Q&A: Juanita Huber-Millet, founder & creative director of Townhouse
Here we chat to Juanita Huber-Millet, founder and creative director of fast growing premium nail care brand Townhouse, about what inspired her to establish the business, her plans for the future, and current trends in the sector.
Tell us about what sets Townhouse apart from other nail salons
It’s about the full customer experience from start to finish, from seamless online bookings to stylish interiors. My goal when launching Townhouse was to create a relaxing space with buzzy ambience, cool lounge bar music and nail technicians who are professional and with repeatably impeccable treatment every time.
Cleanliness is integral to our business. This seemingly small aspect is so essential in creating trust and loyalty from customers. We sterilise all our metal tools in a hospital-grade autoclave (similar to that which your surgeon would use) and all other tools are single use – and either given to the client for home use or recycled. I believe impeccable hygiene standards is a basic requirement of nail salons, customers wouldn’t accept anything less from any other industry.
Another key differentiator of Townhouse is our nail art – we offer a year-round Classic Collection which showcases six wearable timeless designs, plus our seasonal collection’s which launch every six months for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, with looks inspired by fashion and beauty trends of the season.
We also love to bring something new and exciting to our customers. So, we also regularly partner with amazing brands for limited-edition collaborations, from Townhouse x Givenchy to Chantecaille and most recently Sisley and Caudalie.
You recently opened new boutiques within The Yards, Covent Garden and on Sloane Stanley’s King’s Road, can you tell us why you chose those locations?
Both Chelsea and Covent Garden are the perfect London neighbourhoods for the brand and the specific locations couldn’t be better – The iconic King’s Road with popular neighbours including The Ivy and The Ivy Asia and The Yards, set in the heart of West London and home to so many leading fashion and lifestyle brands.
Townhouse is predominantly located within London, bar Cribbs Causeway in Bristol and Centre:mk in Milton Keynes, do you have plans to expand further across the UK?
We have expanded our presence across the capital over the last year, targeting the key London hotspots and have built up a solid foundation of London clients.
We have plans to open other salons out of London, including Guildford – our first stand-alone salon outside of London – which launched this month.
What is the most exciting element of Townhouse’s boutiques?
Our stylish salons are designed to suit our customers lifestyle from our buzzy manicure bar and bespoke pedicure stations to our semi-private booths for that extra something special. Customers love our every changing in-salon exclusives, from pop-ups to partnerships to launch offers including goodie bags, complimentary drinks, pop up bars, mini makeovers and more.
Can you tell us what trends you have been seeing across the industry?
Lip gloss nails are the latest manicure trend and are having a serious moment right now – replicating that classic dewy make-up look, leaving your nails looking ultra-fresh with a glossy topcoat. The key to perfecting this high-shine trend is to pick a nude base hue that compliments your skin tone.
Metallic tones are another key beauty trend this season, this look is super trendy and adds an instant edge to your look! If you are looking for the ultimate ‘Cool-Girl Aesthetic’ sport this trend as a french mani or bold block colour. For a more understated ‘Micro-Mani’ look, go for a small metallic nail art accent.
What inspired the idea for Townhouse?
I love beauty and I always have – from a young age playing with my sister’s lipsticks and trying on my mother’s signature blue nail varnish. I have been an avid nail devotee since I can remember however, I always struggled to find a nail salon I could trust. The service wasn’t particularly professional, the salons were often messy and disorganised, plus the treatment quality was really all over the place – if you were lucky, you would get someone great but if they were on holiday, the next person might be terrible.
In short, I was disappointed by the nail salons that were out there, not just the experience as a customer but also the way they treated their staff.
Townhouse was created with the goal of elevating the nail salon experience with a mission to revolutionise the industry. I wanted to create a beautiful oasis for customers, with stylish interiors, five-star customer care, reliable treatments with flawless results that last, the latest technology, stylish nail art looks and importantly a place that creates real, meaningful career opportunities for our team members.
Are there any challenges that the business has faced and how have you overcome them?
Covid was very challenging for the business and the beauty industry in general, during the lockdowns we focused on ways to stay connect and inspire our customers who we knew were also struggling through the pandemic – we did this by creating fun at-home nailcare tutorials which included removing gel nails safely at-home (we sent out complimentary removal kits to our customers to help with this) and simple nail art guides. We also wanted to ensure our team members were OK, so ran regular check in sessions and digital team building sessions. We were fortunate that we could utilise Government schemes including Furlough to support and retain our fantastic team members during the lockdowns.
What is the future for Townhouse? Are you planning to develop the offering?
I am excited for the future of the brand, we are looking to expand our offering including the launch of retail. We are all extremely excited to bring Townhouse to new audiences – watch this space!
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