Salon Name: Some Like It Hot
Owner: Nikki Mallon
Square Footage: 7,500 for the salon, spa, and yoga studio, 11,000 for all of Brownes & Co.
Years of Ownership: 13
Number of Nail Techs/Employees: 12/40
Specialties: Pedicures, manicures, gel and acrylic enhancements
Other Services: Pre-natal and hot stone massages, kids yoga, steam shaves, peels, hair treatments
PUTTING THE HIP IN HIPSTER: Mirroring its uber-hip and cutting edge neighborhood, Brownes & Co. is home to five uber hip and cutting-edge businesses. Occupying 11,000 square feet of prime real estate on South Beach’s famed Lincoln Road, Brownes & Co. is the umbrella under which the Some Like It Hot Salon, Brownes Beauty Lounge spa, The Yoga Room, Joyella Boutique, and the beauty retail store Brownes Apothecary thrive.
Today, Brownes & Co. presides over a pedestrian mall that is home to high-end shops and outdoor cafes. But the beauty emporium, despite its trendy locale, is far from a fly-by-night phenomenon. It, like any respected hipster bastion, has earned its indie credibility over the years thanks to its owners’ trend-setting vision. Brownes & Co. co-owners Nikki Mallon and Gary Feinberg have the gift of foresight. In 1991 Mallon, a London-trained colorist, noticed the again, and the couple opened Brownes Apothecary down the street.
The Apothecary stocked hard to find international beauty lines, fragrances, and cosmetics, earning them a solid reputation amongst locals and attention from models and celebrities.
In 1995, Brownes Beauty Lounge, a full-service spa, joined Some Like It Hot and enjoyed success as well, offering diverse services and reasonable prices. “For two years we operated out of two locations with the salon and spa at one end of Lincoln Road, and Brownes Apothecary at 841 Lincoln growing culture of cool developing in Miami’s South Beach.
“The beach was just happening,” explains her husband and partner Feinberg. “It was pretty interesting, but there was no groovy hair salon, which is what Nikki wanted to open.” And, adds Mallon, “At the time no one was offering a nice place to work in the area.”
And so Some Like It Hot, a full-service salon, came to be perched amongst the growing bustle of the up-and- coming fashion neighborhood. A few years later inspiration struck Road,” explains Feinberg. Clients who wanted to pick up a new lipstick to match their new hair color or pedicure polish were forced to trek down the street (albeit in the lovely breeze and warm sun).
“In 1997, we merged the salon, spa, and apothecary — and 841 Lincoln Road became a one-stop emporium,” says Feinberg. There clients could opt for a cut, color, Fresh Mint and Lemon Pedicure, full set of enhancements, massage, wax, or purchase a years’ supply of exotic soaps.
“In 2002, we took over the entire second floor, moving the salon and spa upstairs. This allowed more space for the apothecary, and in 2003, the Joyella Boutique opened on the far end of the main floor,” concludes Feinberg. The Joyella Boutique, a purveyor of one-of-a- kind, handcrafted clothing and jewelry, is the only part of Brownes & Co. not owned by the couple.
2004 saw Brownes & Co.’s most recent addition: The Yoga Room. A first-rate yoga studio, The Yoga Room enjoys natural lighting, cherry wood floors, and the expertise of some of South Beach’s best instructors. Feinberg, a long-time student of yoga, was fortunate in that he was able to study with and then handpick the instructors he wanted to work in The Yoga Room.
BEAUTIFUL FREAK: Despite its unique configuration of five distinct businesses under a single roof, Brownes & Co. manages to work like a finely tuned machine. Clients can move smoothly between the spa, salon, yoga studio, apothecary, and boutique. Mallon has even created service packages that combine hair, skin, body, and hand and foot services with yoga classes and lunch, making it seem more like a resort destination spa than anything else.
The atmosphere at the beauty emporium is one of laid-back luxury. Some Like It Hot enjoys an abundance of natural light, rich hardwood floors, and an open layout for a crisp, casual, beachy feel. The manicure and pedicure stations are assembled along the walls to make the most of the wide windows and natural light. A color palette of muted blues, browns, and creams adds to the clean, cabana-like atmosphere.
In the spa, richer colors and themed treatment rooms add a sense of playful drama. Red velvet drapes adorn a wall and each treatment room is graced with a decorative theme based on a different culture. Brownes Beauty Lounge clients may enjoy nourishing skin care treatments in the Tahitian room, a good rub down in the Marrakech room, and groups or couples may cozy up in the Shanghai Suite, which comes equipped with two treatment tables, a private bathroom, and a shower.
SERVICE BECOMES ECLECTIC: Services at the spa and salon are equally thorough and eclectic. The spa offers massage, body treatments, and skin care. Packages often mix and match services from the salon and spa. For example, clients can enjoy the Chill Pill package, which begins with a cup of herbal tea and includes a hot stone massage, facial, Margarita Pedicure, scalp massage, and blow dry.
Nail services make up 40% of Some Like It Hot’s business. This comes as no surprise upon viewing the service menu. Hand and foot services are practical and trendy. “I develop services based on new trends — scrubs for instance,” says Mallon. “I also look at industry magazines and change services each year.”
Clients can opt for acrylic or gel enhancements or indulge in a variety of creative manicures and pedicures. “The most popular nail service is the Fresh Mint & Lemon Pedicure,” reports Mallon, but services like the Sole Delight Foot Treatment feature warmed aromatherapy oils, milk, and frangipani monoi oil.
ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT: The clientele at Some Like It Hot is 65% female and 35% male, says Mallon. And while the salon attracts executives, models, and hotel guests, “We are more affordable to attract a local following that is stable year-round,” she says. In addition, Mallon says, “Some Like It Hot attracts a steady clientele because we know our clients by their first names, we have a spotless salon, and we are friendly.”
Added bonuses for clients are found on the salon’s website (brownesbeauty. com) where they can book appointments, purchase products online, view the yoga schedule, learn about special sales or promotions, and send Mallon personal “cosmetic queries.” Retail is a strong part of the salon’s business. “We have an excellent retail setup,” says Mallon, pointing out that Some Like It Hot carries high-end brands in its retail area and downstairs the apothecary offers more than 100 brands that are hard to find and attract a very discerning customer. Employees also enjoy rare benefits at Some Like It Hot. Working as fulltime employees they earn commissions and benefits, and yoga instructors receive both a salary and attendance incentives.
“Employees have worked for us for a long time, averaging six years,” notes Mallon. Employees who have left often return to ask for their jobs back, she says, because of the environment and benefits.
Current projects for Brownes & Co. include putting the finishing touches on a shop website. And as always, Mallon and Feinberg are thinking big. “We’re going to grow our business from $2 million to $3 million in 2005,” predicts Mallon.
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