The only industry awards of their kind, the Salon of the Year Awards are our way of giving back to those individuals who elevate our industry with their actions and contribute to a growing number of successful, professional businesses.
Shocked though she was, Lawrence hasn’t hesitated to capitalize on her win. “I’ve already sent press releases out to five newspapers and two local TV stations,” she says, “Now that we’ve won, they’re considering giving us some coverage.”
Unlike many of our winners, Lawrence is primarily a hairstylist and not a nail tech. The other salon personnel may outnumber the nail techs, but they don’t outrank them in any way, shape, or form,” she says, believes that as the owner; she has to know all about nails and can even put on a nice-looking set of acrylics in a pinch. She keeps up her nail skills by attending classes frequently and even has a Creative Master’s certificate.
The decor of her 1,350-square-foot salon incorporates soft shades of gray, burgundy, and teal with the classic salon black and white. The faux gray marble manicure tables, hair styling stations, and front desk are strong, yet elegant, creating just the right feel for both men and women. She and her husband designed the 2½-year-old salon using the principles of the Chinese art of feng shui.
“When I first took a look at the raw space with the property manager; a woman came up to me and introduced herself as a feng shui expert I did some Internet research, bought a few books, and ended up hiring her. The first thing clients say is how comfortable and relaxing the salon feels,” she says.
Client Nancy Guerland says it’s more than the decor that impresses her. “While the physical environment, availability of full-service care, and reputation for quality gets you in the door, it’s the warm and pleasant staff that keeps you coming back. The entire staff does a nice job of making the client feel important” she explains.
To compete with the many lower-priced salons in the area, Savoir Faire offers a heavy dose of pampering in addition to their scrupulous sanitation procedures. Every nail service includes a 15-minute hand and arm massage. The salon caters to teens from two nearby high schools by offering a $10 discount off the regular $40 full set price.
Retailing is also an important factor of the salon’s success. “When I was first in business, I carried a few partial lines but didn’t want customers to feel I was pushy. Then I took a class and the instructor emphasized making every square foot count. ‘Forget about the living room feeling, you’re in business,’ he said. So I took out seating and put in shelving. Since then, retailing has doubled the salon income,” says Lawrence.
RUNNER-UP: CLUB MONACO
Location: Northfield Center, Ohio
Owners: Kris Monaco and Kim Monaco-Crevar
Years in business: 2½
Staff size: 7
Charity Involvement: Donate money or volunteer time at Nordonia’s Chamber of Commerce, Power of Women, and various local community and charity events
Operational details: Employee handbook, bimonthly staff meetings
Sanitation procedures: All implements are sterilized, stations are sanitized between each client, owners clean salon daily by disinfecting the dispensary, floors, bathrooms, and tanning facilities
Kris Monaco and Kim Monaco-Crevar strongly believe in educating their nail technicians along with themselves. “It’s essential for our staff to have the opportunity to extend their education in order to receive the knowledge needed to perform to the best of their ability,” says Monaco.
They attend trade shows, go to classes, and hold workshops at the salon. Some of the classes that they’ve attended include airbrushing, brush-on fiberglass system, backfills, French manicures, pedicures, and salon coordinator training. The sisters attended coordinator training because they believe in improving their leadership and managerial skills. They received training on such areas as proper phone technique, rebooking customers, increasing retail sales, customer service, and supporting a salon team.
To stay competitive with the latest techniques, the owners make every effort to bring the classroom to the salon. “Club Monaco believes education is the key to success. We provide workshops on everyday tasks to ensure services are performed to the best of our ability. “The staff works on each other’s hands and is critiqued by the Monacos. Practice really makes perfect for the owners, when they have their workshops, they do a lot of critiquing practice timing and filing, and do a lot of trouble-shooting. “We expect everyone to share knowledge since they are all experts in their specific areas.”
RUNNER-UP: CUTICLES INC.
Location: Indialantic, Fla.
