Karma Organic Spa introduced a new concept to Ridgewood, N.J., salon-goers as it was one of the first organic spas to open in the area in 2007. Salon owner Nausil Zaheer describes the salon as a “healthy alternative for beauty needs.” He envisions the salon as a safe place to indulge and renew the body. “My goal is to always share good karma with people,” Zaheer says. “It’s a great concept.”
Prior to opening his own salon, Zaheer said he would leave other salons feeling sick or with a sore throat after appointments. Someone recommended he go to an organic salon and when he couldn’t find one, he thought, “I have to do something about this.”
“It’s rare to find a salon that truly is organic,” Zaheer says. “Some say they are, but they do gel manicures. At Karma Organic there is nothing artificial; no acrylics and no gels.” The salon even uses organic towels and hypoallergenic gloves.
“Each time you visit Karma Organic, technicians bring freshly sterilized and individually packaged utensils to your station including buffers and files,” Zaheer says. Zaheer started making his own polishes, removers, scrubs, and lotions to make sure that anyone who comes to the salon isn’t exposed to undesirable chemicals. According to Zaheer, Karma Organic Nail Polishes do not contain toluene, formaldehyde, or DBP and are safe for pregnant women, kids, cancer patients, and allergy sufferers. The polishes retail for $9.99.
While it’s commonly believed that organic products are much more expensive, prices at Karma Organic are comparable to other salons with manicure services ranging from $15 to $75. The most popular manicure and pedicure treatment is the Karma Rosemary Mint because it keeps clients feeling fresh, and it stimulates the body. “The treatment includes a warm bath of fresh rosemary, mint sprigs, and tea tree oil,” explains Zaheer. “We finish off this treatment with our homemade sea salt scrub and rosemary and mint cream massage.” Unique to the spa is its own garden, which grows the lavender, rosemary, and mint used in the salon services.
About 80% of the salon’s business is centered on nails, followed by waxing and massages. Waxing services include everything from the brows to a Brazilian. Prices range from $15 to $65. Prices start at $80 for a 45-minute Karma Out Back Massage or $160 for a 90-minute Karma Deep Tissue or Karma Swedish Massage.
A CLEAN CHIC ATMOSPHERE
The salon is located in a small downtown plaza surrounded by other organic shops. “Since Karma Organic opened, other organic stores have appeared including a bakery and an organic hair salon. There aren’t any franchises in the area,” Zaheer says.
It was important to Zaheer that the salon be located near a Whole Foods Market since his products are sold at more than 100 of the grocery stores in the Northeast.
The salon features six pedicure stations, four manicure spots, and one facial and massage room on one level. To complement the organic products, Zaheer incorporated furniture made from recycled materials. The salon features carbonized bamboo floors and non-toxic paints, as well.
Zaheer aimed for a “clean chic” vibe that would be comforting to clients. For example, instead of chairs, the salon features sofas. “When I built this place, I designed it for my clients,” Zaheer says.
KEEPING CLIENTS COMMITTED
About 25% of the salon’s clientele is male. He believes men like coming to the salon because it is comfortable and they do not have to wait around before they are seen. “Because we’re appointment only, men do not have to worry about being uncomfortable sitting in a room of women.” A waiting area doesn’t even exist in the salon because Zaheer believes that every client deserves the salon’s full attention.
Everyone is guaranteed the same amount of time for each service no matter the gender or age. Even young girls who come in for a “Little Karma Princess” treatment can fully enjoy having their nails polished with any of the salon’s organic polishes, including fun neon and glowin- the-dark colors tailored to the younger crowd. “Every single one of our appointments is important,” Zaheer says.
“I like how comfortable, friendly, and accommodating everyone is at Karma Organic,” says Shari Becker, a client of the salon since it opened. “I don’t just have one nail tech who I go to because they are all good, and I love their attentiveness.”
“I’m there for my clients,” Zaheer says. “I’m always the first one to say yes to all the local schools whenever they are
According to Zaheer, the salon hardly loses clients. In fact, the only reason a client doesn’t return is because she moved. “We have clients who have been with us since day one in 2007,” Zaheer says. “We see their kids grow up, it’s great!”
Seasons don’t affect business either. “It’s common in the nail industry that business goes down in the winter, but that is not the case for Karma Organic,” Zaheer says. “The season doesn’t matter because our services and treatments are like therapy for clients.”
TREATING TECHS LIKE FAMILY
“Employees spend nine hours a day in the salon,” Zaheer says. “My employees know that they aren’t going to be breathing in chemicals while they are working.”
When hiring, Zaheer requires that techs have a license accompanied with a good personality. New techs are always welcome. “They will learn skills with experience,” Zaheer says. “There’s always room for growth.” During downtime, techs are encouraged to practice on each other and attend training sessions to continue learning about the industry trends.
Keeping good karma alive, Zaheer treats his techs like family and never cuts hours. According to Zaheer, Karma Organic offers the top pay for nail techs with paid vacations and holidays off.
Since the salon opened in 2007, Zaheer says not one nail tech has left. “I take care of the little things to make sure they are happy,” he says.
Salon name: Karma Organic
Locations: Ridgewood, N.J.
Owner: Nausil Zaheer
Square Footage: 900
Number of Nail Techs/Total Staff : 8/12