Back in March, I commented on an article that ran in The New York Times about girls getting pedicures at an ever-younger age. A few months later, features editor Judy Lessin posted about a new mobile salon for girls called Sprinkles. IAs follow up, I wrote my August On My Mind column on the subject, looking at two local examples of salons servicing children. Below is an excerpt.
I’m not advocating full acrylic sets for girls under, say 16, but if a group of 10-year-olds want to get together for pedicures, snacks, and a little fun, I think that’s great. When I was visiting Mani Pedi Cutie in Hermosa Beach recently, there were two tween girls getting pedicures and manicures. Their moms had dropped them off and they were coming back to pick them up after their services. The girls chatted, watched "High School Musical" on the flatscreen TV, and showed off their multi-hued fingernails to owner Ally Conley. It’s a fun treat and a nice way for girls to hang out together.
Part of Conley’s salon caters to youth. She also has an "adult section" in the salon that is doing a sizable amount of business, but she went out of the way to create a special space just for kids. The pedicure stations in the "kid section" are smaller for her little guests. She hosts Teen Tuesdays and has makeup and skin care lessons for teens on Saturdays in a special room. She has Mommy and Me services and the salon has "clients" as young as
3 years old. (One little boy who looked about 4 years old was having his nails clipped and shaped alongside his mom when I was there.)
There’s also a salon in Hollywood called Spa Di Da that’s just for kids. It’s a full-service salon that also offers classes (yoga, salsa, skin care) for its young clients. Owner Maria Botham wanted to create a space for kids (ages 2-10) where they felt comfortable and where things were customized to their needs and their smaller size. (You can read about the salon here.)
You don’t have to take it to this extreme, but have you considered adding a few youth-focused services? They don’t need to include as many extras and you can charge a lower price so it’s affordable. It helps create good nail care habits at a younger age and it also helps to establish your future salon customers. Little girls will be little girls, and pedicures certainly aren’t the impetus for kids getting older younger.
What do you think? Do you offer special services for children? Do you cater to the youth market? I'd love to hear from you.