An Express Service for the Flying Crowd

My layover at Washington’s Dulles International Airport was a success! When I got off my plane, I saw that I actually had two and a half hours before my next flight left. So I made my way straight to the airport directory map and found Services on the menu. There was Butter London (yay!), but it said “Opening Soon” next to it (boo!). But wait, there was :10 Minute Manicure, and it said “Now Open” right next to it (yay, again!).
So I made my way over to the D concourse to see if I could get a service. When I got there I saw one nail tech giving a man a manicure. (Apparently about 1/3 of the clients this location sees are men.) There were a few other people in the salon. One was waiting to go next and one was sitting in the salon drying her nails after her service. I couldn’t believe there was only one nail tech working, but it was a weekday afternoon. Turns out they are understaffed and looking for more nail techs. (Click here if you’re interested in applying.) I wasn’t in a hurry, so I grabbed a chair and sat down to wait. (A second nail tech came in right when my service started and even with two nail techs, they had to turn some people away.)
The service menu has various options, with a 10-minute manicure (hence the name) and a 20-minute pedicure as the basic options. If you have more time, you can bump it up to a more deluxe service, but they are still pretty basic and quick. I got a Power Pedicure from nail tech Mai Loan Tran because I had the time. I couldn’t believe how many people came in to ask about services when I was there. A few grabbed chairs like I had done and decided to wait it out. A few said they’d come back later and made “unofficial” appointments for 30 minutes or an hour later. And some, those that were truly looking for something to fill their last 15 or so minutes on the ground, didn’t have time to wait.
A few interesting things I found out: The salon is open 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., seven days a week. The Dulles location has only been open for six weeks and they are still looking to hire more techs. Techs have to go through security screening before getting hired, but once they are approved they get airport employee badges like anyone else who works at the airport. They park in an employee parking lot that costs about $10 a day, but the :10 Minute Manicure pays for its employees parking. (That’s great!) The services are waterless and they use quality products. (I saw Creative, Essie, and a few boutique lines.) They have their own quick-dry polish formula with a nice array of colors. There’s also a small retail area with cosmetics, travel items, a few gift items, and some nail care.
All in all, I think it’s a really great idea. I just think they need to find more nail techs, which they’re working on. They’ve got a somewhat captive audience (for those who are stuck on long layovers) and it has the potential to pull in a lot of clients.
As I finished up and dashed out the door to catch my flight (we got busy chatting and I didn’t realize how long I’d been sitting there), women were still poking their heads in to inquire about service. Everyone seems to find it really intriguing.
— Hannah

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