Savvy Salon: Ciel Nail Spa
Though Ciel Nail Spa only opened its doors last April, owner Susan Khalulian has been working in the beauty and nails industry as a licensed tech, manager and owner for more than 10 years.
Khalulian saw an opportunity when the previous owners of the space that is now home to Ciel decided to close their doors. The nail boutique is named after Khalulian’s daughter, Ciel–a French name meaning sky or heaven. And the full-service nail salon certainly lives up to this moniker with its top-notch services, heavenly treatments and “the sky’s the limit” attitude.
5 Reasons Why We Think It’s Fabulous:
1.) Understanding the needs of a targeted market fuels business.
California State University Northridge (CSUN) is located less than two miles from Ciel. With a college student’s budget in mind, the spa offers CSUN students 15 percent off of their services year round with a valid college ID present. Khalulian explains, “I wanted something nice for this area … we get a lot of college students … I’m proud to bring a beautiful high-end looking salon to the neighborhood with affordable prices.” Nail art is one of the top requests from the younger clientele with stiletto nails being extremely trendy now.
2.) The staff makes it work.
“I have a great staff, I got lucky. They just do it!” says Khalulian. The seven licensed nail techs come with different backgrounds and abilities but because they all work as a team, are able to steadily build business. If one tech isn’t as experienced with intricate nail art as a tech who is finishing up with a client, the less experienced tech will get the client started for her coworker until she’s finished. “I love doing this! I do nails if I have to,” says Khalulian.
3.) Practical use of space appeals to both women and men.
Since the space where Ciel opened was already an existing salon before Khalulian took over, there wasn’t as much to do regarding the big stuff. “I tore down the wallpaper that was here and softened the look a bit, but I used a lot of what was already here,” explains Khalulian. Originally, Khalulian confesses that she wanted a more feminine look to go along with the spa’s name. However, she decided to go with a clean and simple look for not only financial reasons but to make sure that men would also be comfortable in the space. And it seems to be working. At the time of our interview, she had one male client in for his very first pedicure with another considering it!
4.) Cost-effective advertising gets the word out.
Ciel is successfully utilizing low-cost methods for building its initial clientele. It has its own Facebook page, Instagram and website. The social media pages are updated regularly with new nail art. Special promotions and deals are offered to nearby college students, and the use of strategic signage helps clients find their way to the nail boutique, which is located on the second level of a busy strip mall. Because there can be congested traffic around the mall, additional smaller signs for Ciel are used at the mall’s entrances.
5.) Safety is taken seriously for clients and techs.
In addition to the autoclaves used to sterilize tools, the one-time use disposable implements, and the clutter-free and clean environment at Ciel, the staff communicates with their clients before services begin. For instance, when a paraffin dip is offered as an add-on service, the client is asked first about any allergies since some people are known to be highly allergic to petroleum. In addition, when a tech wears gloves for her own safety, this is explained to the client in a professional way in order to make the client feel more comfortable.
Year Founded: 2013
Owner: Susan Khalulian
Address/Phone: 18429 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91325; 818.998.2720
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Best Selling Service: Acrylics
[Images: Ciel Nail Spa]