On the Road: Artistry of the Nail at Salon Shibumi

by Sree Roy | August 14, 2012
Located in the Goose Hollow neighborhood in a former residential house, Salon Shibumi’s hairstylists share the living and dining rooms, while the booth renters each get an upstairs (former bedroom) space.

Located in the Goose Hollow neighborhood in a former residential house, Salon Shibumi’s hairstylists share the living and dining rooms, while the booth renters each get an upstairs (former bedroom) space.

Booth renters work together in harmony in this successful salon in the uniquely green city of Portland, Ore.

Portland Perfect

The City of Roses impressed me as soon as I took a seat on the MAX light rail from the airport into the city. Portland’s environmentally friendly features extend beyond its easy mass transit to community ideals such as shopping local, which explains the city’s popular Saturday Market. Salon Shibumi fits in sublimely with these values. It’s located in an old residential building and only steps from a MAX stop, both green choices. Nail tech and booth renter Dana Gonzalez-Kurtz shops primarily at Seattle-based Ed Wyse Beauty Supply, and she offered me candy from Portland-based Moonstruck Chocolate Co.

Low Turnover

Dana has been at Salon Shibumi for eight years, ever since she graduated from nail school. Most of the other booth renters are long-timers as well. Even though each renter runs her own businesses, they all work cooperatively. When booking a spa day or a birthday party, booth renters communicate with each other using either phone calls, text messages, or simply by walking to the other person’s room. Dana facilitates this by having an open door policy. And she takes it quite literally — her door stays open during services and it doesn’t even have a lock. “As a courtesy, I tell the stylists and booth renters to feel free to use my lotion or top coat for a quick fix as needed. It reflects poorly on me if their nails don’t look kempt,” she says.

Education Seeker

Continuing education is not required in Oregon, but Dana seeks it out. Her room features a wall covered in class certificates, including ones for a CND Master Painter Course and for becoming a certified CND Shellac service provider. “When there was all the hoopla about Shellac when it came out, I figured I should take a class,” Dana says. She notes how the classes are a great way to network with other techs in her area. Indeed, she had plans to carpool with a tech she met at one of the classes to the Willamette Valley Nail Professional Networking Event. The classes and networking have also given her other techs to run new ideas by, such as a revamp of her menu.

Fun Facts

> Why are the continuing ed certificates framed with purple matting, even though it doesn’t go with the room’s color scheme? It’s in anticipation of a total booth makeover Dana is planning — a big change: the walls will be painted yellow.
> When one of Dana’s clients died of pancreatic cancer, Dana donated her tips, and matched the tip donations, to help fight cancer.
> Dana used to create a calendar featuring her nail art designs, which she hung on the wall by her pedicure station. During my visit in April, the calendar had a note “Celebrating 8 years at Salon Shibumi.” Flipping forward to October, I noticed some of Dana’s spectacular Halloween designs.

Menu Highlights

Manicure: $25
Pedicure: $40
Spa pedi: $50
Nail art (per nail): $3-$10
Rockstar toes: $65

Product Highlights

Gel-polish: OPI GelColor, CND Shellac
Gel: OPI Axxium
Scrub & Lotion: CND Citrus line
Implement Disinfectant: Let’s Touch and Let’s Dance
Polish: Zoya, CND, OPI

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