Saturday, December 1, 2007

Julep's First Snow

















Reported by Kate.











Saturday, November 24, 2007

Starting as we mean to go on

We had our second ever “Julep Immersion” program last week – and we now have more than doubled our team. It’s very exciting to have such talented, warm, and amazingly professional vernisseurs and parlor hostesses join us.

Pulling together the Immersion program and accompanying materials, I had to pause and reflect on how much my theory of nurturing a corporate new-born shares with my beliefs in nurturing a human new-born.

In both, the first few weeks are purely about survival. Sleep is a luxury, not a right. Showering is optional, coming as it does, at the expense of aforementioned precious sleep.

When you emerge from this period (hopefully mostly in tact), then you begin the audacious task of creating your identity, who you are, in this new role.

One useful piece of advice that I got from an otherwise insufferable book called “The Baby Whisperer” is that one should “start as you mean to go on”. Meaning, if you want your baby to be able to fall asleep on her own, you should start out that way – putting her down in her crib to fall asleep.

Having watched countless friends and colleagues struggle to put their five year olds to bed without having to lie next to them motionless in the dark for hours each night, this seemed wise to me.

With our first child, we started as we meant to go on. That is, he was always put down on his own for his naps and at night. No matter how far the relative had traveled to see this baby, rocking him to sleep was absolutely out of the question. Because that’s not how we meant to go on.

Then I had my second, and last child. Suddenly, the world was different. This was the last time I would hold a baby of mine. This was the last time I could comfort a newborn. “Start how you mean to go on” went out the window for “enjoy this as much as you can because it’s never gonna happen again.”

In my Julep world, I am torn between these two philosophies. A good friend of mine advises me to think about the sustainability of all of my practices. “If you can’t write personal hand-written cards to every employee going forward, then should you start out that way?” she questions. “Someday, someone is going to say, ‘She used to write hand-written cards, but now she doesn’t anymore.’” It’s not starting as I’ll be able to go on.

This view of the world reminds me of Harry explaining to Sally that he preferred not to pick up his girlfriends from the airport, because inevitably, he was going to stop doing that at some point, and then he’d have to endure the “You never pick me up at the airport like you used to” conversation. He was a man intent on starting as he meant to go on!

But I believe in trying to be as supportive as possible in the given moment. I want to go to the airport today, and I want to be able to do it for as long as humanly possible. Maybe someday, I won’t be able to, but Sally is one smart cookie (as are the people who work at Julep). Surely, by then, if there’s a good reason for not being able to make it every time, she/they will understand?

The brave souls who joined the first Julep parlor in our first year are going through so much – I feel like we, as a group, should be able to enjoy the upside of being a small, close team because we’re living through some of the challenges of not having a tested infrastructure.

I guess what I’m realizing is that our first parlor is both the first and the last for me – it’s the first, exciting time we’ve brought Julep to life, but it’s also the bittersweet, last time I’ll be able to be there so fully on the ground, helping and seeing every new development each day.

So I’m walking the line – trying to build systems today that will make future parlors easier, while enjoying the uniqueness of what’s happening at this particular parlor today. Trying to start as I mean to go on, wherever possible, but also treasuring what is happening now, as much I can.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Winter Cranberry Manicure & Pedicure

This week we are rolling out our new Cranberry Manicure and Pedicure services, featuring real cranberries. I’ve only ever used cranberries before in Susan Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish (awesome, by the way – a favorite of Aunt Caroline’s). I didn’t know what I was missing.

The new product and service development process is quite exciting. Nothing ever goes as you expect it to. For example, who would have expected all natural cranberry essential oil to be green? Surprise! But it smells festive, fresh, woodsy and wholesome.

After much research and testing, we’ve finally developed an amazing scrub and ultra-hydrating lotion that we’re excited to share with the world. The scrub features real cranberry seeds, which are just beautiful, delicate and elegant (not to mention moisture-sealing with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids). It’s like limb art.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This I Believe

I love the NPR series "This I Believe," and I've had some thoughts (helpful rationalizations?) floating around in my head over the past year that I finally got onto my laptop last night. Lots of times women approach me and ask me how I can do a start up with two young kids and a spouse. For what it's worth, I thought I'd share my reflections on navigating work, family, and my mechanism for coping with the inevitable feelings of inadequacy. I'd love to hear any feedback from any of you on these thoughts.


