My friend Maria is treated to a French Pedicure with nail tech Andrea Pope; I enjoy an Essential Pedicure with Cheala Neves.
Like many of you, I read with interest editor Hannah Lee’s “Can We Change the Stereotype?” column in NAILS’ April issue. In it, she talked about how too many landlords think of nail salons as “a dime a dozen” and ignorantly dismiss them when it comes to leasing commercial real estate. I don’t have all the answers to this problem, but, during a visit to an Atlanta nail salon, I did notice one crucial way that nail salons can help set themselves apart from the “dime a dozen” reputation — branding.
The boutique salon’s extensive retail offering includes lotions, soaps, flip flops, and bubble baths.
Sugarcoat: A Nail and Beauty Bar in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood stands out amongst the other boutique, upscale, and discount salons in the city because it’s developed a unique brand that’s reinforced through every aspect of its business. This brand recognition has helped it earn consumer choice awards (like Citysearch.com’s Audience Winner for Best Manicure and Pedicure), a large repeat clientele, and a hopping spa party scene. I visited this natural nails-only salon earlier this year and brought back a few cool branding ideas.
Co-owner Colette Lievano and I stand in front of the iconic pink chandelier.
A crystal chandelier serves as the distinctive icon for the salon. Co-owners Colette Lievano and Christie Shepard bought the unique chandelier to hang in the space, then commissioned Atlanta graphic artist Sheila Aldridge to draw a rendition of it to use in other places, like a large wall decal. The duo also commissioned Tracey Potter, of TAP Design Studio in Chicago, to create the fitting Sugarcoat logo, a girly cursive design with fun flourishes that appears on a large menu board, the printed menu, business cards, and other promotional materials.
These cute tees showcase the salon’s iconic chandelier, the distinctive logo, and a clever catchphrase.
The salon even sells a line of T-shirts. With cute phrases like “Got sugar?” (with “Sugarcoat” named on the back) or the chandelier drawing, these popular shirts can be seen throughout the city. “The shirts started out as part of the salon uniform, but clients kept asking about them so we added them to our retail selection,” Lievano says. The website, designed by Shepard, also does a great job introducing the brand.
A large chalkboard introduces the salon’s different levels of service offerings, including its signature Escape to Fiji manicure and pedicure.
The website was placed on the Internet even before the salon opened and has evolved over time with the business. The pink theme connects it with the physical space as pink backrests grace the pedicure banquette, pink buffer blocks are used during nail services, and aprons in pink and the chosen accent color of brown are worn by employees. The salon left such a solid impression on me that I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends back in Georgia’s capital city.