Company Highlight: Ella Bonita Beauty Lounge

As the only waterless salon in Vancouver saving three to four gallons of water with each pedicure, Ella Bonita Beauty Lounge is ahead of its time (and saving the environment all at once!).

Today we sit down with owner Angela Nguyen to discuss what has made her four+-star nail salon so popular as well as her tips and tricks for other young female entrepreneurs.

Tell us about your background

“I’ve been in this industry for a while and have had a dream of opening my own salon since I was five years old. I’ve always been passionate about providing exceptional services and creating an atmosphere that makes clients feel relaxed, pampered, and beautiful. With my years of experience, I have gained the knowledge, skills and understanding to run a successful salon and I’m excited to continue providing my clients with the best service possible.”

What do you believe has contributed to your success?

“I firmly believe that my team has played a significant role in my success. They are truly one-of-a-kind, bringing their own unique skills and personalities to the salon. We aim to create a distinct atmosphere that sets us apart from the typical salon experience. We understand that many people may have a preconceived notion of what a salon should be like, but we strive to surprise and delight them with our unique approach, design, and atmosphere as soon as they enter our salon. Additionally, our salon is 100% waterless and our techniques are unparalleled. I believe this combination of my team and innovative approach has helped us stand out and achieve success in the industry.”


Can you tell us more about the waterless pedicure technique? For example, how much water can be saved?

“Here at our salon, we’re all about being environmentally friendly and keeping our clients safe. We use a waterless technique for pedicures and manicures that saves three to four gallons of water per pedicure! Water is not beneficial for pedicures and manicures, it can actually harm your nails. Not only does it decrease the longevity of your nails, but also poses safety concerns.

By not using water, we eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. This means that you won’t have to worry about getting fungus because traditional water pedicures can create a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, and mold in the water bowls. Even if they are cleaned or liners are used, the holes and lotions can still lead to cross-contamination between clients. Our waterless approach ensures a super clean and safe service.

It’s important to remove calluses and cuticles when they are dry, as it will prevent them from growing back thicker. Many people may not be aware of this technique, but using it will ensure your safety and promote long-lasting and healthy nails. Another thing to keep in mind is that the traditional technique can often lead to yellowing of the nails, which is caused by fungus and mold. This is often caused by improper nail preparation. With our technique, we make sure that the product is sticking to the nails correctly and preventing this yellowing.”

Since your first location was popular, would you think about opening a second location? If yes, what sorts of things are you thinking about?

“Definitely! I’m excited to announce that I’m planning to open a second location soon. I’m still figuring out the exact location – it might be in Vancouver, but I’m also considering Toronto or Dubai.

Opening a second location is all about making sure it can run smoothly without me being there all the time, and creating a strong brand that can either be franchised or opened by myself. To do that, I’m currently starting an academy to teach others my technique and have trained professionals to hire for the new location.”

What do you find most challenging as a business owner and what do you do to address those challenges?

“One of the biggest challenges in running a salon is finding the right staff and making sure everyone is happy and satisfied – both the staff and the clients. When I’m looking for new staff, I don’t just focus on their technical skills, but also their ability to make sure our clients have a great overall experience. We want to create a consistent, welcoming, and enjoyable atmosphere for our clients, and that includes friendly customer service, great conversation, and more.

Finding the right staff can be tough, but it’s important to keep looking. I look for people who have a real passion for nail care and who enjoy their job, because they’ll be happy and provide great service to our clients. It’s important to remember that this is not a job that everyone can do. I train all my staff myself, and it can take up to a couple of months to see if they’re good at it. If they are and they want to learn more, they stay working with us.”

What tips and tricks do you have for managing a beauty business?

“Starting a beauty business takes a lot of passion and experience. While having a dream and working hard is great, it’s also important to have a deep understanding of the industry. For example, if you want to open a nail salon, it’s important to have experience working with nails to understand your staff and clients’ needs. However, if you have never been in the beauty industry but still want to open a business, the key is to be consistent, work hard, and do your research.”

Customer service is an important part of any business. What tips and tricks do you have for growing and retaining clientele?

“When working with clients, my advice is to be genuine and compassionate. Building trust and rapport with your clients is crucial, so it’s essential to approach each interaction with an open mind and a willingness to meet their needs. Additionally, maintaining a positive attitude and leaving any personal conflicts outside the salon is crucial. The salon should be a sanctuary for clients, where they can relax, feel pampered and leave feeling rejuvenated.”

What’s the most challenging part about being a female entrepreneur? What surprised you most about being an entrepreneur?

What’s the most challenging part about being a female entrepreneur? What surprised you most about being an entrepreneur?

What lessons have you learned that every business owner should know (even if they are outside of the beauty industry)?

“My advice is to hold off on buying luxury items until you feel financially comfortable. And when it comes to running your business, make sure to stay organized and respond to clients quickly. It’s important to stay on top of things; being organized and responsive will help you do that.”

If you could relaunch your business, what would you do differently this time based on the lessons you’ve learned?

“In retrospect, I realize the importance of conducting thorough background checks on individuals and organizations I collaborate with, such as contractors. I regret not getting multiple quotes from various sources instead of settling for the first one I came across. I believe this would have saved me time and money.”

Why was online booking a necessity for you? Why did you switch to Yocale in particular?

“We got a lot of requests from our clients for an online booking system. I wanted something that was easy for everyone to use, but could also handle the complexities of our business processes without sacrificing its user-friendliness. I tried out a few different systems and even subscribed to some of the popular ones, but none of them were as helpful as Yocale.

Yocale really stood out to me because it was straightforward and easy to use and had all the features we needed. With the other systems, I found that they were just too confusing and not very user-friendly, and the prices were also pretty high. I’m glad we found Yocale, and it’s working out great for us!”

What benefits have you seen since using a booking system/Yocale?

“Wow, let me tell you, the online booking system has made such a big difference for us here at Ella Bonita! Our girls can finally focus on what they do best – giving amazing nail services – without all the interruptions from the phone ringing. And for me, it’s been a lifesaver. I used to spend so much time just coordinating appointments, but now with sending the booking link, I’ve got an extra 2-3 hours in my day to work on all the other important things that keep the salon running smoothly. Overall, it’s been a total game-changer for us and we’re loving it!”

What have been your favorite Yocale features and why?

“Honestly – the whole thing. It’s been saving me a lot of time.”

How have you found the process of Yocale managing your website?

“Very good – they’re really on it. They get things done really fast.”

Final Thoughts from Ella Bonita Beauty Lounge:

“I believe that it’s important for people to understand the benefits of using long-lasting nails and the impact of water-based pedicures on the environment. With water scarcity becoming an increasingly pressing issue, it’s crucial to consider the amount of water that’s being used during pedicure season. I educate my clients and empower them to make more sustainable choices in their nail care routine.

I also believe in the power of collaboration, and I carefully select team members who share my values and mission to make a positive change for the environment. Together, we can make a bigger impact than working alone.”

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