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Cosmetology in Richmond: A Cut Above

May 9, 2011

By Lizi Arbogast
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – In a time of economic hardship, high-priced haircuts, manicures and spa treatments may be thought of as a luxury. But in Richmond, the cosmetology is business is doing as well as ever. Some salons have even been able to grow.

“You always find a way to make sure you get your hair cut and colored and things like that,” said Lindsay Glasco, marketing manager for Mango Salon. “For the very small percentage that were truly really affected (by the financial downturn), we helped them find a way to still stay here.”

Mango began in 2003 with a salon in the Libbie & Grove shopping center. Last October, Mango was able to open its second salon in Short Pump.

The second shop was opened after careful planning by Pat and Bobbi Heaney, the husband-and-wife partners who own the business.

“Pat really researched the Short Pump area for a while,” Glasco said. “He was trying to figure out where the best location would be and the best opportunity would be for this place.”

According to Glasco, the research phase took almost two years before the Heaneys opened the second salon. It was important to the couple to have a salon different from the one on Libbie Avenue. Mango Short Pump is more modern, with a black and white design, while the Libbie location is larger and more colorful.

Both Mango salons offer similar services, including hair cutting (with prices ranging up to $60 for men and $85 for women), coloring and extensions as well as facial waxing. The Mango on Libbie Avenue also provides manicures. While some salons have grown into full-service spas to draw in new clients and keep older ones, Mango has taken a different approach.

The Heaneys “really wanted to concentrate on one thing and do it excellently … and not spread themselves too thin,” Glasco said.

Mango, like many salons in the Short Pump area, tries to cater to a more affluent market. Glasco said that the demographic began with mostly middle-aged women, but the trend is moving to a younger crowd.

Glasco said the salon prides itself on having an above-average retention rate with customers. According to Mango’s owners, the average salon retains 25 percent of its new customers. Mango retains almost 50 percent.

“When people who come and work at Mango … you kind of stay,” Glasco said. “It’s such a great environment. It’s the kind of place that you find a home.”

Nesbit, a salon and spa in Richmond’s Fan neighborhood, is similar to Mango in that both salons have cultivated loyal clienteles. Nesbit is different from Mango, though, because it offers more services than just a hair salon.

“What you think of as a spa is what we are,” Marita Cardenas said. Cardenas, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, has been a makeup artist at Nesbit for more than a year.

At Nesbit, you can pay up to $400 for a spa package that includes an hourlong massage, aroma steam, hair styling, a facial and other services. A $230 package, called Rekindle, is for couples and features a side-by-side massage, use of a steam room and a mineral salt bath – plus complimentary Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Nesbit also offers facials, chemical peels, massages and manicures and pedicures. Cardenas noted that every service by the salon and spa is customizable, so no one gets the same treatment.

“That’s a big selling point for Nesbit,” Cardenas said. “Spa technicians are willing to work with what you need.”

Nesbit offers several deals to bring customers back regularly. Students can get a 20 percent discount, and new customers receive 25 percent off on their next visit if they come back within 30 days.

Cardenas said that having deluxe services and spa-trained technicians is helpful in retaining customers.

“It’s important to keep clients on a regular schedule, so they can full reap the benefits of whatever service they’re looking for,” Cardenas said.

She said what separates Nesbit from the other salons the area is the extra. Nesbit has a full-service coffee bar, with coffee, water, lattes and Italian sodas. The salon also offers complimentary makeup touch-ups as well as makeup lessons for clients.

Although Nesbit and Mango are different salons, they are both examples of the success the cosmetology business is finding in Richmond. While salon and spa treatments are often thought of as a luxury, it seems locals are willing to pay the price.

Main story: Hair Cutters Face Higher Licensing Fees 


CNS reporter Lizi Arbogast produced this slide show about the Nesbit and Mango salons.


On the Web

The website for Mango Salon is www.mangosalon.com

The website for Nesbit is www.nesbitsalon.net


What They Charge

Here are prices for certain services, according to the salons’ websites. (Discounts may be available.)

 

 
Mango
Nesbit
Womens hair cut/style
$45-85
$30-100
Color/highlighting (full panel)
$135-165
Starts at $100
Manicure
$35
$40
Pedicure
$45
$60
Facial Waxing
Starts at $20
$50