The W Nail Bar offers two basic services: manicures and pedicures.
“We believe in doing a couple of things really, really, really well,” say sisters Lauren Hunter and Manda Mason, creators of the Short North nail salon.
Opened in 2015, the salon takes the sisters back to their family-run business roots. Growing up working in the family’s chain of grocery stores that closed in 2009, “We wanted to return to having another family business,” Hunter says.
Being immersed in the business starting at the age of 12 taught the sisters a myriad of lessons applicable to any sort of venture, from how to interact with all sorts of people, to how to run a business with integrity. Both sisters were headed down potential dream career paths, but, “It didn’t’ feel like this was it for us,” Hunter says.
The sisters asked themselves a simple question to help guide the direction of the business, “If we could wake up anywhere everyday, where would it be and what would it be?”
An obvious answer arose – the spa. Manicures, massages – it was how the sisters treated themselves.
“Then we started thinking about what we weren’t getting as a consumer,” Hunter says. “Nails is the one thing that’s not being done the way we wanted it done.”
Two main pillars differentiate The W Nail Bar from other nail salons: sanitation and customer service.
The W Nail Bar takes cleanliness seriously, holding themselves to standards akin to a hospital. Their commitment is apparent through processes like not using jets in their pedicure bowls. Hunter says most salons don’t take the time to clean the jets properly, recirculating dead skin cells stuck in the jets. Instead, The W Nail Bar uses copper bowls, which act as a natural antiseptic.
Conveniences like online booking address customer service, as does the overall experience.
“We want it to be a really high-end spa experience, but just nails,” Hunter says.
The W Nail Bar uses as much natural and organic product as possible. Lotions, scrubs and cuticle oils used during manicures and pedicure are made in-house daily and available for purchase. (And the sisters say customers can expect more from their product line soon.) The salon also extends its natural product sense to polishes, stocking local polish line JRJ.
“There’s a lot of education going on in somebody’s experience,” Hunter says, as employees take the time to explain products and options to customers.
It’s an experience the sisters are ready to replicate with a second location in German Village in 2017. The salon was approached last summer by the developer of the block of retail which will also include STUMP, Fox in the Snow and Native Cold Pressed. At the time, need for a second location was already growing, but German Village wasn’t initially on the radar. But after looking at the neighborhood, and the businesses that would be joining as their neighbors, “It’s the perfect fit for our second location,” Hunter says. “Our brands fit so well – we share the same guests.”
And don’t expect the expansion to stop at two. The sisters say they are aggressively pursuing additional locations like New Albany and Dublin. One salon was never the end goal.
“We did this to open 10 – 20 of these,” Hunter says, which will likely include other cities and states.
Helping The W Nail Bar along the way has been Experience Columbus. As relationships with other businesses in the neighborhood have always been important to the sisters, another business owner encouraged them to join the organization just a month after opening.
Hunter says Experience Columbus highlights supporting location businesses, and they just don’t just say it – they do it.
“We’ve also gained so many clients from Experience Columbus,” the sisters say.
From supporting ideas, to answering questions, to team members making The W their go-to salon for a manicure, “We absolutely love the partnership with them,” Hunter says.
Find The W Nail Bar at 946 N. High St. For more information, visit thewnailbar.com.