guy come to me saying he liked my idea and wanted to open coffee shops together and I grabbed the opportunity. The idea of coffee shops was new. There was no Blue Bottle, no Blue Stone Lane.
I had a dream to open a coffee shop on Madison and 42nd street. It was a really busy area near Bryant Park which was a huge fashion area at the time and I wanted to open a hip, cool, coffee shop. I found a 1000 square ft space, and I had been inspired by the New York Public Library to do a library design layout for the shop.
We opened, and we got so much press. Every single magazine was writing about us and the business did very well.
On the birth of BodyFactory:
My sister used to have a hair removal place in Brooklyn where she would do laser hair removal. She moved to New York, brought my mom here, and she opened a business in Brooklyn. Nothing fancy!
I felt we could do something bigger and she said she wanted to open something in Manhattan! I had money from the coffee shop business, and I suggested we start something together with it. I would take care of all the designing aspects of the business and she would handle the finances, licensing etc.
I used to get botox back when I was very young. I love botox. I used to go to a plastic surgeon who was on the upper east side, and shop around for pricing and it was just so expensive. What I did like about the idea is that in fifteen mins, even with laser hair removal, you can make $150 - $200. It is a great business idea. I said to my sister, “you’re doing so good at what you’re doing, you’re working with your Russian customers in Brooklyn and they love it, let’s do a concept store”. Let’s take something medical and serious and make it something less medical and serious.
In 2014, we opened the first location of BodyFactory we were the first ones to introduce Botox by the lowest price. We lowered all our treatments by 50% of where you could go anywhere in the city. It was a huge success. We were booked 4 weeks in advance, 5 weeks in advance. It was me, my sister and very few employees. Medical directors, skin therapists etc. It was very small.
We are self funded. We have the money, we are building ourselves. Self made. Step by step process.
On the day to day tasks his role requires:
I consider myself to be the creative person behind the brand. I’m always full of ideas. I wake up, check emails, make sure everything is going okay, I get to the office around 11 or 12 o clock and I work on a range of things.
I work on coming up with the treatments we offer, marketing strategy, price adjustments, hiring, product tracking, campaign development and more.
On educating men about being more open to the beauty space:
Opening a location in Hell’s Kitchen here in New York showed me how much men care about this industry. Looking good, and feeling fresh. We are all about educating people that it’s okay and normal to do a bit of filler, botox. It’s just a little enhancement. It’s maintenance to the skin and it’s normal. I’m passionate about helping people figure out why they’re using certain products. We educate people on how to use every single product in our facility and what happens afterwards.
On work-life balance:
I definitely have a work-life balance but I didn't get there overnight. It took me years to comprehend the importance of leaving work behind and taking time for myself. Now, when I get overwhelmed with a situation at work, I go for a walk outside to clear my mind. I also ensure to incorporate meditation and deep breathing into my week so work doesn't consume me.