Austin, Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It’s also the home of the University of Texas Longhorns. When I went to Austin last fall, my primary mission was to see three days of amazing music at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But I was happily surprised to run into a product of the University of Texas as well. Embellish Nails & Boutique was conceived by UT business school students Lisa McQueen and Wendy Pursch. The idea was to open a salon that fit somewhere in between “the high prices of day spas and the questionable cleanliness of neighborhood salons.” So after a few years in the business world, the two pampering-loving ladies set out to create something that fit all the criteria of what they would want in a nail salon.
And those criteria included a fun and stylish atmosphere where cleanliness and sanitation are not forgotten — think pink walls, chandeliers, comfy chairs and couches, your favorite chick flick playing on widescreen TV, and a retail boutique to rival the best gift shop in town. I instantly fell in love with the retail boutique, which offered everything from cards, candles, purses, T-shirts, and jewelry to soaps, lotions, and of course, nail polish and other beauty items.
The salon is a great mix of vintage and modern, creating a truly cozy feeling. I can see why the salon does a big business in bridal parties and other fun soirees. The 1,400-sq.-ft. salon has four big overstuffed chairs for pedicures, and a cool vintage pink couch that can accommodate two more. There is also a nail bar for manicures, and a private room for waxing services and facials. As new business owners both Wendy and Lisa spend countless hours at the salon making sure every last detail is being attended to.[PAGEBREAK]
Embellish is located in a newly developed, high-end shopping center known as the Triangle in Central Austin, close to the university. A lot of young professionals live and work in the area, helping the salon maintain its clientele of women in their late 20s to mid-30s.
And little did I know I was in the midst of a celebrity. My nail tech Taneil Gage had just been named Best Manicurist in Austin Monthly’s Best of Beauty issue. Unfortunately, I wasn’t planning on getting a manicure, but I can attest, my pedicure was worthy of a “Best of…”award itself. My only regret: I went to the salon before standing on my feet for three straight days of live music. Next time I’ll know to book my service for after the show.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.