EAST GOES SOUTH: At Bamboo Spa Salon Eastern serenity marries the sleepy south to create an unusually serene sanctuary. Just two years old, Bamboo is located in a quiet business park on James Island, S.C.—just outside downtown Charleston and its historic homes, art galleries, and secret gardens. The salon décor combines an island-feel with Eastern tranquility creating what owner Amanda Shannon describes as a “very Zen-like atmosphere.” The salon occupies 2,000 square-feet with a nail room, two massage rooms, two facial/body treatment rooms, a four-chair hair studio, a shampoo room, and two waiting areas. Golden bamboo tints meld with dark, earthy tones to lend a warm, intimate, and peaceful feel to the space.

The salon’s customer service is equally relaxed and elegant. As clients wait for their aromatherapy massage or sea salt body scrub, they recline on silk pillows that line the low couches while wrapped up in white cotton robes. For a little extra soothing, flickering candles, babbling water, and graceful bamboo stalks suit the mood. A selection of beverages is offered, including herbal teas, chai lattes, and mineral water, as well as cookies and fresh fruit. Mini-quiches are served to those busy ladies (and men) using their lunch hour for a bit of “me” time.

As Shannon states, “We give highly personalized service to our clientele, paying close attention to detail—from our atmosphere as well as our service.” Careful attention to detail has been paid indeed—from custom built mahogany lockers in the bathroom to the soothing treatment rooms—to ensure that visitors feel relaxed and luxurious.

A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: Shannon trained as an esthetician at Esthetics International in Columbia, S.C., and a double degree in business and journalism from San Diego State University gives her plenty of business savvy. Shannon saw a golden opportunity in this southern coastal town and grabbed it.

Salon Name: Bamboo Spa Salon

Location: Charleston, S.C.

Owner: Amanda Shannon

Square Footage: 2,000

Years of Ownership: 2

Number of Nail Techs/Employees: 2/12

Specialties: Walk in the Clouds Pedicure

Other Services: Facials, body treatments, massage, hair services.

In choosing the Charleston area, Shannon also pinpointed a great client base—working women and wedding parties. A steady clientele of working women ages 30 to 50 and the occasional college or medical school student passes through the salon’s doors each day. Bamboo’s mission is to keep these women “looking their best in their career and social lives.” Bamboo fulfills this goal by keeping prices competitive.

Bamboo is a full-service spa, but with two manicure tables, two beautifully built pedicure stations, and two nail technicians, nail services make up about 25% of the business—“And it’s growing!” Shannon adds. Visitors can treat themselves to a spa-style manicure and pedicure—soaking tired hands and feet in warm eucalyptus baths, followed by a scrub, a foot and calf massage, and moisturizer. A warm paraffin wax treatment can be added to any of the manicures or pedicures. Bamboo only offers natural nail services.

If the regular pedicure is just not enough for tired feet, Bamboo’s most popular nail service, the Walk in the Clouds treatment—the ultimate in pedicures—is the answer. It’s easy to see why this is a popular service—it is like a facial for the feet. After a warm, bubbly bath soak, a vigorous salt scrub rub, and nail and cuticle treatments, client’s feet are pampered with a cooling mask treatment and wrapped in warm booties. A foot and calf massage follows the wrap.

A full menu of Bamboo’s services can be found on the spa’s website (www.bamboosalonspa.com). Highlights feature a range of messages, from aromatherapy to hot stone to prenatal, facial and body treatments, from deep cleaning to exfoliation to hydration, and a complete hair salon and waxing services. All beauty and relaxation needs are met, but Bamboo’s services are not for women alone. Fifteen percent of Bamboo’s clients are men. Although massage is their most popular choice, many men are also indulging in the Men’s Sport Pedicure or the Men’s Sport Pedicure or the Men’s Skin Saver facial.

Bamboo also brings more “cutting edge” salon and spa offerings to the area—like hair extensions and airbrush tanning.

At the end of a visit, clients can shop for their favorite brands to take a bit of pampering home. Bamboo’s retail section includes many popular professional salon brands.

LOVE IS ALL AROUND: Bamboo’s tender loving care extends to its 12 employees. As Shannon describes, “We are like a family—a close-knit group where everyone supports one another. There is no competition among employees and everyone loves coming to work.” As an added bonus, employees receive a free spa salon or hair treatment each month and can purchase any retail item at cost. Although there is no specific program, specialized training is often offered for individual services.

Everyone knows the benefit of a spa trip is indulgence as much as maintenance. Bamboo takes extra measures to treat their clients, from the college student to the established career man or woman, to just an extra dose of royal treatment with an Eastern flair.

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