There are a list of dreaded moments that parents have to deal with, and having lice is up there as one of the most annoying. I can clearly remember the call I received from our school when my then eight-year-old came home with a head full of live nits. After that shocking discovery, I spent the next few days with a lice comb and a whole of slew of creams—only to get lice myself, followed by my two other children!
After that intense time, I vowed I would only go to expert if they ever came back, and thankfully just discovered LiceOut911, a lice treatment lounge in Bedford Hills created by JIll Bazos. During a recent conversation with Jill, I was blown-away by her dedication and knowledge of lice (guess what? you don’t need lice creams), her passion for helping parents and kids during this time and her certifications that offers something different from what’s out there. And while we are in pandemic, it’s important to note that lice is still here and now with the reopening of camps and schools, there is no doubt it will continue to plague us and our kids.
Read on to check out more LiceOut911, including a discount code that you can use should lice ever strike your household.
Interview with Jill Bazos of LiceOut911
How did the idea for LiceOut911 come about?
Jill Bazos: Surprisingly, I didn’t grow up aspiring to be a lice expert. I am a Marketing Consultant in the Children’s Products and Entertainment businesses, predominately Toys and Games but other areas as I broaden my portfolio. I became intrigued by the science of lice while working with one of my clients on their well-known lice products business. I thought there must be a way to change how the world approaches head lice in order to dispel the “ick” factor and properly educate everyone. Since I study “fun” for a living, I worked to create a place-based concept that combines “fun” with lice education and removal. I know it seems crazy but it works.
How have you been reaching out to the community to get the word out about your business? What areas do you service?
Jill Bazos: It’s a wonky business when it comes to marketing because people really don’t want to know about lice until they need our services. So, traditional advertising techniques don’t really work. We try to get into our clients, heads and think as they would upon discovering lice. That means panic first and then Google search, pediatrician, trusted media resource lists, social media and most importantly, call a friend (aka word of mouth.) I would say 50% of our business comes from personal referrals.
We really service anyone who wants to take the trip to see us. We know that most parents want convenience and until they come to us, they see all lice services as equal, so we focus most of our attention within a 20-30 mile radius of the lounge. However, we have some clients from much further who wouldn’t go anywhere else.
What can customers expect when they come to your lice treatment center?
Jill Bazos: They can expect to experience something they totally didn’t expect! First off, the look of our lounge is beyond expectations. It’s beautiful, immaculate and looks really fun and relaxing. They take a seat and we start off by checking the client’s hair to confirm that they do, in fact, have lice. So often, lice are misdiagnosed. If deemed positive, we show the caregiver what we see and explain what it is. Then, we explain the treatment and science behind our method. While we teach, kids engage in arts and crafts projects, learn about lice, see what it looks like under a microscope or watch movies and eat popcorn while they are being treated. Every kid is different. Some want to know everything about it and some want to tune out. Parents are the same, actually. All of this happens while we treat the client. Most clients don’t want to leave. I had one boy ask me last week if there was any way he could have his birthday party here. It’s times like that when I know I am doing something right.
Lice is a dreaded word for parents! How do you help ease their minds (and their kids) when they come to you.
Jill Bazos: Like anything else, the more you know about lice, the more comfortable you become. Every parent freaks out because they feel they have no control over it. When we have an uptight parent, we immediately calm them by explaining what lice are not. Lice are not a health concern. Lice are not bed bugs. Lice are not all over your house. Once we get these notions out, parents are in a better emotional state to talk. The more time they spend with us, the more they understand head lice and know that they made the right choice by coming to a trained expert. When they leave, they actually feel like an expert themselves. As for kids freaking out, they typically don’t. They take cues from their parents. If parents are calm, kids just enjoy the experience.
What are some common misconceptions about lice?
Jill Bazos: We actually call them “mythconceptions” about lice and there are lots. The misinformation and long standing myths are astounding and we hear them every day. The top 10 are typically the following:
Myth 1) You can get lice from airplanes, movie theaters and amusement parks.
