Germany in March can be a bit colder than my native Southern California, so it was with pleasure that I ducked into a local salon to warm up and get a quick manicure. Alessandro International Nail and Foot Spa is located in a quiet suburban city just southeast of Dusseldorf.
Langenfeld, Germany — Tim Crowley, associate editor — Germany in March can be a bit colder than my native Southern California, so it was with pleasure that I ducked into a local salon to warm up and get a quick manicure. Alessandro International Nail and Foot Spa is located in a quiet suburban city just southeast of Dusseldorf (I was in town for the Beauty International Show).
As I settled in for my manicure, technician Ivon Defranceski talked to me about how the nail salon industry has been steadily improving in Germany. “About 15 years ago, girls weren’t really getting their nails done, but now it’s become much more popular,” she said. And pedicures have been slow to catch on as well. “They are still a bit hard to sell, but manufacturers are starting to offer more pedicure products, so we’re getting more and more pedicure clients — about 30 to 40 a week now.”
Ivon expertly trimmed and filed my nails, and applied cuticle oil and hand lotion. Being a concept salon, all of the products were manufactured by Alessandro, and the company also helps with the design and décor of the salon. Owner Slavica Defranceski, Ivon’s mother, first started a concept salon with Alessandro six years ago and has been at the current location for three years.
The Spa offers a range of services, including classic manicures, spa pedicures, face and leg waxing, and paraffin treatments. It employs five technicians and is family-oriented with both Ivon and her brother Benjamin Defranceski working as techs. “Customers say it feels like family here,” Ivon says, “and we enjoy getting to know them.”
One factor present in both the U.S. and German nail industry is the impact of the economic crisis. German salons too have been coming up with innovative ways to keep customers coming in. “We have a special service card for clients, so after 12 services they get 20% off their next service,” Ivon told me, “And we also do four special promotional days throughout the year, where we’ll stay open on a Sunday, when we’re usually closed, and pick a theme. One time we had a ‘man’ day to get more male clients and we had cars parked outside and played music. It was a lot of fun and it worked too.”
Alessandro International Nail and Foot Spa has two private pedicure rooms with comfy leather seats, soft lighting, and even a small aquarium.
The interior design is open and welcoming, with five manicure tables and a soothing fountain encased in the seating on the right.
Client Beatte Wollschlager (right) is a long-time client of Defranceski (left) and joked that she had just come in from a long flight and that the first thing she wanted was an Alessandro manicure.