This quaint single-tech salon right off the beaten path in downtown Austin, Texas, is an urban oasis for hand and feet treats.
The temperature was in the 90s the day I visited Michele McLendon (right) at Bloomingnails, and the salon was a welcome cool-down after walking around at an outdoor festival earlier in the day.
DIY Boutique Salon
In her 23 years as a nail tech, Michele McLendon has worked in all sorts of salons. But for the last two and a half years, she’s been the owner and sole nail tech at Bloomingnails Urban Nail & Skin Care Studio. When she took over the space, located in the downstairs of a cute little house, she did all the work herself — painting, installing the wood panel flooring, and even installing a new toilet. The decor is light and airy and in addition to the mani-pedi room, there is a reception area, a room for skin care and massage (she rents space to an esthetician and a massage therapist), and a bathroom.
I booked my service over e-mail and the day before I got a reminder e-mail from Salon Transcripts that required I click on a link to confirm my appointment. McLendon uses Salon Transcripts for automatic e-mail reminders, but she still prefers handling the booking herself. Once I got to the salon, I saw why McLendon had been so fast to respond to my appointment request — she has a laptop and iPad at her workstation. She’s found online advertising and review sites like CitySearch and Yelp to be very helpful in marketing her salon.
McLendon has been a Bio Sculpture educator for nine years and 75% of her clients wear gels. I decided to add color gel to my Classic Pedicure and she offered me a choice from what looked like at least 100 colors. She performed a no-nonsense, incredibly thorough pedicure on my dry, cracked heels and the gel application was definitely quicker than a standard polish application. McLendon often teaches Bio Sculpture classes on Mondays — either in her salon or elsewhere around the state of Texas. It’s always nice to get a service from an educator who really stands behind her products.
> McLendon has two regular male clients, one who gets a manicure and pedicure and one who gets just a pedicure. The salon’s neutral blues and greens and solitary set-up make it comfortable for both men and women. She told me one of the reasons she wanted her own space was to get away from all the regular salon gossip and drama.
> McLendon has a Barber & Manicure license — and when she became licensed 23 years ago, she only had to get 250 hours (as opposed to the 600 hours that are required now).
> Bloomingnails is located on a street that has many old houses converted into businesses, including several salons and spas. McLendon sends clients she can’t accommodate to a salon around the corner and she has a referral relationship with a hair salon across the parking lot.
Gel Extensions: $70 full set, $40 fill
Classic Pedicure: $50
Classic Manicure: $30
Rose Pedicure: $60
Detox Pedicure: $60
Gel toenails: pedi of choice + $20
Polish: Bio Sculpture, OPI, SpaRitual
Gel: Bio Sculpture
Mani/Pedi products: Bio Sculpture, Spa Pantry, Gena, OPI
Glitter: Eye Kandy