…Mary Kate & Ashley; Venus & Serena; Ashley & Wynonna; Manda & Lauren…
Manda & Lauren? They may not be famous, YET! But, with their determination, passion, smarts and vision, it’s only a matter of time until everyone will know their names!
Meet sisters Manda Martinkovich and Lauren Hunter – the owners of The W Nail Bar at 946 N. High Street in the ultra-cool Short North District of Columbus. The salon opened in April 2015, but business is already booming! And it’s no wonder – once you meet this dynamic duo, you want to be in their presence as often as possible. Their excitement is contagious and their dedication is evident.
More than once, they openly admitted that they are different – but they understand that it’s the differences that make their relationship – and their salon – work so well.
Where one is more “earthy” and rooted, the other is more “romantic” and fluid. The “W” Fragrance candle was custom made for them by The Boston Candle Company. The scent is a blend that reflects both their “earthy” and “romantic” personalities…the best of both of them! They obviously took great care in designing the decor of the salon – it’s beautiful – but even in decorating, their different personalities emerge. Manda described it as “The Palace of Versailles meets Restoration Hardware”!
For sure there are many traits that they share…work ethic, ambition, vision, kindness, intelligence and strength. Not to mention a goofy sense of humor (I’ll bet they didn’t think I noticed!) But here’s the thing…they are the soul of this salon.
Manda is a graduate of The Spa School from both our Esthetics program (2012) and our Manicuring program (2013). Always a worker, she maintained a high level position in the corporate world while attending school during the evenings and on Saturdays. She also managed to marry her husband and have a baby – an incredibly adorable baby! – in those few short years.
Prior to her corporate gig, she had an entirely different gig – as a singer, fundraiser and actress with the Shadowbox Live Theater Company in Columbus. She’s even recorded an album! Creative people often don’t limit their artistic abilities to one medium – Manda is a perfect example.
Lauren, who is a mere 25 years old, also has an impressive resume! While she didn’t pursue a manicuring or esthetics license, she did start honing her organizational, management and communications skills beginning at the tender age of 16 when she became a pilates instructor. Not long after, she began managing lululemon athletica where she led a multi-million dollar business through staff development and brand building in her community. The incredible leadership, team-building and motivational skills that she developed in this time makes her a perfect fit to be a business partner and manager of The W Nail Bar.
Combined, these sisters have the background to make a successful business. And this is evident in every detail of The W Nail Bar. Much thought and research went into deciding where to locate the business, when to open it, who to hire, how to decorate and what to offer. The sisters did their homework. They knew that the Short North had become a mecca for the arts and for art lovers. Restaurants, galleries and specialized retail shops abound – it seemed a perfect fit for their concept of an inviting, luxurious, yet affordable nail salon. They quickly have settled into the Short North and are already working with other business owners who are determined to see the area thrive as a true “community”. Since art is a strong theme along N. High Street, they see their salon as a perfect venue to promote artists. Currently, they are featuring the photography of Kris Misevski whose striking black and white photos offer interest and excitement in this beautiful space.
Speaking of the space – you really need to see it – or rather – experience it. Everything the sisters have done has been done to create an experience. Everything you see, touch and smell has been thoughtfully and deliberately considered. From the reception desk custom made from recycled barn wood, to the 20 year old comfy couch (courtesy of Mom) to the hand-pounded metal “W” logo that was lovingly made by a friend, to the custom plumbing that was designed to accommodate the ultra cool copper pedicure tubs – you know that this salon is a true labor of love.
But there is so much more! As luck would have it, the building itself was already a gem before they added their touches. The carefully preserved, original wood floor and the gorgeous stamped ceiling add visual interest and a sense of warmth to the space. A cool gray wall with custom shelving is the perfect backdrop to display nail polish, custom candles, pedicure “condiments”, and the ingredients for their “made daily” sugar scrub.
Again, it’s all about the experience. When Manda and Lauren first considered making this dream a reality, they thought about what they personally would want from a salon experience. And they both agreed that they wanted a clean, comfortable, non-intimidating and inviting environment; friendly and skilled staff who offer skill, attention and personalization; a luxurious yet affordable menu of services. And from what was witnessed – they’ve accomplished all of these goals!
Going to a new salon – especially one so beautiful – can be intimidating. Never fear! There is no intimidation at The W! From the moment you walk in you’ll be joined by your manicurist who will walk you through the service and tell you what to expect. They’ll even help you pick your nail color based on your preference, your skin tone and your activities. No acrylic nails are offered here – just natural and gel manicures and pedicures – decadent ones, of course!
Don’t be surprised if you see a “W” pop up in your neighborhood! The master plan is to expand into other areas of central Ohio (first in Dublin, Powell and New Albany) then on to every state in America! They intend for their growth to be over the next several years and it will be consistent with their flagship Short North salon, so no matter which “W” you visit, you’ll have a consistently wonderful experience. One change that will occur – skin care services! Manda is anxious to put her esthetics training to great use. If you think her pedicures are pampering – imagine her facials!
Manda was very gracious in extending her thanks to The Spa School for providing her with the extensive training that she received in both esthetics and manicuring. She was especially impressed with the skill of the instructors, the beauty of the school, the innovative curriculum and the encouragement she received from the staff, especially school manager, Stephanie Nixon. She became very close with her fellow students who came to be like family. This theme continues at her salon where she treats her staff like family. She pays them a very competitive salary (no booth rental here!) offers education and special events and takes an active interest in their personal lives. And, of course, she loves to hire graduates of The Spa School.
Family is their priority and it’s reflected in their words – “The concept behind the W and the inspiration for its name all stem from the WE. There is nothing more important for us than family…” Yes, the “W” certainly stands for “WE” but it also stands for “WOW”!