SEP 2016

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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FRONT LINES NICOLE WIMPY Nicole Wimpy Owner, Jolie Day Spa and Salon, several locations in Georgia By Lesley McCave Born and raised in wine country outside Atlanta, Nicole Wimpy has always been a self-starter—she began babysitting at age eight to save up for a Babyland General doll. "I loved the fashion and beauty industries, and always dreamed of owning a spa where I could pamper people," she says. Wimpy went on to marry her high school sweetheart (and now business partner), Chad, and raise their daughter, Lauren. She became a licensed nail technician in 1996, then studied business at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega before entering the corporate world as an accountant in a CPA fi rm, where she gained valuable business experience. However, it wasn't until 2008, when she was downsized from her job due to the recession, that she fi nally got to fl ex her entrepreneurial muscles. The timing was hardly auspicious. "It was the worst economic period of my generation, and banks weren't lending," Wimpy explains. So, the couple self-fi nanced and, armed with her business acumen and "lots of determination, grit, sweat and tears," opened Jolie's fi rst location in Dawsonville, Georgia, in 2009. Two years later came a second outpost in Dahlonega, a popular wedding destination town. "Within a few months, the demand for bridal hair and makeup services prompted us to add a salon, which we've expanded three times since!" she reports. Keen to keep up with demand, the couple purchased an events venue, Dahlonega Marketplace, in 2012, and in 2014 opened a beer and wine shop, Gold City Growlers, to complement the space. "It's a fun thing for bridal parties to incorporate into their services at Jolie—they can indulge in mimosas, and buy gift baskets for out-of-town guests and groomsmen," she explains. Despite the duo's immense success—they're also considering opening a resort and spa—Wimpy remains proud of her roots. "Family is very important to me; they're my rock and support system. I wouldn't be where I am today without them!" she says. On nailing customer service… Thanks to our Southern hospitality, we're known for our friendly staff and environment, and our ability to make everyone feel comfortable and at home in our spa. I always tell our staff, 'Customer service is everything: Without the clients, we have nothing!' On the challenges of her job… Being an entrepreneur and the owner of three businesses is no easy feat. I wear many hats every day for each one. Staying structured and organized is key. Finding enough hours in the day is always tough, but with the help of a great team, we always rock whatever we're working on! On resolving tricky situations… People, unfortunately, can take advantage of your kindness. I've learned the hard way to keep business as business and personal as personal. Don't blur the lines and let your friends work for you, and try never to become friends with your employees. You can still love them and cherish them without getting mixed up in their personal lives! On the importance of using local and natural ingredients… I believe that honey, plants and other ingredients offer more benefi t to our bodies if they're grown and made close to where we live and work. One of our spa managers and close friends started a business, Blue Haven Bee Company, that created the honey, scrubs and lotions we use in all our nail services. Also, our Signature HiQ Facial combines our spa's tangerine and mandarin essential oils and hot stones with the all-natural, luxury HiQ line that my good friend and client co-developed. On striving to stay on top of current trends and education… It's very important for me to remain positive and refreshed so I can be a good leader, wife and mom. Attending church is my biggest source of encouragement and learning, but because I don't always have time to go, I fi nd that signing up for online classes or watching videos is helpful. Taking time to stay on top of the latest trends and products is crucial, and every moment we can take to further educate ourselves in our trade is vital! On the rewards of her work… It's nice to be a source of inspiration and encouragement for others. I'm proud of my friends who launched their own lines, and I'm thankful that I was able to be a part of mentoring them in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. Surrounding myself with positive, godly, motivated people who have common goals and interests is important to me too. On being in the business since 1996… I've noticed many great changes in our industry over the last 20 years. One of the most important is the improvements in the safety and sanitation standards of nail salons. With the rise of 'discount nail salons' in the late '80s early '90s, nail salons started getting bad press due to the lack of sanitation many of these places were demonstrating. Stricter State Board regulations and more frequent inspections have helped tremendously. Our clients truly appreciate our high standards and our waterless pedi technique, which results in zero cross-contamination! For a longer version of this Q&A, go to | SEPTEMBER 2016 103

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