After working for 10 years as a dental hygienist and manager of her husband’s dental office, Sherly Elghanian learned the ins and outs of providing warm and friendly customer service. Elghanian loved working with people and providing great customer service, but she dreamed of providing a service where people would look forward to coming in for their appointments instead of dreading them.
In early 2013, Elghanian began working on her plan to launch a nail salon and spa that would provide the highest level of hygiene and sanitation in a relaxing, fun and luxurious environment. Her daughter, Soha, who had prior experience in public relations and marketing worked with her mother on the marketing end to ensure the success of the company.
Running her husband’s dental office gave Elghanian a track record of professional management skills. She knew how to staff an office, supervise others and develop standards for service and hygiene, as well as how to multitask and efficiently handle multiple projects. She had found an ideal location on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile and conceived how she wanted her nail spa to look. In order to achieve her vision though, she needed $150,000 in financing to build out the location and buy equipment. To get help, in mid-2013 she and Soha visited the Small Business Development Center hosted by Pacific Coast Regional.
SBDC Business Advisors Martha Castro and Myron Perryman helped Elghanian write a business plan, obtain a startup loan to launch her business, and make informed decisions on the build out and construction of Luxe Nail & Spa Boutique.
Make a Plan
Elghanian had already approached several banks in an effort to get a startup loan, but had no success. Her advisors explained that the SBDC could help her find financing, but that first she needed a well-thought-out business plan in order to proceed. To get started, Elghanian and her daughter attended a business plan class through the SBDC. Then, Castro assisted with every step of developing the business plan. “Martha helped me write down the plan and showed me how to calculate our expenses, earnings—everything,” Elghanian says.
The Money is Out There
Once Elghanian’s business plan was in order, “getting a loan was very easy and fast,” she marvels. Working with Perryman, Elghanian obtained an SBA-guaranteed loan for $150,000 through the SBDC. She used the loan proceeds to finance the location build out, purchase spa chairs and equipment, as well as customize her salon’s furnishings to meet a high-end standard of luxury and hygiene.
In order to bring her vision for her high-end spa to life, Elghanian needed to hire contractors. To make sure all went smoothly, Perryman advised her on the importance of protecting herself with contracts when working with independent contractors. He also made recommendations on how to select the right contractors and how to manage the labor involved in setting up the salon.
Luxe Nail & Spa Boutique officially opened for business in February 2014, offering a complete day spa with nail services, therapeutic massage services, body treatments, waxing and hair removal provided by licensed therapists and aestheticians. Special lighting, music and a luxurious environment enhance the overall experience and services for clients. Services include: traditional, gel, silk wrap and acrylic nail treatments and Swedish, sports, deep tissue, reflexology and hot stone massages. Luxe Nail & Spa Boutique creates a relaxing, welcoming environment that generates repeat business from satisfied clients.
After just a few months in business, Luxe Nail & Spa Boutique’s sales are meeting Elghanian’s financial projections. The clientele is growing, and Elghanian is proud that her business has been operating in the black since opening day. So far, Elghanian has eight employees, but as she adds new services, such as facials and other skin-care treatments, she’ll undoubtedly be creating more jobs in the very near future.