After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in marketing, Terés founder Courtney King moved from Tempe to Scottsdale and began the search for a new nail salon. Over the course of six months, she visited all different types of salons, but failed to find one where she felt at home.
Disappointed with the options around her, King used her business background to open Terés | A Nail Bar. She enlisted help from her mother, who designed the salon, and her father, who serves as the salon’s CFO, and decided on the name Terés because it’s the Latin word for polished, rounded, smooth, fine, and elegant.
Opened St. Patrick’s Day 2012, the salon specializes in custom treatments. Clients are given a “bar tab” and are invited to choose a service, add luxuries, and select a “remedy” of herbs and oils created by an in-house mixologist. Four years later, Terés has found success as a neighborhood nail bar.
Terés is located in Old Town Scottsdale in Arizona. The salon draws from a nearby neighborhood with a lot of young professionals and young families, as well as an entertainment district that attracts tourists.
After building up a loyal clientele, Terés became more involved with the community. After a couple of clients asked for donations, King began to seek out more ways to help her neighborhood. The salon holds toy drives, school supply drives, and other projects to support its community.
“I want to give back and support the community that supports us,” King says. “I started to find causes that I could help with and, because it was so successful, certain causes started to find me.”
Terés offers a membership program. Once clients sign up, they are charged $25 per month, which can be credited toward specially priced services. The program has proven to be very popular, with hundreds of members signed up.
Instead of a set menu, Terés uses a “bar tab” which features low base prices with various add-ons that clients can customize to create their ideal treatment. A basic manicure for members starts at $15, while add-on “luxuries” include a variety of scrubs, masks, and massages. King says that the customized services help the salon cater to any clients.
“We can be that place where you spend an hour and shut down for $50, or you can be in and out and spend $15,” she says. “Our specialty here, really, is time well spent.”
Having been a big beauty consumer in the past, it was important to King to emphasize her appreciation for her nail techs. At Terés, nail techs are called nail designers.
“I think we’ve all painted our nails ourselves a time or two and just never done as well as the people who do it in a salon,” she says. “I always felt like the name ‘technician’ didn’t represent and almost undermined their skill and their capability.”
Instead of a standard salary or commission structure, King uses what she calls a sliding scale, where nail designers are paid an hourly rate that increases based on their sales revenue.
“I wanted to offer them the security that an hourly rate brings, but I wanted to offer them the benefits that a commission structure brings,” she says.
Since its opening, Terés has built a loyal list of clients. The membership program has helped with customer retention, but King says that a big part of growing the customer base comes from making meaningful relationships within the salon.
“We’ve really established so many relationships here and it’s not uncommon for clients to say that some of their best friends now are people they met at Terés,” she says. “It’s your neighborhood nail bar; I associate it with that old show “Cheers” where everybody knows your name because we all really have become connected.”
In addition to locals, Terés also has a loyal following of “snow birds” — people who move to Arizona during the winter.
“A lot of the people from the East Coast and other colder climates come here during the winter to enjoy our warm weather,” she says. “Even if they’re only here for a few months they sign up for our membership program and cancel when they go home.”
King wanted to make sure that clients feel comfortable, which is why she designed Terés to feel like an extension of someone’s home. The color palette is natural, with a lot of greens and browns.
“I wanted Terés to be a place where you come for the environment and, as a bonus, you walk out the door with great nails,” she says.
The salon received such a positive response to its decor that it inspired the retail display, which features home decor elements along with a few jewelry pieces made by local artists.
“Everybody wanted the light fixtures for their homes, or they wanted the exact same floor. People even wanted the soap jars in our bathroom, so I started offering those,” King says. “Our retail is not so much beauty-focused as it is home decor and other items.”
Salon Name: Terés | A Nail Bar
Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Owners: Courtney King and Sidney Chiappetti
Opened: March 2012
Number of Nail Techs/Employees: 9/13
Specialties: Custom treatments
Compensation Structure: Sliding scale hourly