When the salon she worked at went out of business, manicurist Jen Carr saw a “now or never” opportunity to open her own salon. Despite no formal business training or thought-out strategy, Carr opened Lacquer Nail Lounge in Sacramento, Calif., in 2013.
“Most people develop a business plan and get into the numbers, but I honestly didn’t do that,” Carr says.“I just took a leap of faith, and I’m glad I did because we’ve been very successful.”
The all-natural nail salon recently had to expand two-fold to accommodate new clients and make room for two new areas. This includes a play area for kids and a male-targeted section of the salon called Tough As Nails. Carr hopes both of these newly added aspects will attract more families who can enjoy a salon experience together.
The “Little Lounge” is basically a mini-day care where children can hang with CPR-certified supervision while their mom or dad relaxes during a service at the salon. Carr herself is a mother, and the overwhelming feeling of being too busy to relax is familiar to her.
“As someone who takes care of three children, I really relate to struggling with my scheduling,” she says. “It’s hard for me to find time to do things for myself, so I wanted to provide an option for other people going through that same thing.”
Although her love of nails started with acrylics in her adolescence, Carr’s first pregnancy caused her to re-evaluate working with artificial products. Now a mother of three children, she doesn’t plan to look back and only works with natural products.
The team at Lacquer makes it a point to explain to clients why sometimes overlooked steps like cuticle oil and omitting certain ingredients are important, an educational aspect of the salon environment that is “almost like a doctor’s office.” But the environment at the salon is anything but cold and sterile; Carr actually compares the social feel of the salon to the popular ’80s sitcom, “Cheers.”
“Everyone knows each other and we’re always saying hi to whoever walks in the door,” Carr says. “There’s a very happy feeling in our salon and our clients are very loyal.”
Most clients come from an affluent neighborhood known as the Fab Forties, a district known for housing Ronald Reagan during his term as California’s governor. During the holidays, Carr asks these clients, as well as the Lacquer team, for donations to charities like Sacramento’s Feed the Hungry or those that benefit the local homeless population.
“Helping others is something I feel passionate about, and we all love doing it,” she says.
Whether it’s educating clients from the nearby upscale neighborhoods, offering tired moms a place to relax, or raising money and food to go to those who are less fortunate, it’s safe to say Lacquer Nail Lounge is a positive influence on the community of Sacramento.