Business Management

Small Town Shop, Big Town Flair

Word of mouth in Leola, Pa., has transformed Artistry Nail & Skincare Studio into the small town’s local beauty parlor hangout.

Ever since Christy Martin was a little girl, she dreamed of owning an art-related business, not knowing that it would be a nail studio. Three years ago, at the age of 23, Martin opened and solely operated the 480-square-foot Artistry Nail Studio in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. Since then, she has upgraded to a new location twice and hired two more employees to help keep up with the town’s growing beauty needs.

Artistry’s move last October came with the addition of business partner Susan Rehm, who operates the skin care portion of the business. The 1,050-square-foot studio is surrounded by other community businesses such as a pet store, hair salon, flower shop, and pizza parlor. Martin says all the businesses do a good job of helping each other out in Leola, which is populated by slightly more than 10,000 people.

From the brightly painted walls to the calming music, Martin wanted her shop to evoke a trendy, yet welcoming feel. “A lady came in the other day to get a gift card saying, ‘I heard this was the place to come from a lot of people.’ It was very touching!” Martin says. “We have become the local beauty parlor hangout, and I love it.”

A PRIVATE SETTING

Martin still sees clients every day, believing it’s important for salon owners to be involved in their shops in order to keep employees motivated and ensure clients are well taken care of.

She listens to her clients and takes their advice to heart. For instance, many Artistry clients have told Martin they prefer a private setting when getting their fingernail or toenail treatments. To maintain privacy, curtains are placed in between the pedicure chairs, and a wall barrier keeps the manicure and pedicure areas separate.

“The way the stations are situated promotes privacy in the sense that clients don’t feel like they’re being heard by others,” Martin says.

Artistry serves an average of 25 to 30 clients per day for both nail and skin care services, but 90% of the studio’s clientele comes for nails. The most popular nail treatment is Brisa pink-and-white gels. Martin says the studio uses a secret prep technique to make the gels last longer. Manicures range from $22 to $25 and pedicures cost $30 to $40. Skin care services include back treatments, facials, and full-service waxing. “The addition of skin care treatments has been a great combination for our clients,” Martin adds.

INVESTING IN EMPLOYEES

Being a firm believer of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, or pedicure chair in this case, Martin treats her employees to a nail service once per month at another salon. “This is a great way for my employees to find out what they like or don’t like, and to discuss new ideas,” she says.

Often, good employees are hard to find in the nail industry, Martin says. Because of this, she’s willing to invest in the right people by paying for their schooling to get a nail technician license.

Employees are encouraged to stay up-to-date on the latest nail trends by reading magazines or going on the Internet. Martin also brings in a sales representative once a month to show the newest products and upcoming fads of the seasons.

HAPPY, HELPING STUDIO

Remaining a positive presence in the local community is also a significant aspect of Martin’s business. During the holiday season, the salon puts up a “Christmas Giving Tree” with ornaments listing items for local residents in need. Martin was overwhelmed by the number of people donating gifts, including people who aren’t even clients of the studio.

Martin describes the studio’s growing success, both as a business and as a representative of the local community, as a unique experience. “I just sit back sometimes, look around, and think how blessed I am to have come this far in a short amount of time,” she says.

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