Bright pink, leopard prints, and pop music at a nail salon? Meet London, Ontario, Canada’s Posh Pedicure Lounge, where the parties go late and girlfriends bond over pedicure chairs.
“I wanted somewhere you could go with your girlfriends and not have to be quiet,” says Penny Rumming, owner of Posh Pedicure Lounge and Posh in the Port in Ontario, Canada.
If you’ve ever secretly wished you could listen to Top 40 hits instead of soothing spa music while getting a pedicure, Posh Pedicure Lounge is your kind of place.
“I wanted somewhere you could go with your girlfriends and not have to be quiet,” says owner Penny Rumming. “Somewhere where you could have a good time and let loose and chat. Because when we get together with our girlfriends, that’s what we want to do, right?”
Located in London, Ontario, Canada, about halfway between Detroit and Toronto, Posh Pedicure Lounge is known as something of an “anti-spa,” Rumming says. It’s a place for fun, friends, and loud conversations, all while enjoying manis, pedis, or one of Posh’s other services.
Rumming came up with the concept for Posh Pedicure Lounge during a lunch conversation in 2007 while working as the executive personal assistant to the president of a women’s clothing company. She was chatting with a coworker and they noted that London had many high-end salons and many salons offering fast, cheap services, but nothing in between. And, Rumming says, there was a lack of locations that could provide a venue for a girls’ night out.
That’s where Rumming decided she wanted her future salon to come in. She had already been operating small side businesses for much of her life in areas ranging from handbags to floral design, and decided to use her entrepreneurial spirit to open the kind of salon she envisioned. Rumming had no experience in nail care or beauty services, so she signed herself up for what she called “basically an esthetics crash course” to learn how to give manicures and pedicures. Even though she would be the business’s owner, she felt it was crucial to learn how to give the services she would be selling. (The province of Ontario doesn’t have a licensing requirement.) When she noticed a property for rent on a busy road in London, Posh Pedicure Lounge was born.
A seating area at Posh in the Port features a more subdued decor than its sister salon, Posh Pedicure Lounge, while still incorporating signature pink and leopard prints.
A Style All Its Own
One of the first things new customers notice about Posh is its eye-popping decor. Leopard print-upholstered pedicure chairs line bright pink walls and beaded chandeliers light the way to treatment areas, where staff members sport aprons in Posh’s signature leopard and pink. A selection of current radio hits plays over the sound system.
“I think people are just happy when they come in to our salon because it’s so pink and girly and fun. It puts everyone in a good mood,” Rumming says. “We’re known as the pink salon.”
In keeping with Posh’s fun vibe, the salon offers services with names like the Break Up Manicure, which is a gel or acrylic nail removal, and the Biter Babe, a package of six weekly manicures aimed at women who bite their nails.
One of Posh’s most popular offerings is a choice of five distinctly non-traditional party options in its Girls Night Out package — a pole dancing class, palm reading, hairstyling, party makeup application, and reflexology. The salon frequently hosts bridal showers, bachelorette parties, baby showers, and adult birthday parties and will stay open later than usual in the evening for those occasions.
“The way we’re branded definitely sets us apart to our customers,” Rumming says. “They know we’re the fun place to go.”
Posh Pedicure Lounge offers a variety of retail items, which account for about 20% of its sales.
Rumming characterizes the clientele at Posh as largely female, with the average age around 30. But clients range in age from 4 to 70, she says, with a smattering of men coming in for manis and pedis, too. Four is the minimum age for children’s birthday parties, another popular package that includes invitations, cake, a manicure or pedicure, facial, and bubble gum-scented lotion. The girls also get complimentary nail art. And, it’s sometimes the kids who first get mom through the door. Posh offers free hot chocolate buffets in the winter and popsicles and ice cream buffets in the summer and has candy and bubble gum available year-round.
Posh also has what it calls “mom-friendly mornings” every Wednesday, when mothers are welcome to bring little ones in with them without fear of disturbing other clients or having to find a babysitter.
Posh in the Port opened in 2013 and serves many summer tourists.
A Fun Place to Work
Rumming employs five estheticians — trained in skin care, waxing, and nails — at Posh, all of whom are paid an hourly wage, and also sees clients herself.
“I’ve never had any issues with staffing,” she says. “I think it’s because of the type of environment we are. It’s very easy going, and it’s also very fast-paced. The services aren’t quick, but it’s an upbeat, fun place to work. It’s like you’re at a party all day.”
Posh’s most popular services are manicures and pedicures, which run from C$14 (US$13) for a children’s manicure to C$49 (US$45) for a pedicure. Other services include waxing, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, and facials. Retail items available include jewelry, handbags and nail supplies. Rumming estimates retail accounts for about 20% of business, with nail services making up 60% and non-nail treatments another 20%.
Business has gone so well that Rumming opened a sister location to Posh with her mother in 2013. Called Posh in the Port, it’s located in the resort village of Port Stanley, Ontario, and features a more subdued decor and style while still staying true to Posh’s original glitz and glam — its leopard prints are in grey with turquoise accents and just a bit of pink. The more traditional spa feel is tailored to the clientele, which often includes a lot of tourists during the summer months.
Total sales have increased every year since Posh Pedicure Lounge and Posh in the Port have been in business, and Rumming estimates the two locations provide an average of about 150 services per week. Seven years after opening, Posh Pedicure Lounge remains a unique presence in London, Rumming says. The salon has managed to maintain its distinctive branding without direct competition. “So far nobody has tried to jump on the bandwagon,” Rumming says.
For the future, Rumming is aiming to expand Posh’s unique party offerings. She’s currently working on creating a date night couples package that will include appetizers prepared onsite by a chef.
“It’s something different,” she says. “There aren’t a lot of options for that sort of thing in London.”
Clients receive pedicures at Posh Pedicure Lounge. Leopard and pink accents are the salon’s signature decor.
Salons: Posh Pedicure Lounge, Posh in the Port
Locations: London and Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada
Square footage: 1,100 (London); 2,400 (Port Stanley)
Employees: 5 (London); 3 (Port Stanley)
Compensation structure: Hourly wage
Caroline Keyser is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ga.