Owner: Faith R Glionna
Years in business: 4
Staff size: 4
Charity involvement: Donate money and volunteer time at local women’s shelter, college radio, teacher associations, project graduation, churches, and The Jewish Federation
Operational details: Salon meetings once a quarter, detailed lease agreement, salon newsletter
Sanitation procedures: Hospital-grade disinfectant to soak all implements. Towels and pedicure baths are washed with bleach. Desks are cleaned and towels are changed for each client. They also use disposable sundries.
It Takes Communication
Faith Glionna runs a professional, well-managed salon that encourages communication with a smile. Giionna has salon meetings every quarter or as often as needed. She tries to be proactive with the salon and employees’ needs by making it a point to inform every potential staff member of her responsibilities from the start of employment. For instance, it is all written down in a detailed lease agreement, which outlines the various duties that she will be responsible for such as cleaning detail, sanitizing implements, and maintaining records.
Cuticles also offers many benefits to its employees. Each booth renter receives one week’s rent free once she has been with Cuticles for one year. There is an air purification system and a telephone installed at every station. And nail technicians don’t have to hassle with phone calls since the salon provides a full-time receptionist. Each station receives an added scrub-down through the salon’s weekly cleaning service. Plus, nail technicians can sell their own retail products.
Cuticles is a success today because the salon and its employees communicate and work together in harmony. Having an organized salon is nothing without a professional staff. “We look for precise knowledge of artificial nail products as well as natural nail care, continuing education on the products and services, and a well-rounded, enthusiastic personality” says Glionna.
WINNER: DETAILS NAIL SALON
Location: Bloomington, III.
Owners: Jennifer and Carol Perdue
Years in business: 7
Charities: Nails from the Heart in benefit of the Susan G. Komen breast Cancer Foundation, provided free manicures for Mother’s Day Out church program
Operational details: Monthly staff meetings, employee handbook, optional retirement plan
Sanitation procedures: Hand washing by clients and staff before and after each service, use hospital-grade sanitizer on implements and work surfaces
Continuing education: Attend trade shows and local classes. Carol provides in-salon training for staff and other local salons and schools. Several staff members are on a national technician referral system.
From the Heart
Clients not only appreciate the staff’s commitment to community involvement, they love the salon’s warm, earthy colors that cater to both males and females.
Charity involvement is something very near and dear to the hearts of Details Nail Salon’s staff members. From arranging a dog walk fund-raiser for a local animal shelter to participating in a golf outing benefiting breast cancer awareness and research, staff members tend to support causes that directly affect the people in their community. “We’re attracted to the charities that make a direct impact on a social level and help build awareness,” Jennifer Perdue says. The salon’s charity involvement goes back to the time it first opened its doors to the public. Perdue says it’s a good way to support the community and meet a new client or two along the way, since the salon does not have much of a budget when it comes to advertising.
In a world where so many people only look out for themselves, it is refreshing to see a group that takes such an interest in helping others. “We believe in the philosophy of doing unto others as you would have done unto you,” Perdue says. One cause that is especially important to the staff is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which opened a local chapter in 1999. In February 1999, the salon hosted “Nails from the Heart.” Nail technicians went to the salon on a Sunday — their day off — and gave $10 manicures, raising $850 for the association. “The motivation came from the impact breast cancer has had on our clients and their families, friends, and coworkers,” Perdue says. “We wanted to do something to show our love and support of these people.”
Another event that stands out in staff members’ minds is the “Paws for a Cause” fund-raiser Carol Perdue arranged. “Carol came up with the idea after hearing of a similar fund-raiser in Florida and she and a friend spearheaded the dog walk,” Perdue says. Carol spent hours planning, promoting, seeking supporters, and even making miniature doghouses from wood and other materials for a silent auction the night before the event. Despite all of their involvement, Perdue says they wish their busy schedules would permit them to donate more time. “Time for planning and the money involved is all given in love anyway, so you find the time,” she says.