“Paying the Price”

I believe in paying the price. For a hand-thrown, wood-fire glazed ceramic pitcher, I know that I will have to pay more than for its mass produced acrylic counterpart at Target. And I’m happy to do it, because it’s worth it to me.

Unfortunately, in today’s no hassle, no down payment, no-interest-until-they-foreclose-on-your-house world, it’s hard to remember that everything has a price. In America, “free” is almost as constitutional a right as “freedom.”

But to me, free is always a fishy proposition. I believe there is always a price to be paid for the things that are worthwhile.

This principle holds truest for the things that money can’t buy. It is the price of love, fulfillment and self-respect that I add up each day.

As a partner in a marriage and a mom who works outside the home, I know first-hand the price of my definition of an engaging life. What moms who work for pay share with moms who work inside the home is that we’re all paying a price for the lives we choose to lead. We share in this economy of cost - and pay-off.

In my twenties, I was focused on “having it all,” and I was frustrated. A decade and a half later, I now realize that I don’t really want it all, so not having it is not such a big deal. I want only what is meaningful to me, and I’m willing to earn it and fight for it. I’m laden and tired, but engaged in my life and loving it.

It is a constant struggle to prioritize and attach relative value to the different aspects of my life, but engaging in this conversation is necessary to my survival. Without this economics of value, I would drown in a sea of self-criticism for falling short on every critical dimension. The alternative to a world of recognizing relative value is a world in which one is constantly failing to live up to an impossible standard:

“I’m a terrible mom because I forgot to pick up my son at school on his early closure day.”

“I said the world’s stupidest thing to an important investor.”

“I’m an insensitive idiot who deserves to be shot.”

Unfortunately, these are all real reactions I’ve had to real, real unfortunate events.

I’ve come to realize, though, that against the standard of the organized, perfect earth mother or insightful but steady, ovaries-of-steel businesswoman, I can only but fail. When I look up from literally hitting my head in disproportionate self-flagellation, I can now realize that the question I should be asking myself isn’t one about how far I fall short of the unattainable standard of perfection (answer: VERY). The true question I try to remember to ask myself is, “Is it worth it?”

It’s a very powerful question.

For me, sometimes the answer is yes, many times it’s no, and more times than not, I’m not sure.

But the times it is “yes” are what I think they used to call “character building.” When I can remember that the price I pay for an engaging life is a few balls dropped (and shattered) here and there, I can mourn the dropped balls in proportion the balls that are still arcing gracefully through the air. I can find the strength to forgive myself and put the force of energy with which I used to slap myself upside the head into the more productive goal of trying harder next time.

I believe that seeing and weighing the price of things is absolutely necessary to achieving self-respect, and living a life worth living.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chocolate chocolate chocolate

Chocolate is ALWAYS in, but especially lovely in the fall, when the bright pinks of summer seem like a cruel jest. (Lip color branched out from the standard pinks and reds decades ago (thank you MAC!), but nail color has been irritatingly slower to follow). So broaden your horizons and ask for chocolate nails - a top trend for fall - whether the milk chocolately warmth of our "Hillary" Julep Nail Vernis, or the dark chocolately decadence of our "Lindsay".

Even better as part of our Ultimate Chocolate Experience manicure and pedicure - with a luxurious chocolate scrub and ultra-moisturizing chocolate lotion (also perfect for fall!). To complete the experience, you can savor a chocolate truffle or sip a hot chocolate - enveloping yourself in chocolate inside and out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PVC Free Gift Sets

Being a start up with limited resources, we just began thinking about holiday gift sets. Yes, major retailers have had their holiday lineups set in stone as of November - last year. But I don't typically get my personal holiday cards out until about Valentine's Day, so this is a major step in the right direction for me.

