You could be forgiven for thinking that the last thing Sydney’s eastern suburbs need is another beauty salon, but Polished Beauty Bar is not just another salon. Conceived as a one-stop shop for the myriad beauty needs of the modern woman, Polished is run by three women of three generations, each bringing their unique expertise to a business that they hope to expand Australia-wide.
Former Sydney Business Review Businesswoman of the Year Jo Patterson recruited her manicurist Jade da Silva and facialist and masseuse Rosa Francisco to develop a beauty brand to cater to a market they felt was being neglected.
“When I’d go into salons I could never get everything in one spot,” says Patterson. “I love the balance between health and wellbeing and beauty. We feel that there wasn’t a place that offered a more [holistic approach], and also one that was convenient. I’ve always worked and I’m a mother of two – I don’t have an hour to sit for a blow-dry, nor do I want to spend $65 on it. I’m too hyperactive to sit there for an hour, and that’s where Polished was born.”
The three women formed a partnership in July 2009, signed their lease in December 2009 and opened for business in March 2010. Their dedication to their concept has seen them develop a comprehensive business plan, with plans to franchise across Australia.
Patterson has been the driving force behind the business, but da Silva and Francisco have been key to drawing in clients. Da Silva’s experience with nails has been instrumental to the development of the manicure and pedicure bar, while Francisco, who ran Marie Claire Beauty for many years, “is an institution in her own right in Woollahra,” smiles Patterson.
“Everybody knows her, she’s fabulous. She does the best facial you can imagine…”
“Unbelievable,” interjects da Silva. “She irons the lines off your face, I don’t know how she does it.”
The women finish each other’s sentences, their ease with each other obvious, and a key element of their success.
“I want people to walk up the stairs and feel welcomed,” explains da Silva. “No matter where you’re from or who you are, everybody gets treated the same way, and hopefully they’ll walk out having had a great experience. And then the clients will get to know each other, and know who’s going in, and they’ll come for a catch up.”
Tucked away in a secluded sunlit first-floor studio, Polished Beauty Bar offers an escape from the hustle of the city, looking out over Woollahra’s tree-lined streets. The marble nail bar, exposed sandstone wall and leather-mounted mirrors invite clients to sit down and exhale.
There are rooms for massage, facials, brow and lash maintenance, non-surgical procedures, and a large yoga space that holds classes thrice daily.
“What we thought was lacking was a beautiful environment that wasn’t intimidating to walk into, and was affordable,” says da Silva. “There’s still a view that all this stuff is a luxury, and we want to bring it to everyone. You can be polished, and it’s affordable.”
Patterson hopes that the charm and energy of their flagship store will translate around the country.
“We want to franchise the business Australia-wide, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time on training and what we call the Polished Way. When you come into a salon, it’s consistent. We’ve spent a lot of time writing training manuals and training the staff. It’s really important to us that there’s a methodology. It doesn’t take away any of the fabulousness of having a treatment, but [customers will] say, ‘Every time I come in I feel comfortable, because it’s a familiar process that they’re going to follow, and I know I’ll feel good’.”
The Polished women have sought to make their fit-out a signature of the salon, along with their organic teas and soy candles. They know the importance of detail, targeting their clientele using social media, eschewing traditional advertising, are recording their own salon music, and a book on the Polished Way is in the works. A comprehensive website featuring products for purchase, a blog and a booking system for clients, complements the stand-alone store.
“I think it’s very rare with three women that we don’t feel the need to compete. We all have our areas of skill and expertise,” says Patterson. “There’s three women in three different decades, and from day one there’s never been an issue. It’s just been very positive, lots of laughter, and I think that positive energy goes a long way.”