Owner Danielle Lawrence sits in one of three custom-built pedicure chairs, which allow for comfortable and roomy pedi parties.
“It’s all about you at Head to Toe Salon & Day Spa. May I have your first name?” Wow. I was taken off guard by such a pleasant phone greeting. All about me, I thought. Who doesn’t want that? My manicure appointment was set to 4:15 p.m., a time that worked perfectly for me, but one that isn’t allowed often because it’s on the quarter hour. By the time I was off the phone, I had already been won over by the exceptional customer service that owner Danielle Lawrence expects of her staff.
From the reception area, clients walk downstairs for nail services and upstairs for hair, facials, and massage.
Lawrence says the attention to a customer’s experience is intentional. “I tell everyone who works here to treat the salon as their own, because it IS their own. When my business increases, it’s because their business has increased,” she says. Besides Lawrence, five licensed cosmetologists and one massage therapist work at the salon, providing a full menu of hair services, waxing, facials, and massage. The cosmetologists, not nails-only techs, perform all manicures and pedicures. “We offer only natural manicures and pedicures,” says Lawrence.
Jamie Paglia gives me my first Shellac manicure.
Head to Toe Salon & Day Spa was open for 15 years before Lawrence bought a building three years ago and moved the salon to its current location on Main Street. The building provides nearly four floors of space for the salon. Clients enter the reception and retail area from street level, and then walk downstairs for any mani and pedi services or upstairs for a waiting area and for all hair services. Facials, waxing, and massage are available on the top floor. “Since moving to our new location, our pedicure business has tripled,” says Lawrence. With two manicure tables, three pedicure chairs, and room for two in a drying area, the space can comfortably accommodate parties of up to 15 by moving clients between stations.
With room for two, the drying area allows clients time to sit and relax before heading out the door.
Lawrence says a strong team atmosphere is the secret to her success, which is sometimes difficult to achieve among traditionally independent professionals. One way to build a strong team, she notes, is to cultivate a loyalty to the salon (the team), not to an individual. Another way, explains stylist Jamie Paglia, is to include the whole staff in hiring decisions. “In order to work here, you have to go through four interviews,” says Paglia. “The first is a tour; the second is an explanation of responsibilities and compensation; the third is called the ‘hot seat,’ and the fourth is a test of skills: working on an actual client.” The “hot seat” is where the applicant sits around a table with the whole staff. Any question is fair game — from the staff or from the applicant. “We want to make sure we are going to like working together every day,” says Paglia. Playing a role in who gets hired means you are more likely to feel a sense of investment in that person’s success.
Located on Main Street, Head to Toe Salon & Day Spa uses a sandwich board to let drivers know about specials.
Lawrence also credits education as a factor that sets her salon apart. “Education is extremely important to us. We go to the New York show every year so we know about the newest products, and we love to come home and share what we’ve learned with our clients,” she says.
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