Liyana Stuart reviews Dollhouse Nails at CityLink Mall and speaks to Christine Yue, Director of Dollhouse Nails on building an award-winning salon business.
Christine Yue is no stranger to the art of pampering women – prior to Dollhouse, she co-founded Juup Nails, and Damara Beauty.
Her latest venture, Dollhouse is poised in making a name for itself in gelish in the spa industry.
Dollhouse Nails aims to be a one-stop shop for beauty needs the go-to place when for relaxing indulgence, providing the best services available at a fraction of the cost.
Dollhouse Nails has 2 outlets – one in Towner Road, catering to the heartlands, and a newly-opened outlet in CityLink Mall catering to busy executives that work in the CBD area.
In 2015, Dollhouse was recognised for its Towner Road salon and won Best Marketer Award at the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Award (SHESA) 2015 (picture below).
The Dollhouse Business: Helping Women Feel Good
In the fiercely competitive spa business, what sets Dollhouse apart?
“It’s not a salon where customers just pay for the services and go. We ask our staff to treat our customers like they friends. Our customers have long relationships with us, and they genuinely care for our customers and sometimes even buy food for them as they treat them like family,” said Christine.
Christine has a salon with her mother, and has witnessed what it takes to build a beauty business. She got interested in nail art as she studied art when young.
“Nail art is designed by the staff themselves. Every single staff has their specialty – cartoons, abstract art, even Van Gogh art. Our nail art is hand-drawn and very meticulous,” added Christine.
On her hiring strategy, she says it’s important to look beyond skills. “It’s not just their skills, it’s their personality, and whether they fit in to Dollhouse.”
Asked why she decided to enter the nail salon business, Christine revealed that it’s also about helping women feel good.
“We don’t want to go into a price war. We want to build a brand, have people appreciate our work, and we want to have a following.”
“I always feel that when nails are nicely done, it makes women happy. It makes their day.”
She says that recognition and customer satisfaction is what drives her passion for business.
Currently, Dollhouse markets itself through Facebook, Instagram, word-of-mouth and tie-ups.
Dollhouse also takes customer service very seriously.
“Our emphasis is on customer service. When we have a customer who is not satisfied, I will sit down with them and find out what we did, what we did not do, and what we can do better,” said Christine.
“We don’t want to go into a price war. We want to build a brand, we want to have people appreciate our work, and we want to have a following.”
The Dollhouse Experience: A review of its nail art manicure
So, has Dollhouse lived up to its hype? I tried out the gelish manicure with nail art to find out.
The moment I entered, I was instantly at ease. The salon is a distinct white and mint colour, and even smelled good. I was welcomed very quickly, showed a place to sit down, and served with a cup of tea.
I’m a big fan of relaxing music when I go to salons, and the music selection didn’t disappoint. It played relaxing Bossa Nova covers of popular English songs, so you could hum along (if you wanted to) or just choose to relax in your chair while the manicurist worked her magic.
I chose to do gelish manicure with nail art, and I was handed a sample of designs to look from. They were some of the most intricate designs I have seen. The strokes were clean, the design was detailed, and it seemed no expense was spared at the design. The designs that were handed to me were definitely a few levels above what I have seen at other nail salons.
To put the team to the test, I chose a complicated design consisting of shiny silver triangles on 1 nail, 2 diamantes on another nail, with 2 different types of nail colours underneath. The silver triangles had to individually cut, before placed very gently on top of the nail coat.
The manicurist immediately got to work. She filed, buffed, my nails while I had a relaxing chat with a fellow customer. Not only was the manicurist good – she was a perfectionist that took pride in her work. If she felt she could have made an element of the nail art better, she checked with me if it was OK to make improvements, and then promptly made them. It was not like other salons I know that are often cutting corners, eager to move on to the next customer.
At the end of the manicure, my nails were so pretty I could not stop looking at them. And, like Christine said earlier – yes, it did make me happy.
The experience itself was like that of a high-end salon. There was no pushy person trying to sell me a nail package, there was no background music I couldn’t understand or appreciate, the manicurists were sweet and attentive.
For this exceptional service, I give Dollhouse 4 out of 5.
Dollhouse has 2 outlets at CityLink Mall (B1-08 Citylink Mall, 1 Raffles Link) and Towner Road (101 Towner Road, #01-232). This is an unpaid review of Dollhouse.