Have a Drink With Philadelphia’s Lacquer Lounge

Pretty in pink, Lacquer Lounge offers a wide range of nail services priced between $10 and $60. This “something for everyone” mentality has served the salon well amid economic uncertainty.


What makes Lacquer Lounge unique is its broad pricing spectrum. Clients can receive manicures anywhere from $10 to $45 under the same roof. “No one feels funny coming in here — there’s literally something for everyone,” says McElhone.

The Lacquer Express is a manicure for women on the go. It includes nail shaping, cuticle pushing, moisturizing, buffing, and polish for $10. There are also Lacquer Signature manicures for $15, Lacquer Luxe manicures for $20, gel-polish manicures for $35, and “Glamicures” (featuring Dashing Diva Design FX) for $45. Pedicures start at $20and go as high as $50. A full set of gels is $60.

The boutique sells many of the products used in Lacquer Lounge’s services in addition to small gifts and accessories. Purchases here bring in close to 40% of the salon’s annual revenue.
<p>The boutique sells many of the products used in Lacquer Lounge&rsquo;s services in addition to small gifts and accessories. Purchases here bring in close to 40% of the salon&rsquo;s annual revenue.</p>


“I don’t know what my business would be like if the recession wasn’t occurring,” says McElhone, who luckily has been making a profit since her doors opened in June 2012. “But one thing I know is that women can afford a $10 manicure no matter what, and regardless of the economy, we’re always going to take care of ourselves.”

Lacquer Lounge offers a “Recessionista Package,” where clients can buy six services in advance and save 20%.

“I’ve seen our business expand as I get to know the salon’s clientele better,” says McElhone. “I know what they’re looking for and the amount they’re trying to spend and that’s what’s helping increase revenue.”

Although nails make up 85% of the salon’s business, additional revenue is generated from waxing, hair, makeup, and airbrush tanning services, which were integrated in November 2012 as a result of client requests. “Our focus is definitely on nails, but customers would come in and say that the last thing they’d want to do is get in the car and drive somewhere else to get a blowout,” says McElhone.  “We owned the downstairs area under the salon, so we made it functional and hired an esthetician, makeup artist, and hairstylist.”

The salon also has a “Beau-tique,” where different pedicure products used in the salon, in addition to gift items, accessories, and candles, are sold. “This grew with time but is now doing very well,” says McElhone.


Commenting on Lacquer Lounge’s color scheme, owner Lisa McElhone says the pinks bring out the salon’s girly flavor while the whites evoke cleanliness.
<p>Commenting on Lacquer Lounge&rsquo;s color scheme, owner Lisa McElhone says the pinks bring out the salon&rsquo;s girly flavor while the whites evoke cleanliness.</p>


One of the driving forces behind Lacquer Lounge is McElhone’s commitment to cleanliness. Everything is disposable, such as Footsie Bath pedicure bowls with disposable liners. All non-recyclable implements are autoclaved.

“Disposable liners are a dream come true,” says McElhone. “It’s affordable and clean and you can turn clients over faster and not lose business.”

McElhone wanted to create the same atmosphere she had experienced in upscale spas primarily in Florida. Therefore, Lacquer Lounge’s decor is white and pink with sleek, feminine, and trendy furniture.

“We tried to focus on white furniture for the cleanliness aspect — I thought it was fun and cheerful,” says McElhone. “I’m super passionate about hygiene.”  


Quick Look

Salon name: Lacquer Lounge

Location: Philadelphia

Owner: Lisa McElhone

Square footage: 1,000

Opened: June 2012

Number of Nail Techs/Total Staff: 5/9

Compensation: Commission (50%)



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