Anyway, our fabulous new marketing wonder woman, Margot, just e-mailed over some cute bags for the "For My Little Princess" gift set. (Don't worry! We're also putting together awesome giftsets "For my significant other", "For my mom / girlfriend" (who are one in the same for me), and "For my colleague").

ANYWAY. The little flower bag that Margot found has PVC in it, Shari pointed out. And since we're trying to be careful about our environmental footprint and protective of the health and well being of our guests, it turns out that PVC might not be such a great idea. (Read out it here). We're trying to avoid known carcinogens and toxins related to birth disorders. The Seattle Times wrote about avoiding PVC and making "Green" choices for children's toys recently. Some leading retailers are trying to phase out PVC and phthalates in toys.

By the way, our Julep nail vernis formulations are phthalate free (and formaldehyde and toluene free).

And now our gift sets will be PVC free. Thanks to Shari.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Seahawks Wives Event at Julep

On September 29, we hosted "Funky Girls" - an event organized by Sarah Hasselbeck and Rachel Terrill for six girls undergoing cancer treatment. Each of the girls brought a friend in for manicures, pedicures, and makeup application.

The girls were so fun, funny and inspiring. The best part was watching them be ordinary teenagers - picking polish colors, giggling with their friends, and quizzing the Seahawks wives about the love lives of the various players (flipping through the Seahawks brochure, "Does he have a girlfriend? What about him? And him? Well, does he really like her? I mean, are they going to get married?").

One of our vernisseurs, Tracey, said that she went home and hugged her children a little longer that night. Another vernisseur, Lisa, said that she took her family out for dinner and tried to describe the event and how moving it was. But you sorta had to be there.

The event was covered by King 5 news - click on the link to see the video coverage!

Thank you Sarah for organizing such a wonderful event. It was a privilege to be part of it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

  • An amazing, talented team who are open to growth, and seek to say yes as much as humanly possible;
  • Warm, funny guests who appreciate our amazing team referenced above;
  • A working dryer at home, since the one at work doesn't tumble after 3 months and smells of something burning (MAYTAG 2400, in case you're interested - do not buy unless you like your clothes wet);
  • My health, and the health of loved ones (having witnessed the courage of kids who are battling cancer this week at the “Funky Girls” event organized by Sarah Hasselbeck);
  • The return of new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Women, by Clare Boothe Luce

I’m proud to announce that we’re supporting the new ACT Theatre production, The Women, by Clare Boothe Luce (Running October 11 to November 18).

It’s exciting to see a play with so many juicy parts for women. And look closely at their nails, because they’ll be manicured at Julep!

We’ve been busy over the past month finding and welcoming aboard 3 amazing new vernisseurs to our team (welcome Jessica, Shannon and Ali!).

We’ve also added new, even more comfortable foot rests, and are in the process of integrating memory foam into our seating.

Somehow, the past month has seemed busier to me than any of the other. Partly, it’s the balancing of strategic work (Where should the next locations be? How will we pay for them?) with the day to day (should we test out the more efficient European waffle weave towels?). Partly, it’s the back to school season since we have two young kids.

So if I have my sweat pants on backwards (as I did all day Saturday!) please cut me some slack.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

September

It’s already September!

Over the past two weeks, we have interviewed seven new vernisseur candidates, hired and started our immersion process with two new hires, and prepared to present to the Zino Investment Forum here in Seattle this Tuesday. (Keep your fingers crossed for us!).

Although it’s fall, our reservations have not slowed down. We’ve got as more girlfriend gatherings, birthday parties, baby showers, board meetings, and just pick-me-up appointments scheduled than ever before.

We’re also gearing up for the fall TV season – Ugly Betty Thursdays are on tap for sure – and we’re considering staying open through 10pm so we can watch Grey’s Anatomy together. I’m also very excited about the Bionic Woman. We might have to TiVo that one.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where should the next Julep be?

Jeanne and I spent the morning yesterday walking around downtown Seattle, scouting locations for the next Julep.

