November 27, 2012
Two Different Worlds
Two different worlds can mean plenty of things with many similarities. For me living in Philadelphia it means living day and night, literally. That’s how I view Philadelphia now at the age of my mid-twenties. It really is like that in my neighborhood. Crossing one street can put you in two different state of minds and can change how you act according to where you are in the city. Therefore I chose to do an observation on two Nail Salons in two completely different locations under the same owner. Opening the same business in a “night and day” neighborhood can determine how different neighborhoods can affect a business and how it’s operated on a daily basis and how individuals adapt to their surroundings. I learned a lot from my observations and will share my experiences with you through-out this essay.
This topic came to mind because of an experience I had talking to my best friend from high school. It was freshmen year and my best friend Daquan Thompson asked me a question “Does your family own a nail salon?” I thought to myself immediately, I just was stereotyped because I am Asian and an assumption was made that my family ran a nail salon. I laughed because it was during the time the nail salon businesses were blooming any where and every where here in my community. So I understand where the assumption came from. I just jokingly replied back that his family owned a hair braiding business. I never knew that it was a stereotype then until now.
My girlfriend’s older sister owns 2 nail salons so this helped with my topic. The first location is located in Bala Cynyd located at the heart of City Line Ave and the Spa was called Rejuve. The scenery is very clean and well maintained shopping plaza located directly across the street of the salon. The plaza included an L.A. Fitness, Acme, foot locker, Olive Garden, and a couple more familiar recognizable stores. There is a sense of positivity in the fresh air that surrounds the area. The feeling I got upon pulling into the parking lot of where the salon was located was a very safe feeling. It’s in a very small plaza located on the second floor next to a Hollywood Tans and a Subway. My initial feeling was would there be a lot of customers willing to walk up the stairs to get to a second floor Nail Spa? It seemed a bit inconvenient, but I just thought when I need a hair cut I drive uptown into the city and pay for parking to get to the barber of my choice, so I’m sure women doesn’t mind the steps for their nails and feet.
After stepping into the Spa I saw something immediately that was offered that most salons did not offer, and that was refreshments and snacks. It was a clean, unique, and quiet environment that gives you a relaxed spa atmosphere. Upon entering the business, you’re welcomed by the tunes of soft R&B music and closer to the back of the salon are calm soothing waterfall sounds. Whether your were in the front or back of the business, this place was a way to escape your troubles and get pampered to relax your mind from everyday hardships.
The first stereotype that came to mind immediately is that there is a bunch of Asian woman nail technicians and they were not fluent with the English language. I suggested Rosetta Stone as a joke but they did not laugh because they could not understand the joke and had no clue to what Rosetta Stone was. I didn’t think it would be busy but it sure was. The women were really hard workers and they treated every customer like it was there last providing the best service each and every time ensuring a enjoyable experience. The technicians had a lot of regulars and their appointment book was always booked! So being on the second floor with steps to get into the salon did not stop any customers from finding their way to the Spa to get the same excellent service each and every time.
The customers had a mixture of all different races. I observed the...