Myth 2) Lice can live off of a human head
Myth 3) Lice can jump or fly from person to person
Myth 4) Lice can be killed using over-the-counter pesticide treatments
Myth 5) Nits without live lice bugs and are not a worry
Myth 6) If you do not itch, you do not have lice
Myth 7) Lice are a result of poor hygiene
Myth 8) Condiments like mayonnaise, vinegar and olive oil kill lice
Myth 9) Items that have come in contact with someone that has lice must be bagged for 1 week
Myth 10) Pets can get lice
A short search of the Internet will reveal these and many more falsities. Like anything, when people fear something, they make up facts to make them feel better. However, we have learned so much about lice in the past 10 years and now know these myths to be absolutely untrue.
How is LiceOut 911 different from what’s out there?
Jill Bazos: In addition to our unique environment and objective of making lice removal a fun and relaxing experience, we are trained and certified by The Shepherd Institute. Once I decided to enter the lice world, I knew I had to seek out the most knowledgeable person in the business to gain the education to truly call myself an “expert.” I found Katie Shepherd of The Shepherd Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Katie is the foremost expert in lice education, treatment and research in the world. So, with a week-long program of intensive training, and ongoing communication, from Katie and her research team, I feel that I am equipped with the most up to the minute information on effective technique, product and learning about head lice. In addition, we truly are about education. We offer free educational sessions for PTAs, school nurses and doctor’s offices. We travel around the world eradicating head lice and educating caregivers on how to remove and avoid it. In fact, I recently returned from an orphanage in Mexico where we did just that. They have been struggling for years with products and contraptions to no avail. I am happy to say, weeks later, they remain lice free!
Tell us more about the Shepherd Method.
Jill Bazos: The Shepherd Method is a time-tested technique that applies a methodical approach to combing out lice and their eggs (nits). There are no products on the market that will completely kill lice and their eggs so combing with the right comb is the only answer. Combing is easy. However, the hard part is knowing when you are done and when you have removed it all. The Shepherd Method of strand-by-strand combing provides a map and sequence to the combing to ensure we have covered every inch and hair on the scalp. This process, combined with the most effective product aid and our detailed knowledge of the life cycle of the bug, ensures we know when we have completely cleared a head.
Tell us about your facility.
Jill Bazos: LiceOut911 is a beautiful space that is upscale, clean, relaxing and fun. It looks more like a decorated living room with secret touches like a large popcorn machine, lots of art materials and of course, many iPads® fully loaded with apps and movies. There are amazing pictures on the walls drawn and colored by our clients. And snacks! We always try to have unique, “healthy” snacks! We’ve had some large group head checks that are catered parties and we’ve even hosted a couple of moms’ nights out and mother-daughter get-togethers for pre camp head checks. It’s always a party at LiceOut911!
What are some of your favorite things to do when you aren’t helping parents deal with lice.
Jill Bazos: I am a bit of a workaholic so when I am not helping parents deal with lice, I am thinking of ways to find parents that I can help deal with lice. In addition, I continue to consult in the Toy and Games businesses. But aside from work, my family time is extremely precious to me. As each of my three daughters are in the last stages of childhood, my husband and I spend our time with them sharing in their individual interests which include, working out, playing softball, seeing shows, listening to music or just hanging out. Quite honestly, I could just stare at them and be content although they don’t stay still very long. The funny thing is that wherever we go, when someone learns what I do for a living, they want to talk about lice. Everyone has a lice horror story they want to share. It drives my family crazy. I find it hilarious.
Anything else to add?
Jill Bazos: I still have a long way to go to grow LiceOut911 to its capacity. I have many ideas to expand the business in unique ways. Franchising tends to be the typical way lice treatment centers look to grow. Liceout911 is not your typical treatment center and it will grow in an atypical but creative and very helpful way. I am working on several different entities to the business. For example, LiceOut360 organizes groups of trained lice specialists to travel to orphanages and institutions, around the country and world, treating and training in head lice. LiceOut24/7 is a line (in development) of scented hair accessories that help repel lice. The products will be carried by participating lice removal salons.
We may never fully eradicate lice. It has been here since ancient man. It outsmarts us at every turn. However, if everyone understood exactly what it is, what it isn’t and how to remove it, we could go a long way to minimizing the burden it puts on us. I hope to be an integral part of the movement to get rid of this pesky parasite here in Westchester County and around the world!
Lice Removal Treatment Lounge
573 Bedford Road – 2nd Fl, Bedford Hills, NY 10507
E: [email protected]
Mention this interview and $10 off a comb out and $20 off a lice treatment