On the Road: Nail Garden, Studio City, Calif.

Kim goes on the road to see how the Nail Garden earned 100 rave reviews on CitySearch.

Before I ever set foot in Nail Garden, I knew the salon must be doing something right. NAILS found out about the trendy Studio City salon from consumer reviews site, where it had more than 100 rave reviews; it had also won “Best of” awards from both Citysearch and The people had spoken — and, like many other web-savvy nail salon-goers, I listened and booked a manicure and pedicure appointment.

<p>Nail techs Angie Phan and Connie Mac work simultaneously on my Classic Manicure and Pedicure.</p>

One of the things I’ve learned in my year of working at the magazine is that referrals are one of the top ways that you, as nail techs and salon owners, grow your clientele. I was ready to get out from behind my desk and into a salon experience. During my visit, I thought it would be interesting to pay close attention to what was earning Nail Garden all these positive client recommendations.

<p>A unique variety of bamboo, green plants, and flowers are displayed throughout the salon and waiting room, giving the salon a “garden” feel.</p>

Owner Reham Bastawros clued me in on some of the added touches that set the salon apart. “We autoclave our implements, and open the newly sealed pouch in front of each client,” Bastawros says. “It’s an extra cost, but clients are impressed because they recognize that we use the same packaging they see at their dentist’s office.” This sentiment was echoed over and over again in user’s comments, showing that many clients really are sanitation-savvy. Plus, Bastawros told me the salon employs a cleaning crew who comes in every day to fold towels, autoclave implements, cut fruit slices for manicure bowls, and clean the salon after it closes for the day. This frees up her nail techs to concentrate on providing consistent nail services, another point that was noted online.

<p>Owner Reham Bastawros poses with me in front of the cappuccino and hot chocolate maker.</p>

Bastawros says this comes down to her stringent hiring practices. “Before a tech is hired, they pass an extensive test. During the technical test, if I notice even a tad of polish on the side of the model’s finger, the tech doesn’t get hired,” Bastawros says. She also ensures that all techs speak perfect English, so as not to alienate clients.

<p>Bastawros designed the salon herself, including the trellis through the middle, adding more foliage to the Nail Garden. The salon attracts a diverse clientele, including celebrities and a fair share of men.</p>

Like the many Citysearch users, I too enjoyed my nail services — and overall experience — at Nail Garden. The salon’s clientele has grown so fast that Bastawros will be opening her second and third salons in Sherman Oaks and Burbank, Calif. I’ll be checking up on these new locations online to see how they’re doing.

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