About four years ago, I wrote an article for NAILS called “Can One of These Emerging Salon Chains Become the ‘Starbucks of Nails’?” in which I commented that the nail industry seems to cry out for a trusted salon chain, which would remedy sanitation and other discrepancies between the slew of mom-and-pop salons and offer a consistent experience across the board. Based on the experts I interviewed for the story, I came to the conclusion that innovative hiring, a simple and consistent sanitation program, and a major consumer PR campaign would be needed for such a chain to be successful.
Now, there is a strong contender in this field: MiniLuxe, a nail and waxing salon chain that started with one salon in Newton, Mass., just announced it will expand its concept nationally through a franchise program with plans to open up to 15 new locations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic by the end of 2011.
In a press release, Tony Tjan, chairman of MiniLuxe and general partner of The Cue Ball Group (MiniLuxe's founding firm), said, "We challenged the team to come up with a breakthrough franchise concept that could create a new brand standard, grow quickly, and be resistant to economic market cycles. After months of analysis by some of the best minds in the country, the only project still standing was MiniLuxe."
Since opening its first salon in mid-2007 (which NAILS profiled here), MiniLuxe has opened a new location each year. According to the brand, MiniLuxe thrives on a number of factors, one of the most important being the chain's dedication to hygiene. MiniLuxe assembled a special group of advisors that spans from podiatrist Dr. Carolyn Siegal to physician Dr. Mehmet Oz to top beauty editors. Every store features a clean lab equipped with hospital grade autoclaves and supporting sterilization equipment. "In survey after survey prior to our initial launch, cleanliness and service surfaced as the two most important things for our customers. With both a podiatrist and a physician on our advisory staff, our practices are already reshaping the industry," notes Laura Bronner, senior vice president.
Time will tell if this franchise will succeed, but I think it has a lot going for it. If you might be interested in opening up a MiniLuxe franchise salon, then visit www.miniluxe.com/franchise/index.html, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-855-MINILUXE for more information.