Finding real estate is like trying to get pregnant. There's only so much you can do to make things happen. The timing of events is less in my full control than I'd like. And you may think you want a boy, or a girl, or a red-head (if you're my in-laws), but really you just want a healthy location (1800ish square foot with frontage onto a high traffic street).

Dear guests, where do you think the next Julep should be?

And if you know of any great locations that are available, or anywhere close to available, please let me know immediately.

In anticipation of finding the perfect location in downtown Seattle or Bellevue, we are hitting the streets doing our second round of fund-raising. Next Wednesday, we present to the Zino Zillionaire forum, where the best non-technology and the best technology investment opportunities will each win a $50,000 investment fund.

I wouldn't have characterized us as "non tech" since we have on-line scheduling, and four computers in the parlor that help keep us at the cutting edge of operations. And I'm not sure what's worse - "non tech" or "low tech", which is how we were characterized at the last investor forum.

In any event, we only have 5 minutes to make our presentation. It's like speed-dating, or the first episode of The Bachelor.

Please keep your fingers crossed for us on Wednesday that we get the rose.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Party for Twenty Eight Women Lawyers

We hosted a party for twenty eight women lawyers last night - and it was a blast. It looked like the guests had a great time. Nothing like getting some mentoring advice over a pedicure. It was great to see the newbie chatting with the partners and of counsels.

This is EXACTLY the kind of event I'd been hoping to be able to host at Julep. It's exactly the kind of event I would have loved to attend when I was a lawyer. It beats the skirt off of long sporting events and endless rounds of golf.

But we had fun too! The guests were delightful (having had the chance to nibble on yummy food and drink yummy wine - and YES WE HAD A LIQUOR LICENSE FOR THIS PRIVATE EVENT - if you are the Washington State Liquor Board and you're keeping up on this blog!).

On the service side had our system down. Each vernisseur had a two chair "pod", and we created signup sheets for each of the seven vernisseurs. Then we put into place three "goddesses" who helped seat guests, get the polishes, clean up the foot baths, and generally help everyone be where they needed to be.

I have to admit, when I first took the reservation, I was more than a little scared to tell the verniseurs about it - especially since it was initially booked for about forty.

But it was a great evening for woman power all around.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New York Times highlights hazards of chemicals found in most nail salons

We're finally starting to see more attention and focus on the hazards of the toxic chemicals found in most nail salons (avoided like the plague at Julep).

The New York Times recently highlighted studies that have found that prolonged exposure to toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate has been associated with poor performance on tests of attention, mental processing speed, memory and verbal learning. And children who were prenatally exposed to the compounds these workers use performed worse on tests for cognitive function, language and behavior.

I think of these compounds like second hand smoke at restaurants. It's a nuisance and unpleasant for the casual guest, but much more of a health threat to the person who works in that environment day in and day out.

Women - please stop the madness! Natural nails can be just as beautiful and strong in almost every case as artificial nails - without the health hazards. (Regular use of cuticle oil works miracles).

This is not, by the way, just an issue at your regular discount salon. Most high-end spas also offer artificial nail services that involve toxic chemicals (just think about the glue it takes to put an acrylic nail in place - and then think about the dissolver it takes to remove that glue).

I'm excited - for our guests and for our employees - that Julep is a natural nails only parlor. Since artificial nails have accounted for most of the growth in this industry over the past decade, when I wrote a business plan that excluded those services, a lot of industry folks were skeptical.

So thank you, dear guests of Julep, for believing in us and being part of a healthier alternative in nail care.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kate

Our fabulous parlor hostess Kate is on vacation with her family in Greece - but has called back at least three times that I know of (perhaps more not under my watch!).

Guests who come in regularly have come to know Kate's welcoming smile.

Kate, we miss you dearly, but hope that you can relax, knowing that we'll keep the parlor together until you return!

Since every day is like a month at Julep in terms of changes and developments, when anyone goes away, even for a few days, it seems like they've been gone forever. It's a testament to how much of a difference each person can make that the atmosphere and dynamic can be so different depending on who's there. But it's exciting - every time someone returns from vacation (you'll see, Marika!), we have so much to show off. Like Jessica - our newest, very awesome vernisseur! And our new, beautiful color palettes (thanks Shari!). And rolls and rolls of credit card paper (see below).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Firsts

What’s exciting about Julep is that we (almost) never make the same mistake twice. We’re really striving to keep learning – as individuals and as a collective.

