Canadian Salons Wrap Up Two Divisions

The Nail Shoppe, owned by Debbie and Gary Krakalovich, in Toronto Canada is crowned a winner. 

<p>If you could only smell it! Between the freshly brewed gourmet coffee, the fresh flowers, and&nbsp;nary a trace of acrylic odor, The Nail Shoppe is a blessing for those with finicky noses.&nbsp;</p>

The Nail Shoppe

Winner: Salon With 1-3 and 4-7 Nail Technicians

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Owners: Debbie and Gary Krakalovich

Years in business: I (1-3) and 6 (4-7)

Staff size: II in both locations (3 and 6 nail technicians, respectively)

The Nail Shoppe in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, finished as a runner-up in the Salon of the Year Awards two years ago; now husband-and-wife owners Debbie and Gary Krakalovich have taken home the big prize---in two categories. Decorated in mostly earth tones, the salons are a haven for clients and a motivating force for 11 employees. Both salons caught the judge’s eye for outstanding decor as well as high standards of business practices and performance from their nail technicians.

The Krakaloviches bring well-rounded backgrounds to their salon operation, and the transition from their other careers is practically “seamless.” Gary handles much of the salon business operation, although he still works as a realtor. Debbie has graduated from participating in major nail competitions to judging them, and is one of Canada’s best-known nail technicians. To her resume, she’s now added school owner/instructor. Unable to find qualified nail technicians who met her standard of excellence (Canada does not have nail technician licensing), Debbie started her own school to cultivate not only the future staff of Nail Shoppe but to raise the quality of work being done in her area.

<p>The NAILS Industry Awards judges recognized Debbie's contributions to the worldwide nail industry. here, she accepts the Nail Technician of the Year at the 7th Annual Canadian Hairsstylist of the Year Awards last November.&nbsp;</p>

For both Nail Shoppes, the sum of its whole is greater than its parts. Expert nail technicians, streamlined business policies, progressive leadership, aggressive public relations, and gorgeous facilities all work together. Each of these factors enhance all the others. Eye-catching public relations help to draw clients to the salons, which in turn is a pleasant respite for their clients, who are mostly busy Toronto professionals. These clients keep coming back, as the services they receive from The Nail Shoppes’ highly trained nail technicians.

<p>If at once you don't succeed, try, try again. Debbie and Gary Krakalovich, owners of The Nail Shoppes in Toronto, Canada, did so with a vengeance. They succeeded twice in one night, whic his a first for the NAILS Industry Awards.&nbsp;</p>

The Nail Shoppe, Where Art and Business Merge

The Nail Shoppe on Yonge and Queen Streets is in a busy section of Toronto; it is situated among jewelry stores in a stately concrete and brick building. Four of the six nail technician workstations line a wall of mostly windows that overlook Yonge Street. The salon has high ceilings and expansive views from the large windows. With lots of natural lighting, the salon has a warm, light feeling. The salon’s color scheme is mauve and teal, but these colors are used mostly as accents. Its hardwood floors and Persian carpets give it richness, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors at one end of the salon give it depth. Along with recessed ceiling lights, all these elements blend to create a refreshing atmosphere, both for clients to relax in and for the salon staff to work in.

One of the greatest strengths of this salon is how it has harnessed the power of public relations. In doing so, it has brought well-deserved attention to its nail technicians; much of the salon’s literature and its print and broadcast media tout The Nail Shoppe’s international award-winning status. From business reviews in Toronto-area newspapers to fashion shows, the salon is big news. It’s not just the coverage that’s outstanding; it’s events the salon participates in that really earn it ink. The Nail Shoppe got a write-up in flare, a Canadian fashion magazine, for a custom color for spring that Debbie created under the salon’s private label nail polish.

What put this salon over the top in its division is its underlying philosophy that image is important but it isn’t everything. The owners use solid business policies and procedures that keep nail technicians on track and clients happy. The salon’s employee handbook is full of detailed policies outlining how the salon works, the owners’ expectations of nail technicians’ job performance and their standards for advancement, and benefits packages that are available. The Krakaloviches have made it easy for their nail technicians to reach their highest potential as professionals. They support and encourage them to compete, and the on-site training with The Nail Shoppe’s nail school keeps nail technicians’ technical skills up to the highest standards.

The Nail Shoppe, Sleek and Elegant

The Krakaloviches used top interior designers to create warm, relaxing atmosphere at The Nail Shoppe on Yonge and Eglionton. In just 800 square feet of space, the salon is home to three nail technicians, a reception area, and small kitchen. The furniture was custom-built to complement the European styling of the rest of the salon. Vaulted ceilings and mahogany floors are dramatic, fresh flowers breathe life, and Persian carpets add a cosmopolitan flair.

It’s not just its general gorgeousness that scored The Nail Shoppe high scores for salon decor (one judge couldn’t give it enough points; a 10++ was the best she could do). But the decor complements the needs of a nail salon. The nail drying station is nestled against the staircase, and it is wired to supply power to as many UV lights as needed. Rather than shunting clients into a restroom to wash their hands during a service, the sink is on the salon floor for convenience, but it’s spectacle in itself. The basin is glossy-black porcelain with a matching stand, and the fixtures are silver and bronze. Above the sink is a grand mirror fit for a queen. Tall and slender, it is framed and stained in wood that matches the floors.

Both Nail Shoppes emphasize continuing education for nail technicians to uphold their fantastic reputation for doing great nails. All nail technicians on their staffs are required to participate in at least two hours of in salon workshops per month and one tradeshow per year. The owners support nail technicians traveling to shows by paying class fees as well as assisting with accommodations and travel expenses. (50 percent of all the salon’s retail profits is contributed to an educational savings account to take care of these expenses).

The Nail Shoppes integrate simplicity and elegance with a fierce dedication to salon sanitation and cleanliness. The owners have addressed consumers’ fears by developing specific --- to be done in front of the client--- for implements, furnishings, clients, and nail technicians. Each client is given a plush terry-cloth towel at the start of the service; the individual towel assures proper hygiene, but it also gives the client a sense of pampering. Clients can also purchase their own implement kits, either for use in the salon or to take with them.

What sets this salon apart from the rest is the way it positioned its staff, particularly Debbie, as experts on nails, not only in Canada but in the U.S as well. The salon has received high reviews in Toronto for its services; Debbie is a primary industry source for consumer beauty magazine articles, and she serves as contributing editor at Salon, a Canadian trade beauty magazine. Many of the salon’s nail technicians compete at nail competitions, and Debbie is an educational sales consultant for Creative Nail Design Systems. She was also elected to serve on the board of the Nail’s Industry Association as vice president and is a member of NAILS’ editorial advisory board. With dedication to the nail industry, the Krakaloviches have not only created an image of superiority in the nail business, they have created a business that lives up to it. If anyone brings the Canadian nail industry to a higher level of excellence and professionalism, it’ll be the crack team of the Krakaloviches.

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