“I spent two years sitting at a manicure table and had so many lower back issues from hunching over while I was working, I left work in immense pain every day,” says Hannah Sass, co-owner of Head to Toe Spa and Nail Bar (headtotoespaandnailbar.com) in Saint Joseph, Mich. So when the time came to design the manicure and pedicure spaces for her salon, nail tech comfort was just as much a priority as pleasing clients.
Sass’s solution for the manicure area was to create a nail bar at actual bar height, so techs have the option of standing while providing services. “We did all the design and blue prints ourselves. We spent days on end standing and sitting, and measuring to get the exact proportions we wanted,” she says. “We’ve all noticed a big difference. We leave work feeling comfortable.”
Beyond the ergonomic benefit, the setup — which allows clients to sit or stand as well — permits more freedom of movement. “Most of us at the salon are high energy people, especially myself,” says Sass. “During long appointments, I noticed the techs and our clients getting antsy and readjusting their position frequently. The ability to stand helps with that.” It’s also a plus that clients can sit side by side and chat during their appointment. The salon can accommodate older or larger clients who find it tough to get into the higher chairs in other areas of the salon.
In the pedicure area, porcelain sinks are dropped into a raised base for easy cleaning and soaking. “I knew I didn’t want disposable liners that you have to fill in a utility sink and carry back to the pedicure area. I also didn’t want whirlpool jets; they’re so hard to clean and can harbor bacteria,” she says. “So I thought, ‘What if we built a deck, like the ones outside, and dropped a porcelain sink right into a cutout and hooked water up to that?’ Explaining it to the contractor was hard, but once it clicked with him it was smooth sailing from there.”