But, as a fledging young business, there are a LOT of things we’re doing for the first time. Like the first time the faucet handle fell of the wall (Monday), the first time the sanitizer overflowed (also Monday – and actually, okay, okay, that wasn’t the first time), and the first time we ran out of thermal tape for our credit card machine (today).

We are hopeful (delusional?) that our fabulous services and in-service professionalism radiated a sense of calm that minimized the impact of these aggravations that were driving us (me) batty.

Since we had no credit card paper between about 2:25pm and 3:30pm today, the guests who checked out during that time had to take our word for it that we were charging their cards the right amount . . . . Thank you thank you to the patient guests who had strong senses of both humor and empathy. And thank you for your efforts to preserve the environment by cutting down on excess credit card receipt paper.

So it turns out that it’s only a short 4 transactions from the pink “you’re running out” signal on the paper to the “no paper error” that means that you won’t be able to give your guests any record of this transaction.

And that’s hardly enough time to run across to Office Depot, buy credit card machine paper rolls, get back to the parlor, find out that it’s the wrong paper, run back to Office Depot, return the first rolls but find that they don’t have the type you need, run back to the parlor, get your car keys, drive to OfficeMax, buy 200 rolls of the right paper (so this doesn’t happen again, for a long, long time, anyway), drive back and pop the roll into the machine. Now is it?

I actually resorted to putting the credit card processing machine on the top of the counter for one guest to be able to show her exactly what I was punching in. . . (I thought it was resourceful, I think she thought it was overkill).

Tomorrow, Jeanne will say (accurately) that we need a PROCESS to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And then she will magically make that happen.

And Audrey and Michelle will be excited to be able to close the cash drawer with actual paper records of transactions (making things so much more boring!).

Friday, August 10, 2007

A day in the life of Jane

Today was one of my favorite work days since I’ve started my Julep journey. Not for any one reason in particular – just that the sum of the parts ended up being greater than the whole. Here’s the blow by blow (WARNING: This entry is LONG!).

6:15am: I wake up thinking that I’m going to turn over a new leaf by starting to exercise for the first time in eight months. This seems like a good time to start, since my husband and kids are across the country at the beach in North Carolina, and so mornings and evenings are more than a little lonely. I’ve picked yoga as my "gateway class."

6:20 am: Only, “too bad for me,” (as Junie B Jones, the heroine in the books we’ve been reading the kids lately, would say) because the class actually started at 6am, not 6:30 as I had thought.

6:45am: But wait! This being Seattle, a quick search online reveals that there are five thousand yoga studios within a three mile radius of my house. One has a class that starts at 7:45am. It means that I won’t be able to make it to the parlor by 9:15am when Audrey opens, but I’m confident that she doesn’t need me there, so I decide to go to the class.

7:00am-7:25am: But first I check my e-mail, and then get sucked into checking the day’s schedule at our parlor online. I move things around to optimize breaks (which I promised Amy I’d stop doing, which I’m only now realizing as I’m writing this) and even up the workload. It’s like a giant game of chess, or at least what I’ve heard chess is like, since I don’t actually play.

7:25am: I go flip the laundry – I’ve got one completed bag of clean white towels for the parlor. I put the brown ones in the dryer – they should be ready after I get back from my class.

7:30am: I get into my car and drive to my yoga class. I’m so excited. I’ve been to an amazing class near my house (which is at an inconvenient time for me these days) where the poses are so painful they make me tear up, but then I leave utterly revitalized and walking several inches taller. When I retire, I am going to practice yoga hours for every day. Thinking of how strenuous those classes were, I’ve packed my Nalgeen container of water – I want to stay hydrated during a strenuous workout.

7:45am: I find good parking, and am on-time, seated with my bolsters, mat, blocks, strap and eyemask (I’ve never been to such a well equipped class before!). I’m ready to turn over that new leaf!

