Eco-Friendly Salons Go Mainstream

Determined to break the mold of a quickie salon with mediocre quality and service, this dynamic duo brought a new salon concept to market. And the market was ready. 

<p>Nail desks were custom-built in Atlanta from recycled plywood and are equipped with built-in LED lights.&nbsp;</p>
Servet Nguyen and Nick Do wanted to offer clients an experience beyond the rush-in, rush-out appointments available at so many corner nail salons. “We wanted a place that didn’t cut corners and where clients could make appointments rather than being told they had a five minute wait when it was really a half hour or more,” says Nguyen. “We wanted to create a place with a different vibe.”
The two friends brainstormed their wish list and arrived at the concept for Posh! Nail Company. Posh! had two goals: to provide an upscale experience where clients could receive spa-quality services at the same price as discount salons, and to offer it in an eco-friendly environment.
Nguyen and Do were introduced to each other through mutual contacts. They connected easily, in part because of their similar backgrounds, but mainly because of their shared passion for the possibility of creating a new prototype for the “area salon.”
Servet Nguyen grew up in Southern California, but at 14, he moved by himself to the Midwest. Despite a difficult time living on his own without family or friends, he eventually completed high school and went on to earn a degree in computer science. He also built businesses. In 2001, he opened a nail salon called Pretty Nails and by 2007, Nguyen opened a nail supply store. He brings business knowledge and experience to the partnership.
Nick Do grew up in Le Val-d’Oise, a suburb of Paris. He came to the United States without family and struggled to succeed alone in an unfamiliar environment. Like Nguyen, he put himself through high school, and eventually graduated from college with a degree in computer engineering. His background influenced his desire to open a “European-type” salon in the United States, one that focused on beauty, quality products, and hospitable service.
Both men had worked in nail salons before and knew they wanted to do things differently. Both had noticed customer service deteriorating, sanitation guidelines being neglected, and technicians cutting corners. Their frustration was the catalyst to venture out on their own to build the brand Posh!
<p>The clean lines, soft blue, and colorful chandelier all work together to create the feel of Hollywood glam.</p>
The first Posh! salon opened in 2011. Within six months, a second location was added, and by February 2013, a third Posh! opened in Dublin, Ohio. It seemed the friends had hit it right: The market was ready for an eco-friendly salon that offered convenience without skimping on sanitation, quality, and atmosphere.
The vibe at Posh! is sleek, modern, and clean. White and soft blue create a warm mood; the open space with clean lines gives the salon an open, uncluttered feel. They describe their look as “Hollywood glam with a touch of comfort and vintage decor.”
Do and Nguyen took care to consider details small and large to see where they could make choices that not only created the right atmosphere in the salon, but also remained eco-friendly. From opting for energy-efficient light bulbs to choosing to manufacture the salon furniture in Atlanta from recycled plywood, the pair took pains to build consciously. Each of the custom nail desks is self-ventilated and has a shelf with built-in LED lights. Technicians use washable hand towels to reduce on paper usage, and no paper cups are used when staff serve refreshments. 
For guests enjoying natural nail services, the products are eco-friendly. Nguyen and Do choose organic products whenever feasible, especially in places that matter most. Nail polish is three-free, and polish remover contains no acetone — even when techs remove gel-polish. Posh! makes its own sugar scrubs using a custom blend of organic oils and sugar. Finally, to keep the main area of the salon free from any odor, Posh! Nail Company has a private, ventilated room for enhancement services. 
<p>Autoclaved instruments are one way Posh! raises the bar on salon standards.</p>
Though most clients notice something is different when they enter the salon, the staff at Posh! takes time to educate clients about what makes the salon unique. “When someone calls to schedule, we take that opportunity to let them know what is different about our salon,” says Nguyen. “We also often give a 10-minute consultation when clients arrive.” During the consultation, techs let clients know about their eco-friendly values and the steps they take to ensure client safety, such as autoclaving instruments and choosing disposable, one-time-use files and buffers. 
Nguyen and Do know that to build their brand, clients who come to the salon for hand and feet therapy, waxing, or facials need to know what makes the salon different. They want to build client loyalty by educating clients on all the ways Posh! salon’s values and concerns mirror those of the clients. 
As an added bonus, clients receive a complimentary beverage, nail repairs at no additional charge, a free polish change within seven days of a service, and customer loyalty points.
<p>Servet Nguyen (left) and Nick Do enjoy knowing they have achieved their goal of opening their dream salon.&nbsp;</p>
Along with eco-friendly values and high sanitation standards, the two men are doing some things old school: they want to build their business on pre-booked appointments and build relationships with their clients. Instead of avoiding the connection between tech and client, the pair understands that relationships build loyalty, and loyalty builds a better business. And clients take note of this. “We’ve had clients tell us they come here because they like the beautiful manicures, but it’s our customer service that keeps them coming back,” says Nguyen.  
<p>Posh! sugar scrubs are made in-house from organic ingredients.&nbsp;</p>
The central Ohio region was ready for the eco-friendly concept with a fusion of the convenience customers had come to expect from discount salons with the service and sanitation standards typically assigned to higher-end salons. And Nguyen and Do are betting other parts of the country are ready as well. With three salons in as many years, the pair realized their business plan could be used as a template to help others achieve their dream, and this year they began franchising the Posh! brand. 


Salon name: Posh! Nail Company

Location: Dublin, Ohio

Owners: Servet Nguyen and Nick Do

Square Footage: 2,200

Opened: February 2011

Number of Nail Techs/Total Staff: 6/8

Specialties: Bridal parties, eco-friendly environment

Compensation: Commission


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