Our Salon Design Of The Month series aims to bring you the very best salon interior inspiration and tips and recommendations from real salon owners. This month, we catch up with Sophie Raymond, owner of A Hint Of Beauty based in Pembrokeshire. Sophie has created a truly stunning home-based nail salon where she specialises in gel polish, builder gel, acrylics, Elim pedicures, and more.
How did your salon ‘A Hint Of Beauty’ begin?
In the middle of my maternity leave, which just so happened to be the beginning of the pandemic (oh, I do pick my timings), I decided that life was far too short to spend every day in a career that made me miserable & that it was time to follow my dreams & pursue a career in the beauty industry something I initially intended on pursuing after graduating.
I have always been a creative individual with a penchant for all things beauty. I started out doing lash extensions & brows in my dressing room, but in June 2021, I branched out into nails & invested in a home-based salon/studio space.
I love nothing more than making others feel good about themselves, and a career in the beauty industry just made sense.
How did you decide upon the design of your salon?
I wanted to create a luxurious yet relaxed, intimate 1-1 space where my clients could come to unwind and escape for an hour or two, with an aesthetic that reflected my personality. Everyone knows me as that French interior-obsessed girly girl, so with a nod to my love of French rococo decor, I’ve added panelling, ornate mirrors & a vintage French glass cabinet that is brimming with beautiful pink Glitterbels gel polish bottles.
I’ve tried to encapsulate that luxe vibe I myself seek from a boutique salon, but on a smaller home-based scale (which I hope is also reflected in my treatments). I really do believe that both decor & in turn, the atmosphere can really enhance the treatment experience.
What are some of your favourite products & tools to use in your salon?
I am a major Glitterbels addict & adore everything Annabel and her beautiful brand stand for (the fact that everything is pink, gold & girly is a major perk), so much so that I’ve even invested in the dreamy Glitterbels desk, which I feel not only completes my space but also adds to the nails by Annabel experience.
When it comes to tools, I firmly believe in the saying “buy cheap, but twice” so I have invested in both the Willow academy & Navy pro range (ah, I can smell that signature Navy scent, fondly known as the sexy man in a bottle by my clients as I write this).
How do you stand out from your competitors?
I don’t like to refer to other technicians & business owners as competition. We all bring something unique to the table that attracts different client bases (after receiving invaluable training from the nail business success club, I’ve realised that knowing your niche & in turn, knowing how to attract your ideal client will help you stand out). The support that I have received from fellow talented local techs has been amazing (some of which are now part of my client base, which I see as a massive compliment).
What do you think makes a successful salon?
Personally, I think service is everything. Every client that walks through the door should be made to feel special & in turn, leave feeling like a million dollars. What’s the point in having a beautiful insta worthy salon if you do not have the customer service to match? Clients buy into the tech themselves as much as they do the salon & treatments. I also think that ongoing training & keeping up to date with industry standards and trends is vital.
How do you think social media has influenced the industry?
I think that social media has influenced the industry MASSIVELY & in some ways, I feel for the better (clients are becoming increasingly aware of treatment processes & expected standards). It’s also an amazing & free way of getting your name out there! I would say that about 50% of my client base has come from social media, with many stating that my feed pictures (specifically those of either a set or salon space) drew them in.
How do you keep up to date with industry trends?
I like to follow the leading industry professionals and brands to keep up with the latest trends. I also love to attend masterclasses & training days.
What advice can you give to others wanting to open a salon?
Never compare yourself to others, work hard, find your niche, don’t give up and just go for it!
What can we expect from your salon business in 2022 & beyond?
In the future, I would love to expand further. The intention is to build a more spacious studio (to be able to separate treatment spaces), but for now, I have recently added luxury pedicures to my treatment list, so I am currently in the process of creating a luxe Pedi area to match.
Get The Look!
Feel inspired by Sophie’s stunning salon interior? Discover the stunning Glitterbels Deluxe Single Nail Desk, which you can buy here at Salons Direct.
The showstopping Glitterbels Deluxe Single Nail Desk is a stylish, modern manicure station with washable buttoned fabric and a high-sheen surface for easy cleaning after every client.
- Two cupboards.
- Two drawers.
- One shelf.
- Dimensions: Width: 55cm, Height: 78cm, Length: 151cm.
Follow Sophie on Instagram @_ahintofbeauty
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