As a relatively new resident of the fabulous Belmont Shore neighborhood in bustling Long Beach, Calif., I’ve been asked quite a few times in the past few months for a nail salon I’d recommend in the city. I’m happy to say I finally have an answer: Krème de la Krème Nail Lounge, a cute, clean nails-focused salon that opened in nearby Belmont Heights (3423 E. Broadway) on July 1. I went for my first (but certainly, not my last) visit to the salon last week for a Krème Brulée Pedicure (the salon’s top-of-the-line pedicure service, the middle level is the Krème Classic Pedicure, and the quickest one is the Krème Express Pedicure.)
Here are the things that I thought made the salon great.
- Cuteness. The salon is unabashedly girly. Its color scheme is pink and brown. The decor is French-inspired, including a handpainted (by Nora’s Painting) “Bonjour” sign above the door and welcome “mat” outside. Crystal chandeliers (from Home Depot, surprisingly enough) grace the space. The bathroom has handpainted signs that say, “I see London, I see France, I see…” The motto is, “Let them eat cake…and be beautiful.” Literally, every single woman who walked in during the time I was in the salon said something to the effect of, “This place is so cute.’
- Cleanliness.Krème de la Krème goes above and beyond with sanitation, as it uses an autoclave to sterilize instruments and FootsieBath pedicure tubs with disposable liners for pedicures.
- Comfort. I was seated in a comfy armchair for my service and even the waiting area features a comfortable and stylish damask sofa. “We wanted it to look like a big living room, so we didn’t really use salon furniture,” says co-owner Angela Tsigonoff. Angela’s daughter bakes mini-cupcakes that are brought into the salon daily and shared with customers. On the weekends, clients also get a choice of either mint water or a mimosa.
- Expertise. Angela’s been in the industry for a long time, even owning a full-service hair salon 10 years ago. She attends the ISSE tradeshow in Long Beach each year. Plus, she’s been a loyal NAILS reader for 20 years (yes, I may have given the salon an extra point just for that…but it does show that she’s keeping up with industry trends).
- Befitting. Krème de la Krème fits in well with its neighborhood. Both Angela and co-owner Gina Leago live in Long Beach, with Angela living walking distance from the salon. The salon participates in local charity and networking events, and the pedestrian-friendly locale also gets them lots of buzz. “Location is the most important thing we have going for us,” Angela says, adding that the salon hasn’t even run any advertising yet because walk-ins and word-of-mouth have given it a rapidly filling book.
- Personable. The owners make it a point to really get to know their clients. Actually, co-owner Gina actually started out as a client of Angela’s years ago. Angela says even now, “Our clients are so cool; they’re like friends.”
- Convenience. The salon is open seven days a week, which is great for my busy schedule. The only downside is that since it’s already so busy, appointments are recommended as walk-ins can’t usually be accommodated.
- Moxie. The owners showed a lot of initiative in both finding the salon location and in getting the doors open in a month. (They just got the keys on June 1.) The location wasn’t even officially announced as available for lease, but the owners surmised that the current renter grocer Olives wouldn’t need the space anymore since it was opening another branch nearby. Turns out they were right and were the first ones to contact the management company about leasing it. Then, to open their doors within a month, they worked late nights doing things like sewing together the curtains themselves from pieces of fabric. Even now, the owners still wind up staying until about 10 p.m. working on salon-related business. Hopefully that’ll taper off as things become more routine.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love visiting salons and I love trying out unique services. What sort of things do you like learning from other salons? Let me know in Feedback, so I can ensure I’m talking about what you want to hear during my monthly salon visits.