Managing Editor Sree Roy heads to Chicago to check out Nailcessity in the heart of the big city.
Manicures and fingernail enhancements are efficiently completed at this nail bar.
Nailcessity finds a wonderful balance between pampering and efficiency, making it the ideal haven for time-starved office workers in The Chicago Loop. Housed on the main level of Two Prudential Plaza, the weekday-only salon offers manicures, pedicures, nail art, nail enhancements, waxing, lash tinting, and lash extensions to clients within the skyscraper and from surrounding buildings.
Camera-shy nail tech Hoi Keosaeng did a great job with my pedicure, which I show off while relaxing on the pedicure banquette.
As someone who is intimately familiar with the challenges of designing for small spaces (I live in a studio apartment), I was immediately impressed by the salon’s clever use of its 500-sq.-ft. space. Upon entering, a nail bar, which seats up to five clients at time, greets guests with a serene feel. All of the nail tools, like electric files, are strategically hidden in drawers on the nail techs’ side of the bar, while the clients’ side features fresh towels and, during my visit, fresh flowers. Against the opposite wall, a separate drying area helps alleviate the crowd at the bar (especially important during the noon to 2 p.m. lunch rush). And in the back, a shared pedicure banquette with built-in basins features lavender and green pillows, which add a dose of color to the otherwise neutral space. Several retail displays, plus the polish and nail art choices, are flush against the walls to save space.
Cyndi Van (left) manages the salon while dad Lang Van is the owner.
“Time is very valuable here,” says manager Cyndi Van, daughter of salon owner Lang Van. “Our clients love the pampering, but if it can be done in less time, they appreciate that.” To that end, the salon offers three levels of manicures, three levels of pedicures, plus add-ons like Entity Nanovive treatment for hands or feet and callus eliminating treatment for feet. Plus, it offers mani and pedi combos that can be done at the same time.
Owner Lang, who’s a nail tech as well, is proud of Cyndi for researching new products and bringing them into the salon. “She goes to all the trade shows,” he says. Based on her research, the salon added “no-chip manicures” (soak-off gels) a year ago and Minx nail coatings five months ago. After my service, Cyndi and I shared a cab to America’s Beauty Show, where she planned to browse the first day and buy the second day.
Magazine racks and a great view of the one of th salon's two flatscreens let clients waiting at the drying station stay entertained as the nail tech moves on to the next client.
A fun aspect of the salon are the two flatscreens that play light-hearted movies (mostly chick flicks) throughout the day. “The clients love it. It’s an escape,” Cyndi says. The movies run an average of about two weeks each, with the constant supply arriving via Netflix. A Yelp.com reviewer even admits that she “pretended [her] nails still needed drying so [she] could watch the rest of the movie.” The salon also hosts “Desperate Housewives” marathons.
Per client requests, the salon had its exterior doors shaded -- so no clients have their pampering interrupted by a boss who happens to walk by.
With all of these options, Nailcessity makes nails an attainable and convenient necessity to even the most harried of clients and is a great example of finding a salon niche in a big city environment.