I had the great honor of being mentored by Gina Silvestro, an internationally certified Akzéntz educator and U.S. distributor. She bases her business, Gel Essentialz, in Michael K. Galvin Salon in Cranston, R. I. “Having my business at MKG Salon is the best move I’ve made so far,” Gina muses. “My work builds up new clients for the full-service salon while I have the perfect place to take care of my long-time clientele, manage my distribution, and travel for education and celebrity freelance work.”
The decor from the exterior to the interior of MKG Salon/Gel Essentialz illuminates the grandeur of history meets contemporary. The establishment is based in a renovated Victorian-style house, complete with wood shingles and oversized windows. Once inside, you immediately feel transported into an upscale, sophisticated environment. The reception desk and nail stations consist of glass tops with stainless steel accoutrements, emphasizing clean lines and a sleek, metropolitan style. Even the silver Akzéntz jars lined on each nail table go with the look.
The building has three floors, each one providing an individual service type. On the first floor is the nail department, where Gina works on her clients while managing two additional nail techs. Past the nail tables on your left are two pedicure stations nicely tiled with two massage chairs. Dry gel pedicures are a highly requested service, which is why the stations are pipeless. If clients miss the water, MKG also provides portable Belava tubs. For those who desire a jet-spa pedicure, there is a private room with a Jacuzzi chair.
Gina’s fame, with her award winning nails and celebrity work, has attracted a variety of clients looking for high-quality, artistic, distinctive nails. Services range from elegant French to couture styles that make a statement such as edge and stiletto nails. When asked what clients like most, Gina told me, “I have to say, most people like glitter. But I like to do the 3-D art the best.” And even though the designs are fantastic, clients are lined up and ready for more. “We are booked weeks in advance,” Gina adds.
Gina, being in the industry for more than 20 years, has been through it all, from working at home, earning commission in a salon, booth renting, to even owning her own salon. Right now, Gina is comfortable having her business in a full-service establishment. With her extensive traveling to teach, work on celebrities, and take care of Akzéntz distribution, owning a salon is last on her agenda.
Prices are steep compared to her competitors, but rightly so. The work is impeccable from the hair to the nails. Bridal packages are popular and total body makeover service packages are not uncommon. One thing I’ve learned from Gina is that the nails are characteristic of the nail technician herself. Gina has created a highly sought-after style; her clients’ nails always attract attention.