Resta and The Beat Cup Cafe, Delray Beach, Fla.
Dissatisfied with spaces available for booth rental, stylist Eric Perna began to dream of opening his own salon. He and his wife Carolina Solé, also a cosmetologist, wanted a place where art and inspiration were part of the salon culture. As a psychologist in Brazil, Solé had learned the importance of art. She wanted to use the salon as a way to bring the benefits of art into people’s lives. As an artist and musician, Perna wanted a salon that provided an inspiring atmosphere, not only for himself, but also for his clients and other staff. Resta, meaning “recreation, style, and art,” became their solution.
The Brazilian team opened Resta in 2009 with six stylist chairs and room to showcase Perna’s artwork. For two years, they lived their dream: Perna as master stylist and artist, and Solé as “the person who runs the front desk and does whatever else needs to be done.” The business quickly gained a loyal following, and the couple realized they needed to expand.
Their love of community and connection led them to imagine a business that offered clients a gathering place. Solé’s brother has a passion for coffee; her mother for good food. The forces combined, and in 2011, Resta added five more stylist chairs, a nail area, and the Beat Cup Cafe.
Their concept for the nail area cut against industry trends. “At first, we added two pedicure chairs so friends could get pedicures together, but we realized we weren’t able to create the VIP experience we wanted for our clients,” explains Solé. “So, we removed a chair to give clients more one-on-one attention.” The service menu includes natural manicures and pedicures, plus gel-polish services.
The salon and cafe share a door from the inside, and each has a separate entrance from the street. The cafe offers regular poetry readings, jam sessions, live music and art exhibits, plus local professionals use the space to hold seminars and classes. The cafe serves a small menu (with Mom as the pastry chef!), along with tea, coffee, beer, and wine.
The expansion has been good for both businesses. Clients often visit the cafe when they come for an appointment, and cafe patrons regularly book appointments once they see the salon. “Of course, there’s a downside,” laughs Solé. “It’s a lot of work! Eric and I still do hair; meanwhile, we’re trying to run two businesses.”
After a year in business, how does she describe the dual business? “It’s awesome,” says Solé. “We offer clients an experience they can’t get anywhere else.”
Next Page: L Spa, L Boutique, and L Kids[PAGEBREAK]
L Spa, L Boutique, and L Kids, Sarasota, Fla.
LeeAnne Swor opened L Boutique in 2004, then expanded her brand to include L Kids, a clothing boutique for children. When a neighboring spa went out of business, Swor expanded again, opening the doors to L Spa in 2010. Spa clients walk into a peaceful, colorful reception area, with retail products from skin care to perfume. When it’s time for their nail appointment, a tech ushers them back to a private nail lounge with an eclectic feel that combines the beach with the upbeat, all decorated with bright and happy Trina Turk fabric. In the lounge, clients enjoy natural or gel-polish manis and pedis or enhancement services. The spa also offers medi-treatments, such as Botox, fillers, peels, and Dermaplaning, all under the care of medical estheticians. L Spa has a relationship with two local medical doctors who offer consultations at the spa each week.
“We were always referring our clients to skin specialists, nail salons, Botox injectors, etc., so it made sense for us to do it ourselves,” says Swor. “This way we bring the best all to one spot.” Swor built L Spa to her specs, making it everything she wants in a spa experience. “It has the top therapists; it’s fashionable, fun, and casually relaxed. It’s a ‘girl-time’ spa,” she explains.
Boutique clients quickly began booking appointments at the spa and, as word spread, her boutique benefitted from spa patrons walking through the adjoining door to shop. To encourage crossover clientele, Swor offers spa clients a discount of 10% on boutique items, good for the day of service. Swor has staff from L Boutique, L Kids, and L Spa adhere to the same dress code guidelines. Therapists choose from two lines offered at L Boutique, wearing any items they prefer in “L Blue” (turquoise), purple, fuchsia, or white. Continuity in dress and in the stores’ color palette makes the transition seamless, though on the books, they are run as different businesses.
Because the beauty business was new to her, Swor notes both a positive and negative effect to opening the spa. “I like to do things my own way, which is not always the easiest way. Sometimes I should research more,” she admits. “However, I like to try new things, so it’s been great to learn a new business.”
The benefits outweigh any drawbacks. “We have an amazing group of people at L,” says Swor. “We all like to make people feel their best, whether that’s with spa services or clothing makeovers.” For Swor, the spa was the perfect complement to her boutique. “I have always liked having my boutique next to a spa,” she adds. “Girls always feel good coming from a spa experience, and we like the ‘whole package’ idea.”
Next page: Strawberry Mountain Salon. Spa. Gym.[PAGEBREAK]
Strawberry Mountain Salon. Spa. Gym., White Salmon, Wash.
Connie Riley opened Strawberry Mountain Salon in 1978 with two stylist chairs in a 450-sq.-ft. building. Around 1992, she expanded to make room for nails, massage, facials, and a sauna. In 2007 she added a gym, for a total of 7,000-sq.-ft. Riley says several clients had recommended she add workout equipment because there was no gym nearby. She took their advice, eventually adding a complete fitness center. “Our motto is ‘Passionate about your quality of life,’” explains Riley. “So the gym fit into our philosophy well.” Open 24/7, the gym takes up the entire basement of her building. Clients enjoy all the amenities you would expect, plus they have access to a Crossfit gym, which her son runs out of one of the classrooms.
The salon is on the top level, offering hair services, pedicures, manicures, and gel enhancements, plus a private spa area where clients enjoy massage. Both businesses can be accessed from street level; internally, a set of stairs connects the two.
The fitness facility and salon naturally funnel clients to each other, says Riley. “Clients become gym members and gym members call to make salon appointments,” she explains. One factor Riley recognizes as a possible drawback is that all gym transactions go through the salon system, including memberships. “That means people need to come into the salon to inquire about the gym,” says Riley. “But we found it didn’t make sense to keep the outside door to the gym open all the time, because it required a staff member to remain at the front desk.” This way, clients are greeted by salon staff. Once they become members, they gain full access. Riley issues swipe cards that open gym doors anytime day or night.
Nail techs and other service providers are able to use the gym for free, but since salon staff work as independent contractors, no discounts on salon services are offered to those who work in the gym. Overall, the salon/gym has worked well for Riley; however, she admits it’s a lot of work. Riley’s been quoted as saying, “If I utter the word expansion again, get me to a therapist immediately.”
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