On the Road: Embellish Nails & Boutique, Austin, Tex.

Two University of Texas grads left the business world to open a cozy nail salon and boutique close to campus in Austin.

Austin, Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It’s also the home of the University of Texas Longhorns. When I went to Austin last fall, my primary mission was to see three days of amazing music at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But I was happily surprised to run into a product of the University of Texas as well. Embellish Nails & Boutique was conceived by UT business school students Lisa McQueen and Wendy Pursch. The idea was to open a salon that fit somewhere in between “the high prices of day spas and the questionable cleanliness of neighborhood salons.” So after a few years in the business world, the two pampering-loving ladies set out to create something that fit all the criteria of what they would want in a nail salon.

And those criteria included a fun and stylish atmosphere where cleanliness and sanitation are not forgotten — think pink walls, chandeliers, comfy chairs and couches, your favorite chick flick playing on widescreen TV, and a retail boutique to rival the best gift shop in town. I instantly fell in love with the retail boutique, which offered everything from cards, candles, purses, T-shirts, and jewelry to soaps, lotions, and of course, nail polish and other beauty items.

The salon is a great mix of vintage and modern, creating a truly cozy feeling. I can see why the salon does a big business in bridal parties and other fun soirees. The 1,400-sq.-ft. salon has four big overstuffed chairs for pedicures, and a cool vintage pink couch that can accommodate two more. There is also a nail bar for manicures, and a private room for waxing services and facials. As new business owners both Wendy and Lisa spend countless hours at the salon making sure every last detail is being attended to.

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