Class Act Cleanliness

Opened this January by Rosemary Weiner, The Brass Rose Spa & Salon houses manicure stations with localized running water, hospital-grade autoclaves, and a negative-pressure nail enhancement room.

With her clients' privacy in mind, Weiner included a separate room for pedicures, which also is large enough to accommodate dual service for her busier patrons. "We have already had requests for a manicure and pedicure at the same time from business women," notes Weiner. "They want it all done at the same time, because they don't have time to sit down for separate appointments." With the reclining foot spa, aromatherapy, and soft music, this room has become a hit not only with female customers but also with many males who have visited the salon.

Further down the hall is the nail enhancement room, which was designed strictly for artificial nail services. The two stations in here are not equipped with running water, however there is a sink in the room. Just what makes this room so special? "It is a negative-pressure room so when you close the door the entire room is exhausted," "Anything that is in the environment is sucked out of the building and never recycled back into the salon or spa air." To further the odor-free environment, she also chose products accordingly. Adding, "One of the most remarkable things about this room is that there is no odor because of the products we have picked."

Chai and Coconut

Upstairs at The Brass Rose is the spa, where Werner's clients come from miles away to enjoy a variety of specialty spa services in an atmosphere of pure distinction. Clients are escorted up to the baroque-style lounge, where they are served Chai (a specialty blend of tea, spices, honey, and milk) while awaiting one of the many services offered. According to Weiner, the quiet and serene atmosphere "makes clients feel like they just drifted off into another world." Carpeted floors and solid wood doors lend to this feeling of intimacy and privacy.

One of the most popular services, according to Weiner, is the Coconut Cream Pedicure. "It is by far the number-one service that we do," she reveals. "We use a coconut pedi-soak in the foot whirlpool, then part of the service includes using a coconut foot cream, followed by a coconut-scented paraffin - all while they are reclining back in the chair and relaxing."

In addition to the nail stations downstairs, the upstairs spa includes two additional manicure stations (no nail enhancements are performed upstairs), another pedicure room, as well as rooms for body treatments, massages, and facials. There are also two makeup stations and two hair stations (for shampoo, conditioning, and styling only).

"When you come upstairs, it is a retreat," Weiner explains. "We want clients to do their maintenance-type things on another day. A client that comes upstairs is usually coming for two or three services, if not the whole day."

At approximately 2,500 square feet, the upstairs spa does not have enough space to be equipped for coed guests. "We have to have a separate men's day on Tuesdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m." Men actually make up 18% of the spa's clientele, and they even have their own menu at The Brass Rose. Weiner attributes the popularity of the spa with men to the privacy of the treatment rooms and the gender neutral color scheme in the salon. (She says that the men who come in love the Coconut Cream Pedicure too!)

A Modern Salon That's All Business

With her business background, it comes as no surprise that Weiner operates her salon like a corporation. Rather than using booth renters to work in the nail department, she uses full-time employees who work on salary rather than commission. The salon provides 100% of the products and equipment that the employees use. And employees are trained to be able to speak intelligently about the products they use -with the incentive of earning a commission on retail.

"There are four levels of nail techs," says Weiner, "and before moving on to the next level, you have to be signed off by the team leader of that department. Salary increases with each level." In addition, Weiner offers her employees eight paid working days off per year, a 401(k) program, and group health insurance. They can even come in to the salon and spa to receive 40% off all products and services.

"Operating this way has created a fabulous sense of team," asserts Weiner. "The clients belong to us all. People are willing to help each other more, and I've found that there is a higher level of motivation to upgrade the services or cover each other. This kind of operation has already begun to pay off for The Brass Rose. In the first eight weeks, almost 2,000 clients have come through the doors. Weiner has already seen the amount of business that she was hoping to see by the end of the second quarter. "We are drawing from a 100-mile radius."

Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, nail services account for approximately 7% of the total services in both the salon and spa. Retail makes up an­other 25% of the sales in the downstairs salon. "It was a big decision for me to make," says Weiner of her seven days a week schedule, "but my principal target was working women with a disposable income, between the ages of 35 and 55. These women work about 40 to 50 miles from home; they get home late and they want services in the evenings and on weekends."

Conducting the business of the salon as she would a corporation, Weiner employs 24 professional staff (including four nail technicians) and 18 support staff. She even has a vice president of finance, a staffing coordinator, and team leaders for each department.

"Downstairs in the 'basement' are the administrative offices and the booking room," Weiner says. "No phones ring in the salon or spa anywhere. At the reception desk you are not interrupted to book. That’s all being taken care of downstairs. There are three staff members who book and confirm appointments, take down information, answer questions, and answer the toll-free customer line."

The Brass Rose is completely computerized and the 15 stations (which Weiner says look like a telemarketing room) operate off of a central server. The staff can check their schedules, as well as pull up customer information. So even if the technician has not seen a particular client before, the tech will know what services and products the client prefers prior to her appointment.

Weiner takes advantage of her stature in her community to speak with different clubs and appear at events to help propel the salon's name into the forefront with little out-of-pocket expense.

About one month prior to opening the salon and spa, Weiner spent $10,000 on a direct mail campaign consisting of a three-fold brochure, which explained what she would be offering and what future customers could expect. "I went to a printing agency that also did mailings, and I did a brochure saying 'Here we are, we are doing gift certificates and the retail is open, and we will start services in January.' I can't tell you how many thousands of dollars I reaped from this direct mail campaign. It was one of the best marketing tools I had."

With her vision in motion, Weiner has already begun to see the rewards of opening this special salon and spa. "Where I am in terms of services and sales in less than three months is where I had expected to be after six to nine months of being opened," she says. "It's the security that my clients feel when they see the stations and understand the extremes to which we go to keep everything sanitary. We have clients who never before received the type of information that we offer, and it really gives them confidence in our salon. And I really think that this is why the word is spreading so quickly."


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