7:50am: Only “too bad for me” again, because this is not one of those EXERCISE, need your Nalgeen bottle of water type yoga classes. It’s one of those MEDIATING, sit around and CONTEMPLATE classes, where we have to hear a lot about NOT WANTING anything from the universe, and SURRENDERING. The absolute opposite of everything I’m about right now. Am realizing that I would have gotten more exercise at home with my Rodney Yi or Ali McGraw yoga DVDs. Or at home in my bed, for that matter.

7:55am: Oh god I want to get out of here but that would be so rude.

7:56am: Or would it?

7:57am: Of course it would. I’ve got to bear it out. I think about SPECIFIC places in my life this philosophy might apply. Like JUST BEING with my family. Enjoying the moment at Julep, taking a break from constantly glancing around for a stray cup I should put away, and thus missing the great view.

7:58am: But I’m done making that realization, and I’ve got another HOUR left to go. We’ve only done 2 poses, the lights are off, and my heart rate is GOING DOWN, not up. HOW IS THIS GOING TO HELP ME GET JENNIFER ANISTON’S ABS POST BRAD???!!!

9:00am-9:40am: Several naps later, am finally out of there – go home to change, flat iron my newly cut hair all flippy outy, get the brown towels out of the dryer, and I’m off to the parlor.

9:40am: Except I’ve been running with the red empty light on for 2 days. I decide I can PROBABLY make it to the parlor. And there are at least some downhill stretches . . .

9:45am: Draw on eyeliner at the stop light (when I get all greens, I appear at the parlor with the bags under my eyes in full view). Consider (for the umpteenth time) whether it would really be awful to get eyelash extensions. Decide (for the umpteenth time) that despite the promise of instant, easy glamour, the $500 could probably be better spent elsewhere. Like maybe restarting my kids college savings accounts, which we put on hold to fund the first days of Julep. Or just about anything else, actually.

10:30am: Walk into the parlor, immediately get sucked into some voicemails, answering the phone to take appointments, and other random tasks that seem to urgently require my attention for that second.

10:45am: Hooray! A vernisseur candidate comes in for a complimentary service –and she’s articulate, energetic, and I’ve heard from Anthony and Hadassah that she’s an amazing manicurist and team player. I spend the next 45 minutes showing her around. I already feel like she’d be a great cultural fit, and I trust Anthony and Hadassah’s view of her professional talent, so now it’s all about showing her what we’re all about, after which who could possibly resist?

11:30am: I start taking faster and faster because my health care benefits advisor has arrived to discuss getting all of us on a health care plan by September 1st. He’s been waiting patiently, so I try to wrap up everything I want to tell the candidate.

11:40am: Kris and I walk next door to Fondi for a coffee (he pays because I’ve forgotten to bring my wallet). Fondi makes excellent brick oven pizza, by the way. But I can’t suggest having lunch, because I’ve forgotten my wallet.

11:50am: So the rates have gone up since we last talked several months ago. ARGH. And the larger network, Regents Blue Shield, has gone up by more than 20%. Given our census – women in our 30s & 40s, the premiums are pretty crazy. And I feel really strongly about making it affordable for people to make preventative, annual visits that are not just out-of-pocket. Which makes things crazier. And Kris says to plan on 10% increases EVERY YEAR. Who raises their prices 10% every year? What would our guests say if we did that? The doctors I know don’t seem to be getting 10% raises every year, so where does this money go?

12:20am: Kris and I weigh through the options, and choose a program that provides for:

- 4 doctors visits a year with a $20 copay

- A $500 deductible

- Chiropractor visits (with copay)

- Annual vision visit and coverage for prescription glasses

It’s a smaller network than Regents, but better coverage for the money. He’ll come back to our staff meeting on Monday at 5:00pm to present it to everyone and answer our questions. I want to pick a package that will entice everyone who’s eligible to enroll. We also talk briefly about healthcare and dependant care flex plans – and I decide to hold off on those until we’re bigger.

