Randy Currie, who opened his first salon more than 22 years ago, with $12,000 scraped together from hair-dressing earnings, now owns Currie Hair Skin Nails – a 7,000 square-foot business located in an upscale shopping center in suburban Philadelphia. The philosophy of Currie Hair Skin Nails hangs proudly in the salon: “We are a salon of distinctive design staffed by professionals with an unwavering commitment to service and detail.” Currie’s other philosophy could be “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” For the record, Currie has entered NAILS’ Salon of the Year Awards six times – each year since the award’s inception. Not one to lose focus, Currie never doubted that the salon would one year take the top honor.

“It’s an honor for us to win because it’s something we’ve been trying to do for a long time. We feel that publicity is really important not only for business, but for our employees so that they’re noticed within our industry,” says Randy.

Currie has remolded his salon four times in the last nine years. Since 1990, he’s turned Currie Hair Skin Nails from a 1,400 square-foot salon into a 7,000 square-foot full-service salon and day spa. Last year it was named one of the 200 fastest-growing salons by Salon Today magazine. As a 22-year veteran of the industry, Randy regards ongoing education as a top priority.

“Our team of professionals regularly participate in advanced schooling,” Randy says. Employees are paid a salary plus commission, and are entitled to up to $500 a year toward continuing education expenses. He also arranges for educators to come to the salon and give training sessions. In past years, Currie nail technicians have been awarded with prestigious North American Hairstyling Awards in the nail makeover category and just this past year, Currie nail technician Meg Schulz was honored as a NAHA Nail Enhancement Artist of the Year.

The sanitation routine at Currie is designed for presentation as well as cleanliness. Nail technicians wash their hands with antibacterial soap before each client, then ask each client to wash her hands before her manicure. All stations are sprayed with disinfectant and wiped down after each service. Also, a crew of eight professionally cleans the entire salon once a week after hours.

The salon has been actively involved with a number of local and national charities including opening the salon on Sundays and donating all revenue from services that day to City of Hope. Other recipients of Currie’s largesse include the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and the Delaware Humane Society.

The salon and day spa has received local, national, and international recognition throughout the years. Currie’s artistic staff has impacted the professional beauty industry on a national and international level. Their creative makeovers have been featured in Alto Peinado, Celebrity Hairstyles, Color & Style, Inspire, Salon Innovator, Shades of Beauty, Snippets, and Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide. In addition, the salon has been featured in major consumer magazines such as Redbook, W, Harper’s Bazaar, and Town & Country.

Currie credits his success to the many hours he put in early on in his career working with some of the top industry figures. “I think the best thing to do is to try to place yourself around successful people,” he says. “You want to try to work in the most successful salon in your area and learn everything that person has to offer you. If you see someone who’s successful and you pattern yourself after them, then nine chances out of 10 you’ll also be successful.”

Making It Happen

Much of Awesome Nails’ success can be attributed to their close relationships – they even take their Harley motorcycles out for ridges together. Owner Mary Metscaviz opened the salon two years ago with the help of her longtime friend Darlene Feric.

Salon: Awesome Nails

Location: Grayslake, Ill.

Owner: Mary Metscaviz

Years in Business: 2

Specialties: pink-and-whites

Why they stand out: Although salon owner Mary Metscaviz has been in the nail industry for nearly 25 years, it wasn’t until two years ago that she opened her own salon – Awesome Nails in Grayslake, Ill. – along with her longtime friend and Nail Tech of the Year runner-up Darlene Feric. Her knowledge of the industry is evidenced by Awesome Nails’ semi-finalist standing in NAILS’ 1999 Salon of the Year awards – just one year after opening her salon. She started the salon with just two nail technicians, herself and Feric. As business began to grow, she brought on two more nail technicians. Now the salon has six nail techs – all independent contractors. To keep up-to-date on the latest products and techniques, the staff of Awesome Nails regularly attends trade shows and classes. They even go one step further in keeping abreast of the industry – they are involved in various beauty associations. In addition, Metscaviz and her nail technicians compete together in nail competitions. “Competing has brought our skill levels to new heights. We always try to achieve the perfect nail on each client. Clients come from as far away as 60 miles because the service they receive at Awesome Nails cannot be duplicated at another salon,” says Metscaviz.

Even after 24 years in the industry, Metscaviz’s enthusiasm for nails hasn’t waned. The salon participates in local events including the Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing, Grayslake Summer Days Parade, Miss Grayslake Pageant, and coaching for the Grayslake Colts Cheerleading Squad. The salon also belongs to the Chicago Cosmetology Association, National Cosmetology Association, and the Illinois Nail Technicians Association. Metscaviz regularly attends functions for these associations, which she says increase her knowledge in nail technology skills, new products and services, business management, networking, finance, and people skills.

Family Values

Each of the 16 nail stations are equipped with telephones and a state-of-the-art ventilation system that “sweeps” fumes out of the salon. Salon owners Megan Arambula and Karen Lampani make sure that every members of their staff – who are all booth renters – works well together and gets along, despite the fact that they are all their own boss.

Salon: Patrick’s Salon

Location: Lansing, Mich.

Owners: Megan Arambula and Karen Lampani

Years in Business: 2

Specialties: acrylics

Why they stand out: Megan Arambula and Karen Lampani have created such a superior salon that they’ve made it into the finalist category of these awards two years in a row. The 4,000-square-foot full-service salon has a staff that includes 15 nail technicians, four receptionists, and a massage therapist. Approximately 2,200 clients enter the salon per week. “It’s unique for a salon our size to be family owned,” Karen and Megan say. “Our staff are all independent contractors and it’s unique to have this many females all work under the same roof, who are their own boss, and still get along so well.”

In September 1998, Megan and Karen expanded Patrick’s into its current location, making it one of the premiere salons in the area. But even though the salon has expanded its service offerings, nails are still very much at the forefront. In fact, whirlpool pedicures have become the salon’s most profitable and fastest-growing service since they moved into their current its own state-of-the-art ventilation system that sweeps fumes out of the salon. In addition, every station is equipped with a phone to help receptionists stay in their area and help clients while still being able to communicate with the staff. The salon has a weekly newsletter informing staff members of new products, events, and changes taking place, and Megan and Karen hold staff meetings every three months. In addition to offering manicures and pedicures, the salon recently branched out to become a photo studio. On a bimonthly basis, the salon schedules a full day for clients to glamorize themselves for a photo shoot. After all, say the owners, what better place than a salon to make sure your nails, hair, and makeup look camera ready?

Patrick’s annually participates in a variety of charity events in their community.

Patrick’s goes above and beyond the Michigan State Board of Cosmetology’s laws of sanitation and hygiene by using an autoclave for sterilizing skin-cutting implements. It’s salon policy that nail technicians and clients was their hands before all services and each station provides educational materials on sanitation for clients.

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