Kara Nail Bar

NAILS' art director Danielle Parisi visits Kara Nail Bar in Los Angeles. 

No more waiting in misery. Salon owner Shirley Kim really knows how to take care of her customers. From plush leather couches and chairs to chai tea and mocha lattes, you get it all at Kara nail Bar. Open for only four months, this jewel of a nail shop stands out from the crowd. Located in a groovy part of Los Angeles - off of trendy shopping mecca Melrose Avenue -- what could be better than a nail spa where you can take a load off your tired feet and take a break from all that shopping? Not only does she offer pedicures and manicures for a great price, she also offers many other services - from one-hour massage to body waxing. In a town where there is a nail shop in nearly every strip mall, all these extras are important to getting and keeping customers.

Kim had only gotten her nails done twice in her life before deciding to open up her shop. After getting her nails done in a “cheesy, cheap salon” where she was treated like a part on a factory line, she realized she could run a successful salon. And she knew if it was done right it could be very profitable. A cozy atmosphere, great customer service and treating your clients with care were needed in this industry where nail salons seem to come a dime a dozen. Realizing what she had to do accomplish her goal was easy after that end everything fell into place.

With her extensive background in marketing (she helped open up everything from Cinnabon stores to launching vacuum cleaners), Kim was able to take all of her knowledge and open up a classy and stylish salon of her own.

Going to nail school was the first step she needed to achieve her goal. It was also a great place for her to network. Then she began looking for a space with a great location and big windows in the front of the store. She knew if she could have beautiful window displays to showcase products and capture the style of the salon it would help lure people in. She also wanted to create a salon that everyone could afford - where clients could come on a regular basis, not just for special occasions.

After being featured on Daily Candy LA (a daily e-mail service listing the latest and greatest services, products, and shops), she realized the hard way that she was understaffed. Kim quickly hired more nail techs and has kept up with the demands of her customers. Ordinary people now can feel like the rich and famous when walking into Kara Nail bar. Shirley wanted to create an affordable, hip, and trendy salon with the customer in mind.

And that’s exactly what she did. Not only does Kara Nail Bar have great customer service, the manicures and pedicures go all out with exfoliating scrubs and smoothing massage, leaving my skin soft and silky. For a few dollars extra I even got some really cute polka dot nail art on my toes. And it didn’t break the bank.

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