1:00pm: I’m back in the parlor and relieving Audrey from the front desk so she can eat some lunch. It's ridiculous for me to forget my own lunches, but beyond the pale to forget about other people's need for lunch. I apologize and scoot her out of there.

2:00pm: Jeanne and I talk through some personnel issues and combo-pricing questions. What’s great is that we make decisions and implement them immediately (we went onto the system and added the new combo pricing – 10% discount on any combination of classic & signature manicure/pedicure treatments).

2:15pm: Michelle comes back to remind me that I’d booked a leg waxing appointment with her at 2:00pm. Oops. I tell her that I will try to fit it in later. Truly objectively, I can say that Mae and Michelle are the best estheticians to get waxing treatment from I've ever come across - and I've been to a lot of different places, as you have to when you're always looking for last minute appointments (thank goodness those days are over).

3:00pm: I sit down with Tracey for only my third pedicure ever at Julep. Each time I sit down, I am amazed at how fun and amazing an experience it is. Despite being there all the time, it’s easy to lose track of what it’s like from the guest perspective. I LOVE being a guest at Julep. But of course, I can’t stop being the problem solver too. Poor Tracey. While she’s trying to give her boss a great pedicure, with a tricky dark polish (the “Lindsey,” which I love on my toes, but I’m thinking we’re going to have to rename given the recent episode of overly generous friends giving her their clothes with cocaine in the pockets), I’m also grilling her on what she’s observed that can be improved. She gives thoughtful, honest feedback while melting me with her massage.

3:35pm: She does a fabulous job on the polish, but before she gets to the all important top coat, someone comes over to tell me that there’s yet another vernisseur candidate who’s stopped by, inquiring about open positions! Tracey immediately reaches for the flip flops, even before I can muster up the courage to sheepishly ask if we could interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this amazing event.

3:35 – 3:50pm: I talk to vernisseur candidate # 2 for today about her experience in manicuring, customer service, team work and dynamic environments. Then I set up some time for her to meet with Amy on Monday.

4:00pm: I think about going to get something to eat, since I haven’t had anything since my peanut butter and honey tortilla after my failed attempt at yoga. But there are footbath bowls to be taken back and sanitized, the autoclave to be run, floors to be wiped, new manicure trays to be set up, and suddenly it’s 5:00pm and time for Audrey to go home, and Megan to grab a bite, so I cover the front desk again. Truth be told, these are some of the moments I love most about Julep. I'm sure that I'm not nearly as helpful as I imagine myself to be (I think everyone likes it better when I stay away from the front desk since I always leave it littered with cryptic post-its). But it's so fun to greet guests and get them booked and situated.

5:00pm: Hooray – Kate is back! I was away last weekend, then Kate doesn’t work Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so it feels like forever since I’ve seen her. It’s great to have her ten eyes, twenty hands, and ever welcoming smile back with us.

6:00pm: I look down at my cell phone (which I can't carry around with me because I'm wearing my cute brown dress with no pockets) and am very sad to see that I've missed a call from my husband. It's now 9pm on the East coast, but I call back right away and am able to catch an audio glimpse of my kids (quadrouple hooray!). I don't usually talk to them on the phone - and they both somehow sound so much littler to me than they do when they're in my arms with Eli's big ideas and Yumi's big personality. I really miss them, and can't wait until they get home Sunday night.

7:00pm: Where did the time go? Now Michelle and Dawn are coming in. I LOVE that Julep is a regular hang out for them (and the fabulous Megan/Vince/John/Kendra crowd, and many beloved others).

7:15pm: With Megan welcoming at the front desk, Kate orchestrating the parlor floor, and Michelle ensuring that the dispensary is running smoothly (when she’s not doing her amazing waxing services), I sneak across the street to Officemax to buy a new laser printer cartridge – and decide to be crazy and get some sushi to go for dinner. I even order spinach – since my mother always told me that I had to eat all the colors every day.

