'Everyone's welcome' at new nail salon | Sun This Week - ECM Publishers
Family-owned Zen Nails opens in Farmington Mall
Many nail salons get a bad rap. Customers often have to wait in a stiff plastic chair before being rushed through what’s supposed to be a relaxing experience.
Davis Nguyen and his wife Dorothy Siouthai want to change that perception.
The couple opened Zen Nails, 923 Eighth St., in mid-November. The focus of the salon is to provide an inviting, comfortable space, they said.
“Getting your nails done is a luxury. … It’s a time to relax and get away and wind down, especially after a long day at work — come in and get a pedicure, get a massage.
“So that’s what we want to provide our customers is a calm, relaxing, good experience of getting your nails done, rather than coming in and getting hurdled in and hurdled out like most nail salons do,” Nguyen said.
To that end, the couple have designed a space that resembles a farmhouse living room more than a cold salon. There are leather sofas in the waiting area and signs sporting phrases like “Good vibes only.”
The salon also has a neutral color scheme of grays, browns and creams.
That choice was intentional, the couple said. With more men choosing to visit nail salons for pedicures and manicures, they opted for a gender neutral space.
“(Men) feel more comfortable if it’s gender neutral rather than going into a hot pink salon with chandeliers and glitter and all that everywhere,” Nguyen said.
“Everyone’s welcome. It’s not just service for women; it’s everyone,” Siouthai added.
Path to opening
Nguyen and Siouthai are continuing a family tradition. Nguyen’s parents have 20 years of experience doing nails, and opened seven salons of their own.
Because they were looking to transition out of the business, they sold their last two salons in Eden Prairie and Burnsville a couple of years ago, Nguyen said.
Now he and Siouthai have taken up the reins. The couple, Nguyen’s parents and his sister-in-law all work as nail technicians at Zen Nails.
For Nguyen, opening a salon in Farmington seemed like an obvious choice. He said he practically “grew up in the back of a nail salon,” and he previously worked at another salon and had his own ideas for improvement.
The new salon’s top priorities are customer service and sanitation, Nguyen and Siouthai said.
“It’s starting to get a bad reputation in the nail business that sanitation isn’t the number one priority. And for us, that is our number one priority. For our technicians’ sake and for our clients’ sake, we want to be able to have the most sterile environment,” Nguyen said.
To reduce the risk of infections, all of the pedicure trays are new 2019 models with magnetic jets. There are also individual liners to ensure each customer has a sterile pedicure tub.
Sanitation influenced the design of the salon, too. When they drew up the floorplan, the couple chose to create a “sanitation station” in the back.
The area has a half wall so customers can see the sanitation process, they said.
“We want it to be very transparent; we don’t want to have them worry about what goes on behind the scenes,” Nguyen said.
The last couple of weeks have been busy for Nguyen and Siouthai. The couple, who lived in Farmington for about three years, moved to Lakeville, opened their new business and made time for Thanksgiving festivities.
They’ve also been learning how to balance work and family — they have a 3-year-old son and a daughter who turns 5 this month.
But having the support and experience of their family has helped, they said.
“With all my parents’ other salons, the biggest issue was finding good technicians right away. First impressions, especially in this business, are very important.
“So if you get everyone and they’re on the same page with the same history and background, you can get everyone in and everyone happy the very first time they come in,” Nguyen said.
That experience has been helpful for deciding what services to offer, too. Nguyen said they have bounced ideas off his parents to decide what services are tried-and-true and what Zen Nails could do differently.
In an effort to modernize their salon, Nguyen and Siouthai offer more organic services: diffusers, essential oils and organic lotions and scrubs are all available.
Within the next year or so, they also plan to offer services like eyelash extensions, waxing and microblading (a tattooing technique, typically for eyebrows).
Siouthai is planning on getting her extension license and Nguyen plans on getting his microblading license, and they may hire a couple more estheticians in the future.
So far, they’re happy with how the salon has been running. The community has been “very supportive and accepting of us,” they said.
Their personalized approach to service is getting positive response, they added.
There are days when they can’t take every customer who comes through the door, but the couple said that’s better than being treated like a number.
“That way you know we’re taking our time, rather than as soon as someone walks in, you’re rushing the person that you’re working on out so you can grab the next person,” Nguyen said.
“We take care of everyone equally,” Siouthai said.
Customers can choose from three different manicure or pedicure packages or create their own custom package. A regular manicure package is and a regular pedicure package is .
More information can be found on Zen Nails’ Facebook page or by calling 651-332-2561.