Smith designed the space to encourage clients to feel like they’re on vacation. 
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Smith designed the space to encourage clients to feel like they’re on vacation. 

The clean and sleek design offers clients a spa-like experience.
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The clean and sleek design offers clients a spa-like experience.

Taking Matters Into Her Own Nails 

Most people who have a bad manicure experience do a little research until they find a new place to have their nails done. But most people are not Priscilla Smith, owner and founder of Paixão Nail and Beauty Bar in Albuquerque, N.M. Smith was so put off by a negative service at her local salon that she decided to leave behind a decade in property management for the nail industry. “Learning the proper way to maintain nail health became a priority for me,” she says. By coupling the business skills she acquired as a property manager with her nail training (she studied with Young Nails’ Greg Salo), Smith opened the doors to Paixão, which she aptly named after the Portuguese word for passion.

Smith cultivates team spirit by holding monthly staff meetings and providing training to new-hires. 
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Smith cultivates team spirit by holding monthly staff meetings and providing training to new-hires. 

Luxurious pedicure stations provide a comfortable space for clients to receive services like the salon’s signature Hot Towel Pedicure. 
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Luxurious pedicure stations provide a comfortable space for clients to receive services like the salon’s signature Hot Towel Pedicure. 

Shaping the Techs of Tomorrow 

Smith decided to use her salon to nurture talented nail techs of the future by hiring recent graduates. “I hired every single one of my technicians fresh out of beauty school, both cosmetologists with a passion for nails and recent nail licensees,” she said. “I’m fortunate that they’ve bought into the vision I have for my company and allowed me to mentor them.” Smith creates a warm and friendly environment for her staff by running monthly meetings to discuss the biggest nail trends, challenges, and ways to innovate at the salon. New-hires are given several weeks of hands-on training, ensuring they provide services up to her standards while offering clients the option of booking services at different price points. 

Salon owner Priscilla Smith named Paixão after the Portuguese word for passion. 
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Salon owner Priscilla Smith named Paixão after the Portuguese word for passion. 

A Cool and Clean Oasis 

Paixão is unique in that the salon, which is located in the heart of Albuquerque, uses cool tones of mint and gray to evoke a refreshing and relaxing environment. The aesthetic reinforces the salon’s super-clean standards, which are a priority for Smith. “We consider all of our services to be a unique spa experience, offering unparalleled standards in salon hygiene including use of a state-of-the-art autoclave,” she says. Smith also ensures that her team has access to the best professional product lines. “As a company we know that we have to believe in the products we use and understand why we use them,” she says.

The Go-To Salon for Locals and Visitors 

A loyal base of clients visits Paixão for a multitude of services. “What’s great about our city is people love to support local businesses,” says Smith, whose clients come from near and far to experience her salon. Along with a full menu of nail services that includes gels, acrylics, and nail art, Paixão also offers waxing, full lash/brow treatments, and hair services.

It’s not just the clientele who recognize Paixão for its exemplary staff, services, aesthetic, and cleanliness; the salon was recognized with the Best Nail Salon in Albuquerque Award two years in a row, 2017 and 2018. Along with opening more locations in the future, Smith has big plans for the award-winning salon. “I would love to build a beauty school, where students would get all the important training necessary to be successful while in school.”

 

Quick Look
Salon Name:
Paixão Nail and Beauty Bar
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Owner: Priscilla Smith
Square footage: 2,600
Opened: September 2016
Number of nail techs/employees: 11/14
Specialties: Waterless, hot towel pedicure
Compensation structure: Commission
Website: www.paixaobeautybar.com