On The Road at Sugarcoat

I recently visited my hometown of Atlanta and, during a visit to a local nail salon, I noticed one crucial way that nail salons can help set themselves apart from the unfair “dime a dozen” stereotype — branding.
Sugarcoat: A Nail and Beauty Bar in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood stands out amongst the other salons in the city because it’s developed a unique brand that’s reinforced through every aspect of its business. This brand recognition has helped it earn consumer choice awards, a large repeat clientele, and a hopping spa party scene. The branding ideas of this natural nails-only salon can definitely help your own salon stand out.
A crystal chandelier serves as the distinctive icon for the salon. Co-owners Colette Lievano and Christie Shepard bought the unique chandelier to hang in the space, then commissioned Atlanta graphic artist Sheila Aldridge to draw a rendition of it to use in other places, like a large wall decal. The duo also commissioned Tracey Potter, of TAP Design Studio in Chicago, to create the fitting Sugarcoat logo, a girly cursive design with fun flourishes that appears on a large menu board, the printed menu, business cards, and other promotional materials.
The salon even sells a line of T-shirts that promote its business. With cute phrases like “Got sugar?” (with “Sugarcoat” named on the back) or the chandelier drawing, the popular shirts can be seen throughout the city. “The shirts started out as part of the salon uniform, but clients kept asking about them so we added them to our retail selection,” Lievano says.
The website, designed by Shepard, also does a great job introducing the brand. The look matches the look of the salon, with pink as the dominant color. The website was placed on the Internet even before the salon opened and has evolved over time with the business. The pink theme connects it with the physical space as pink backrests grace the pedicure banquette, pink buffer blocks are used during nail services, and aprons in pink and the chosen accent color of brown are worn by employees. The salon left such a solid impression on me that I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends back in Georgia’s capital city. (To see even more pictures of Sugarcoat, check out NAILS June issue.)

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