Your community: here's where to go for perfect nails and other beauty services... and it's not far at all! Read on for an interview with Hanan Dhanani, owner of "The Retreat Nail & Beauty Bar", located in the Retail Units at 70 Forest Manor Road.
Interview and article by Thomas Carbureanu.
From being in the finance department of a software company to owning her own "The Retreat Nail & Beauty Bar", Hanan has experienced a whole new world of struggles as a new small business owner.
Growing up in the neighbourhood of North York, she was aware of a gap in the beauty market when opening up her own nail and beauty bar, filling the gap with a business built on the idea of “Affordable Luxury”. Her location, conveniently right next to the Don Mills Station exit, took a fair amount of overhead cost as she had never dealt with permits and construction before.
Her determination for fulfillment led her to create a chic-looking oasis for clients to Retreat Themselves. Hanan goes above and beyond for her clients, almost to a fault. Her services, furniture, and employees all cohesively satisfy the client’s needs by taking feedback to fine-tune the services she offers.
The hardest part of opening a small business, especially a nail and beauty bar, is finding the right staff that are as passionate about the business as the owner is. Hanan takes pride in her staff, exclaiming that “[y]ou’re nothing without your team.” Behind the scenes, that team includes Hanan’s family, who frequently helps out at the nail bar in any way they can - from answering phone calls to assisting during private events.
It’s no surprise that when asked about who her greatest inspiration has been, Hanan replies “100% my dad”, without missing a beat. She accordingly explains that “[i]f I could be half the person that he is, I would probably be happy. He’s just been unwavering in his entire life and his support to his family and friends and even down to his kids. And the type of businessman that he is, he’s the one”.
Hanan is adamant on her practices and sanitation is always number one on the checklist no matter the service, employee, or customer. She makes sure that The Retreat is consistent in its cleanliness; “We don’t compromise sanitation for anything”.
Even though spa services are not regulated in Ontario, Hanan requires all of her employees to be certified nail technicians. “It covers things that are very important to us that aren’t necessarily taught when self-trained. Things like sanitation, recognizing different types of blemishes, and recognizing when you can and when you cannot do a treatment”.
Some interesting pieces of equipment that Hanan uses are the pedicure bowls. “Our bowls are not actually plugged in, so they are actually independent entities, making them easy to sanitize”. The bowls make for a streamlined-looking aesthetic with the wooden chairs, but the best part is that employees can switch out and clean the bowls without having to unplug them from the plumbing or the chair.
On top of the outstanding services offered, The Retreat doesn’t have TV’s inside, just music playing to create an atmosphere based on Hanan’s or the client's’ mood that day, helping create that oasis vibe.
Her favourite part about being a small business owner is the relationships she creates with her customers, which is why she loves hearing about their experiences and satisfaction with her services furthermore fueling her passion of beauty.
The Retreat offers monthly memberships on its large variety of services, and it’s those consistent customers who Hanan and her employees create close relationships with. “It’s crazy that how many customers become your friends and it’s quite odd to call them your customers even though that’s where that relationship started”, she exclaims.
“It's a chance to have someone leave with a smile or feel a little bit prettier, but it's also playing a little bit of a therapist at times”, Hanan explained. She wants her customers to feel valued and happy with the services she provides because without her loyal customers, her business would not be as successful as it is today.
While being extremely accommodating with her customers and never stopping the improvement for The Retreat, Hanan always takes the time to step back and relax and reflect, as well as giving appreciation to her supporters and people who have helped the business take off.
With the one year mark checked, Hanan is very happy with where The Retreat is at but is planning on opening another location that focuses more on skin care. As she said herself, “[t]here is always more success to be achieved.”
Website for The Retreat Nail & Beauty Bar: http://www.retreatyourself.ca/
Transcript of the interview available here.
Published with permission.