Nails Magazine

MAY 2017

Magazine for the professional nail industry.

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leader." The techs often pick up on his personable and lively energy, but he also outwardly encourages techs to build relationships with clients, in addition to executing killer nails. "I'm there to motivate the staff and remind them that there's more to it than manicures and pedicures," he says. "Our techs are interested in building their clientele and career, so when I give them feedback, they use it constructively." His coaching efforts have been successful, because most of his staff has been with Orchard since the beginning and are skilled in nail art and customer service. THE MENU: Amid the many all-natural salons popping up in Southern California, Orchard Nails offers traditional services like acrylics. Although Irwin admits that the scent isn't always appealing, the return rate of acrylic customers is. About 30% of Orchard's customers ask for acrylic services and he sees that number increasing. "People want coffin- and almond- shaped nails," he says. "There's always something sexy about having nails for women." Orchard also offers simpler natural and gel manicures as well as deluxe add-on services, like the O Therapy Session, which includes a 15-minute massage, hot oil bath, and moisture mask. "We call it O Therapy because you literally come and unwind, so it's like you went and saw your therapist for half the cost," Irwin jokes. But the salon isn't always geared toward unwinding. The salon throws celebratory events for holidays, like Mother's Day and Christmas, its two most profitable weekends of the year. For Christmas, every buyer of a $100 gift card is entered into a raffle for a year's worth of free pedicures. For Mother's Day, only upgraded services are available. "We go all out. We have a gourmet 1. The salon offers a wide selection of OPI polish. 2. Owner Thomas Kent Irwin, second from left, poses with three of his employees for a special event. 3. For the annual Mother's Day celebration, Irwin organizes a dessert bar and hires a florist to adorn the salon with fresh, festive flowers. 4. Owner Thomas Kent Irwin opted for a neutral color palette, but has plans to renovate the salon's decor with a more modern, Spanish feel by mid-2017. 1 2 3 4 dessert bar, we bring in live music, we hire a florist to put fresh flowers all over the salon, and our staff all wears matching outfits," he says. "It's become a tradition for a lot of people." THE DECOR: During events like these, the salon is decorated to dazzle from floor-to- ceiling. But during an average day, the decor of the salon is centered on relaxation, says Irwin. There are tumble travertine stone countertops and dark gray floors. Despite customers' praise of the current decor, he has plans to remodel the salon in the next six months to give it an updated, Spanish feel with Moroccan tiles. "It's going to look amazing," Irwin says. "Clients always ask us, 'Why are you going to remodel? It looks beautiful,' but we want to stay on top of the trends." THE CLIENTELE: Now, Orchard is often caught turning away business a few days a week with a 94% appointment booking rate. "We have loyal, regular clients and they aren't quick in-and-out types. They want to come, sit back, and relax," he says. Many clients used to live in upscale Orange County, Calif., and moved east to Corona because of its affordability, so Orchard's clients are often used to a little luxury. THE 'HOOD: "We have a lot of families and churchgoers, and young people who are starting families, and there is a whole division of retirees," Irwin says. The salon's proximity to Los Angeles has given the Orchard team glamorous opportunities to be on the Lifetime's series "Raising Asia" as well as "Little Women: L.A." "Our staff loves it and they feel encouraged to do the best job they can. It's a lot of work, but being on these shows promotes the salon and it's fun to see yourself on TV, even if it's for 10 seconds."

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