Orchard Nails opened in Corona, Calif., when the economy was at its worst, but co-owner Thomas Irwin says this meant the salon had “nowhere to go but up.”
Two separate service rooms allow clients some privacy — this room with three manicure stations also has four pedicure spa chairs.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
“We’re not known as the less-expensive guys,” Irwin says. Pedicures start at $19 but run up to $58, allowing for a wide range of clients, although Irwin adds that most are upper-middle-class women. Because of the salon’s design, it also gets its fair share of male clients.
Orchard employs a full-time manager, but Irwin is the “face of the salon,” to the point where if he goes out for lunch, he often gets stopped by clients who want to chat. (Hanshaw focuses more on their dry cleaning business.)
Irwin says he wanted to make sure that clients who were paying for a relaxing service felt comfortable at the salon. Finding the right technicians who fit his specifications was tough at first, but hiring slowly ensured that he only employs the best.
Most of Orchard’s nail technicians are Vietnamese, but Irwin asks that they speak only in English in front of clients. Other rules include no cell phones in front of clients, clean uniforms with hair pulled back, and excellent hygiene.
Most techs at the salon have been with them for two years, almost since the salon’s opening. “They don’t want to leave, and that says a lot,” says Irwin, adding that the staff last year chipped in to get him expensive Louis Vuitton sunglasses he’d been eyeing.
He encourages techs to build a relationship with their clients. “If people feel like they can come into the salon and not only get good service, but talk to you about the things that are going on in their lives — that is huge for business,” he explains.
To accommodate a wide range of clients, pedicures start at $19 and go up to $58.
Salon Name: Orchard Nails
Location: Corona, Calif.
Owners: Thomas Irwin, Alex Hanshaw
Square Footage: 1,400
Opened: October 2007
Number of Nail Techs/Total Staff : 16/20
Specialties: Aromatherapy nail treatments