Around 4 years back, Darshana Patil opened her nail spa and studio – Elan Nail Studio and Spa, in a lovely, growing part of Bangalore – Whitefield. Since then, she’s come a long way, building a long list of loyal customers while constantly adding new ones. It’s hardly surprising though, given the kind of passion and dedication she has. She loves her job, constantly keeps up with international trends and makes sure she uses the best products in the industry. We caught up with her for a quick chat that lends a whole new perspective to the field of nail art.
Q: How did you think of setting up a nail spa?
A: I was in to merchandise and fashion field. Although it was the best experience I had a very hectic schedule which included lots of traveling and long hours. After 20 years of doing that, I decided on doing something which is fun and something I’ve always loved and been fascinated by and here I am.
Q:What are the services you provide?
A:From the basic nail grooming services to manicures and pedicures, from nail extensions to elaborate nail designs, we do it all. We are in fact, a one stop shop for nails. All our designs are created by free hand using brushes, sponges, etc. Doing nails is actually an art and we do exactly that. We don’t use any sort of ready made stickers or stamps.We also have a small spa area where we provide shoulder and back massages and foot reflexology.
Q:Do you have any particular style of service?
A:I personally make it a point to make sure I know all my guests personally. It’s important to know their likes, dislikes and lifestyle as it helps in determining which service would suit them the best. I also deliberately rotate staff to make sure each customer is comfortable with all girls. Breaking ice is necessary. I want my nail spa to be service driven and not people driver.
Q:What is your pricing like?
A:Simple nail art starts from Rs. 150 per nail. This may be a simple flower or a stroke. It can go up to Rs. 500 to Rs.1000. Things like time and materials affect the costs Example: A design that takes longer to get done, or one that uses Swaroski will cost more.
We have tried to keep our rates reasonable because for me, it’s more about having a happy client getting what is best suited for her. I am not going to recommend something expensive just to make money.
Q:How popular are nail spas and services in India as of now?
A:Abroad, women really take care of their hands and feet. Even if the manicures and pedicures aren’t trend or fashion driven, they are a basic grooming practice that is usually done once every 2-3 weeks. In India it’s a completely different case. It’s the socialites and expats who form the majority percentage of my guests. For socialites, it’s almost a necessary accessory. Housewives are sadly not into the trend. Working women are slowly picking it up. I would love to see more women embrace the trend.
Q:Did you receive any professional training in the field?
A:I did an advanced nail enhancement course in Singapore that covers everything – sanitation, sterilization, manicure, pedicure, nail art, nail extension, everything.
Q:Is a nail spa a profitable venture?
A:Its a definitely profitable venture provided there is high customer satisfaction.
Q:Any suggestions for people who may be looking at entering this business?
A:The first and the foremost thing is passion. You need to have a passion for nails. And the second thing that is absolutely necessary, is knowledge. Unfortunately every second salon writes ‘nails’ on their services list, but in reality, many of them don’t even know how to file nails correctly. I am not boasting about myself or my staff here but we have really taken a lot of time and effort into learning and understanding the correct techniques.
Q:Any basic nail tips you’d like to share with our readers?
– Put strengthener
– Apply cuticle oil regularly.
– Eat lot of calcium and biotin for stronger nails.
– Get a pedicure and manicure every 2 to 3 weeks for nails healthier
– Always apply a base coat before you apply nail polish, no matter how popular a brand of nail polish you put.
Final Pro Tips :
– French manicures are perfect for working women who would like to keep things classy.
– Neutral colors or corals and reds go well with all the clothes.