(Original article can be found HERE.)
Welcome to our feature “NAILPRO-file” where we highlight neighborhood nail salons and their owners from around the country and around the globe!
This week’s salon is in Wisconsin! Meet owner and nail tech Annette Calvillo of Fill 413 Nail Studio LLC!
Salon Name: Fill 413 Nail Studio LLC
Salon Open Since: October 1, 2013
Salon Address: 496 W. Main St., Waukesha, WI 53186
Salon Phone: (262) 720-8030
Salon Website: www.fill413nailstudio.com
Tell us how you decided to open your own salon.
I always dreamed of owning my own business when I was in high school. After working for someone else in a spa and hair salon environment, I knew I wanted to be my own boss and run my business the way I felt it should be run. I wanted my own space and not rent a table or share space with ties to someone else. I learned a lot working for someone else. I learned the do’s and don’ts. Working for someone right out of nail school was beneficial to get the experience I needed because there is so much you have to be aware of when running a business as well as skills and technique. I have seen so many nail techs rent space or a table and fail.
I knew I was taking a big risk starting with no clientele, and because I worked over an hour away, it was unlikely my clients would follow. I’d have to start from scratch. But I was confident in my services that word of mouth was going to be my biggest marketing tool. I knew it would be important to join the downtown business association and get involved.
When I decided to open my own place, I drove around for days looking for a space that would suit me. I fell in love with the location I am in. It was vacant and a real estate sign was in the window. The space had been used for a school for disabled students but the tenant was retiring. The students had their handprints on the walls with a quote, “The art of giving begins in the heart… and achieved with many helping hands.” What is our main tool we use as nail techs? We use our hands! As soon as I walked in I knew this was the place!
The design of my studio was my vision on a very tight budget. We removed all the handprints except for one. I wanted to keep a piece of what the space was before. Below that handprint will be another tiny handprint of a special little girl in our life who has Down Syndrome. I am so proud of the fact that I was able to make a space that needed a lot of work look the way it does today! It is warm and inviting capturing the history and the architecture of the 1930’s building.
What sets you apart from other salons in your area?
My nail studio is a nails only higher end studio. I have introduced the WATERLESS manicure and WATERLESS pedicure. Not many places offer waterless. I have taken the information I have received from clients who have had bad experiences at places where sanitation and safety was not done properly and made it my primary focus. My goal is to be a 5 star “safe salon” rating. I focus on taking the steps to make sure I keep my clients safe and myself, too. I use single use items only. All my implements are sanitized and disinfected according to WI state regulations. Soft and luxurious sanitized hot towels are used instead of a foot spa avoiding the cumbersome task of properly cleaning the foot spa and jets. By going WATERLESS, this service technique saves two to five gallons of water per each pedicure service and eliminates the risk associated with water-borne bacteria making it safer for clients and better for our environment.
What is your most popular service?
The WATERLESS pedicure receives the most positive feedback. The manicure has similar steps. When a client comes in for their service, they receive a warm welcome. They fill out a client intake form. I document all color choices and miscellaneous notes for each client. They are offered bottled water with the option of cucumber and lemon sprig to put inside the water, gourmet coffee and teas. For the SPA WATERLESS pedicure, the client will sit in a comfortable leather chair. Since there is no basin of water, their feet are placed on a soft velour towel with a warm heating pad placed underneath. The client is asked to relax, take a deep breath in and out. I then have them close their eyes as I place each essential oil under their nose to choose the aroma that is most appealing to them. This is the oil that I will incorporate into their service. The feet are sprayed with N.A.S. 99% and wrapped in hot towels locking in the heat and moisture with clear plastic bags. They have the option to listen to the calming spa music playing in the studio or listen to their own music with Bose headphones blocking out any ambient noise. The toes are brushed with a nailbrush, cuticle clean up and nail trimming is done. The scrub is removed with hot towels, the mask is applied and wrapped in hot towels and removed, a leg massage and polish application will complete their service.
What products do you use in your salon and why did you choose them?
I use a variety of professional brands for various application services but for the treatments themselves I purchase from various wholesale and retail vendors throughout the United States. I use 100% pure essential oils. The mask and scrub are custom made for each client. The Kaolin clay I use to make the mask is from England. It is cosmetic grade, approved by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Known for its healing properties, raw, unrefined, 100% pure organic shea butter containing no additives is used to moisturize the skin. When shea butter is processed, it is stripped of its natural healing properties. This is why I chose to use shea butter in its raw form. For the exfoliating process, I use a custom-made sugar scrub or Dead Sea salt scrub. Grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and pure Aloe Vera are used in the mask and Dead Sea salt scrub with the pure essential oil the client chooses. The massage oil containing botanical extracts of sea algae, green tea, which is vegan, gluten and paraben free, rich in vitamins A & E, contains Jojoba, making it safe for sensitive skin. Because I have an autoimmune disorder and gluten sensitive, products I use keeps not only my health and safety in mind but others who may have similar health concerns. It is important I take that extra step.
Do you offer retail?
At the moment I do not sell retail. My goal is to sell at-home after care items for hands and feet. I am also looking into jewelry and accessories for the hands and feet that are fashion forward and trend setting made from local artists at a reasonable price point. I do not plan on selling polish.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your business?
I will cherish this compliment always. “This is soooo nice! Your place is not like the other places.”
What is your craziest/funniest salon story?
This did not happen at my new location but a place I worked in the past. I still laugh thinking about it! A gentleman was receiving multiple spa services that day and his pedicure was with me. He fell asleep in the pedicure chair with his robe open. He was naked underneath. I couldn’t look up at all! The owner shut the lights off and I pointed the floor lamp away. When he woke up he didn’t even flinch that his robe was slightly open. When he checked out, he wanted to reschedule with the same massage therapist and me. The massage therapist was not available that day so he just scheduled his pedicure with me. When he came back for his pedicure appointment he tells the receptionist he will change into his robe.
What advice can you give to other salon owners?
Always be professional. You are the “marketing” of your brand whether you work for someone else, rent a table or lease space. What you do, how you act comes back to you. Continue to perfect your skill level and learn new techniques by attending shows, workshops and classes. Keep up with the trends. Educate yourself about product knowledge. Always dress for success even if you don’t feel like it. If you look like a train wreck why would a client trust that you have their sanitation and safety a priority?
Also, keep your personal issues personal especially if it is negative. If a client is dealing with their own negative issues, it is a lot of weight for them to take on your stuff, too. Also, make it a good practice to never talk negatively about other salons, nail techs or clients. I am a believer that “what goes around, comes around.” By being positive and humble you never know whose life you will touch in a loving and positive way.
You can find Fill 413 Nail Studio LLC on the web:
Facebook: Fill 413 Nail Studio LLC
Linked In: Annette Calvillo
Pinterest: Annette Calvillo