The salon’s clients are certainly thrilled with all of the involvement they see. Perdue says she has the world’s greatest clients, and they are all very supportive. “Many of our clients are also involved in fund-raising and charity events so they help motivate us as well,” she says. However all of that involvement would not be possible if the salon did not have the staff it does. “I realize how lucky Details is to have the staff it has and the loyalty everyone has shown,” Perdue says. “We are like a little family”
RUNNER-UP: THE BRASS ROSE SPA & SALON
Location: Blairstown, N.J.
Owner: Rosemary Weiner
Years in business: 1
Charities: Women in Need Foundation, Project Graduation, and American Heart Association, among others
Operational details: Monthly staff meetings, employee manual
Sanitation procedures: Hospital-grade autoclaves, negative-nail enhancement room, and localized running water at each station
Continuing education: Subsidizes costs of travel and tuition for additional certification and training
Rosemary Weiner has always prided herself on the fact that her salon maintains high sanitation standards.
Keeping It Clean
When clients step into The Brass Rose Spa & Salon, they might just be getting the most germ-free manicure of their life. That’s because Rosemary Weiner makes it a point to maintain her salon and services as sanitary as possible — hospital-grade clean, in fact. The salon boasts ventilated nail stations with localized running water and autoclaves. Anything that cannot be sterilized after use — buffing blocks, nail files, etc. — is offered to the client to take home, and all metal implements are sterilized at the nail station and individually wrapped in a sealed pouch. The salon’s cleanliness can certainly be attributed to Weiner’s nursing background, but she says she would have emphasized that regardless of her past. “I would have been adamant about sanitation no matter what. My background simply gave me a leg up on how I wanted to do things,” she says.
Weiner and her staff of six nail technicians make sure to educate their clients about their services. In fact, the salon offers a free brochure titled “Infection Control and Nail Services” that explains its penchant for sanitation. That effort to educate clients has been a big part of the salon’s success. “We’ve been open less than a year and we’re already booked solid,” she says.
RUNNER-UP: PATRICK’S SALON
Location: Lansing, Mich.
Owners: Karen Lampani, Megan Arambula
Years in business: 7
Charities: Donating a Christmas tree to benefit local medical center’s cardiovascular department, Lee National Denim Day in benefit of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Operational details: Weekly newsletter informing staff of new products, events, and changes taking place, as well as staff meetings every three months
Sanitation procedures: Technicians and clients must wash hands before any service, autoclave is used to sterilize skin-cutting implements; all other tools are disinfected
Continuing education: NCA member, participate in various nail events, Lampani is an educator for EZ Flow Nail Systems
Although moving into a new facility was stressful for Patrick’s Salon owners Megan Arambula and Karen Lampani, they knew the end result would be a much larger salon that would be able to better accommodate their staff and clientele.
Built from Scratch
Not too many salon owners have the distinction of saying they actually built their salon from the ground up. Karen Lampani and Megan Arambula do. It all started when the owners realized their original location was not big enough to house all of the nail technicians and hairstylists occupying it. Lampani came upon a prime location just around the corner from the salon, and on March 2, 1998, construction on the future — and much larger — Patrick’s Salon began.
Construction on the salon was no picnic for the two owners or their staff. Patrick’s was originally set to open in July 1998, but the roof collapsed and its debut was delayed for another few months. Moving all of the equipment and supplies was also stressful, yet elating at the same time. “It was exciting watching everything be put in,” Lampani says. “We wanted everything new.” In fact, the salon sold most of its old belongings, from ventilated nail stations to neon hair and nail signs.
Staff members joined forces and packed their supplies and equipment in boxes, all while servicing clients, two days before the salon was scheduled to open. The following day was spent unpacking and setting up shop. On October 26, 1998, Patrick’s finally opened its doors to the public. Today, the 4,000-sq.foot salon boasts 16 nail technicians and 14 hairstylists. Despite all the months of hard work, Lampani and Arambula wouldn’t have it any other way.