Privacy and atmosphere are everything at family-owned Aroma-Listic Day Spa & Salon in Agoura Hills, Calif., which prides itself on its custom-blended services that are guaranteed to relax and pamper.

Salon Name: Aroma-Listic Day Spa & Salon Location: Agoura Hills, Calif

Owners: Monette and Monique Moore

Square Footage: 1, 876

Years of Ownership: 4 Number of Nail Techs/Employees 3/8

Specialties: specially created pedicures using all-natural ingredients.

Other Services: manicures, hydrotherapy; massage, facials, waxing, body wraps

Compensation Structure: two independent contractors, the rest of employees are paid a commission

Notes: Retail comprises 50% of the salon’s business The Moores attribute it to their custom-blended products (below)

A FAMILY AFFAIR: When clients walk into Aroma-Listic Day Spa & Salon for the first time, they might be a little taken aback. The first thing that catches them by surprise is the salon’s decor, which includes chiffon draping and crystal chandeliers. Then there are the salon’s owners, who happen to be identical twins. Monique Moore is the esthetician in the family, while Monette pampers clients’ hands and feet with a wide array of manicures and pedicures.

The Moores’ passion for the beauty industry began in Michigan, where they’re originally from. The two looked up to a well-known cosmetologist who had published several books on conjuring up custom-made lotions and other concoctions. “Since we get along so well, we wanted to do something where we could work together,” says Monique. “We’re fascinated by the beauty industry and we’re so good at it, so we decided to pursue careers in that field.”

After moving to California with their family, the twins pursued their interests and obtained their licenses. Their dream of working together was initially put on hold. While Monique worked as a makeup artist in a photographer’s studio, Monette worked as a nail tech in a salon. But Monette soon grew tired of working in that atmosphere — in fact, she’d frequently complain to her sister about the lack of quality in the salon. “The furniture there was so bad. I got tired of clients falling off their pedicure chairs,” she says.

That’s when the two decided it was time to work as a team. They began their search for a prime location and soon found what they were looking for: a former antique store located in a small shopping area. “The area is so quaint and secluded,” says Monique. “It was the first and last place we looked at.”

That was four years ago, and the Moores are still working under one roof. Not only that, they also live together and drive to work together. For some people, seeing each other so often might seem like overkill, but the twins say that living and working together suits them just fine. “It helps that we’re twins because we share a special bond,” says Monique. “Sometimes we’ll think of the same things at the same time. It’s freaky.”

ETHEREAL DECOR: Once they found their location, it wasn’t hard to come up with a decorating scheme. The pair combined two of their favourite things: Italy and angels. “After taking a trip to Italy, we were fascinated with the country,” Monette says. “We wanted to feel like we had never left”

With the help of their mother, who happens to be an interior decorator, the Moores created a salon that resembles what Monique calls “a formal sitting room.” The spa-like ambiance is certainly there — dim lighting and scented candles abound — but Aroma-Listic has more of a neoclassical look and feel than most other salons.

Besides the flowing drapes and glitzy lighting, there are also baroque and gold mirrors, columns, and wall and floor murals. The twins commissioned a local artist to create the murals, in which angels are prominently featured. The nail area, which was set up to look like a cafe seating area, has four custom-made nail tables, and the two pedicure thrones have their own private area — the Extremity Room.

The decor certainly helps attract clients — especially the many celebrities who live in nearby Malibu. Monique says Aroma-Listic is the clos­est salon to the star-studded community, so celebrities and their spouses can be regularly spotted receiving a manicure or some other service.

PEDICURES AND CUSTOM BLENDED SPECIALTIES: Although the salon features an array of services, its most popular offering is pedicures. Indeed, the menu features an extensive list of foot pampering services that were all created in-house. “We’re known for our pedicures,” says Monette. “There’s a three to four week wait for them.” She attributes the popularity of the pedi­cures to the instant gratification factor. “Pedicures are affordable and your feet feel great,” she says She also attributes their popularity to her polish technique (which she swears makes the color last longer than usual) and to her unique massage technique, which involves the use of her knuckles, hands, and fists.

From time to time, the two will sit down and brainstorm on new services. Monette says they frequently thumb through beauty and fashion magazines and read up on the latest trends, which in turn are incorporated into their services. “Anything that you can use in the kitchen is hot right now,” she says.

One thing the Moores are proud of is their custom-blended creations that are whipped up in a back room of the salon. Monette studied the science of aromatherapy and took a few biology courses, so she knows a thing or two about mixing essential oils. “Every product is brewed, boiled, and steeped on our premises,” says Monique.

The team of “aroma goddesses,” as they call themselves, will custom-blend a scrub, body moisturizer, or any other product for clients. Then, the ingredients are stored in their archives for future use.

Their custom-blended creations have proved such a hit that they don’t even have to sell the products — they sell themselves. Although they promote their creations on their website, there is no retail area in the salon in which to display the products. And since 95% of their business comes from referrals, most of their new clients already know about their custom-blended treatments, so they don’t feel it necessary to promote their wares. Their method has proved so popular that retail sales account for 50% of the salon’s business — a pretty impressive figure considering the trouble many salons have with retailing.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: The Moores aren’t content with just one location. They’d eventually like to expand into different cities throughout the country. “We want to be more than a spa,” says Monique. “We want to offer acupuncture and even have holistic doctors available. We’d like to get away from the whole salon concept and become more of a wellness center.”

They’re currently talking to several spas in Las Vegas that are interested in purchasing some of Aroma-Listic’s custom-blended products. And a polish line is in the works. Monette says that she custom blends polish colors for clients as it is, so it makes sense to offer a private line.

In the end, it all comes down to keeping up with the latest innovations and constantly coming up with new creations, and those are some things the Moores can attest to. “We’re always trying to stay 10 steps ahead of the competition,” says Monique.

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