NEW YORK — With the recent opening of the uptown branch of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spa, there’s no time for Jin Soon Choi to rest. She’s planning more boutique spas and developing her own product line.
After 17 years of working in the nail business, Choi wanted to provide clients with better service in a more inviting atmosphere. She found that many nail salons were “too clinical and factory-like.”
“I was tired of big spaces where all services were rushed. There are tons of big high-end spas, like Bliss, but they don’t provide a cozy feeling,” said Choi. “At my place, lots of people feel like they’re at home. It’s an intimate environment that makes people want to sit here a long time.”
Four years after opening her first spa in the East Village, Choi decided to open another in the West Village. Like the West Village boutique, the Upper East Side location, which is 475 square feet, features four manicure and pedicure tables — double that of the original location. Each location has Asian decor to create a Zen-like environment with subdued color tones, custom-sculpted pedicure bowls and Japanese wallpaper. Silk fabric cushions throughout the spa feature Asian pagoda-inspired walls.
Despite the small size of Choi’s oasis, her spa offers clients seven nail polish lines, including Givenchy, Essie and Mac — totaling more than 500 polish choices.
The spa’s categorized menu contains seasonal services for hands or feet, such as Essence of Soul, a bath of sea salt; Breath of Milk and Honey, a sugar scrub exfoliation and massage, and Spirit of the Beehive, a three-layer hydrating paraffin wrap.
Choi’s experience in the business spans everything from working at nail and hair salons to offering home services. Her editorial experience includes photo shoots for Allure, Vogue and Elle, along with fashion shows, which this year included Oscar de la Renta, Vivienne Tam and Cynthia Steffe.
By the end of the year, Choi plans to launch a Web site to sell hand and foot lotions, nail files and nail strengtheners, along with her own line. Her site will include a guide on how to apply nail polish, as well as a style gallery of her editorial shoots. The line will contain nail and hand products, including lotions, scrubs and nail polish. Though Choi’s complete product line won’t be available until 2008, she’ll release a nail file this April.
Choi also plans to open a fourth boutique on the Upper West Side in the next year.
Combined gross revenue from the three operating salons, including product sales and future Web site sales, is expected to reach $2 million for 2007. Choi is able to turn a profit since her salons are small and her staff is too.
“Even though we have three locations, we’re still a small boutique business,” she explained. Designing her various spas has been a family affair with the help of her husband, architect John Coughlan.