7:45pm: As I’m crouched under the counter fighting with the laser printer, a manicurist/salon owner friend of Arlene’s drops by. She runs her own business right now – but wanted to know more about Julep because she’s thinking about ramping down and selling her shop. She’s also Korean, and I feel sheepish that my Korean is too poor for me to say anything meaningful.

7:55pm: I help Michelle and Dawn check out - then I stupidly tell Dawn, "you look bigger than the last time I saw you!" - because she's pregnant, you see, (or I hope that I'm remembering properly that she is!) and last time she didn't look pregnant at all, and this time she was starting to show . . . BUT I'm taking away from this experience that IT'S NEVER EVER EVER a good idea to tell ANY woman, pregnant or not, that she's "bigger". HUGE post-it note to self.

8:00pm: Bradley Sweeks (from Flux, who did our beautiful custom light fixtures), and his wife Gillian come in for her birthday. It’s his first pedicure ever – and he loves it (of course).

8:05pm: I've fixed the laser printer! I am such a genius.

8:10pm: No one can find any information for a group booking I took over the phone for eight people on Monday morning. We can't do a confirmation call - now all we can do is wait and hope they show up. I am such an idiot.

8:15pm: But I’m excited to see my friends Shannon and Jenn, who are coming in for pedicures. They have started a baby blanket business called Satsuma, making soft, luxurious blankets out of bamboo fiber that naturally anti-bacterial.

8:20pm: Hmm, they are 5 minutes late.

8:25pm: Now they’re 10 minutes late – this is where we typically have to start abbreviating the service.

8:30pm: Jenn calls to say they’re almost here! I draw the footbath water.

8:33pm: They walk in – I immediately grab them, tear off their shoes and douse their feet with the waiting water. VERY relaxing. Oh wait, did they want manicures?

9:15pm: Arlene and Lisa have generously stayed late to finish up my sweet but late friends, and everyone has to get out of there fast because Rooster’s the coffeeshop behind us, is starting to paint and it smells awful. I’m glad they waited until our closing hours.

9:45pm: I drag two very full baskets of laundry to my car. I drive out – and remember that I’m approaching the third day with the empty gas light on – and that’s pushing it even for me, so I swing around and head to the nearest gas station.

10:15: I walk in the door to my house, drag the first load of laundry downstairs, grab an apple, and turn on computer to check e-mail. Skip guiltily past the work related ones to check personal ones first:

  • A reply to my “congrats” e-mail to the marvelous Sharon Marcil, a mentor who has just been appointed (Named? Elected? Annointed? Not sure what the right verb is) Senior Partner and Managing Director at BCG. Am thrilled for her. In our brief exchange, we manage to squeeze in the nick names that our respective daughters have chosen for themselves. (My daughter’s chosen “nick” name is seven words long, with various girly words like “Princess” sprinkled throughout).
  • A note from my dear friend Carrie, who I’ve been thinking about more and more these days because I’ve been thinking and growing so much recently, and going through this exercise makes me grateful for her.
  • Greetings from our friend Benjamin, who is not in Atlanta where we last heard from him, but all the way across the world in Dubai

10:48PM: Open Microsoft Word to begin chronicling this wonderful day. (With quick break at 10:54PM to go flip the laundry).

12:25AM: “And now it’s now” as my dear son Eli says when he finishes telling me about his day. And I’m headed for bed.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Online-Booking Now Live!

I'm excited to announce that we're now live with online booking (thanks to the perseverence of our very own Jeanne Riley).

Now anyone can go online at anytime of day or night to book an appointment for the best manicures and pedicures. Of course, you can still call us at - but isn't it nice to have options.

I was passionate about giving our guests this option because it's exactly what I wanted as a busy working mom. During the days, I was always harried running (literally - I sprained my ankle once when I was 7 months pregnant) to/from back to back meetings. Then I'd race home to my family for dinner - and only remember at about 9:30pm that I'd missed out on making my pedicure appointment yet again.

All my shopping is done online afterhours while watching Sex in the City and Scrubs reruns. Why can't appointment booking be the same?

And now, voila, it can.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Virgin Cosmopolitans Anyone?

We were suprised this week with a call from the state liquor control board letting us know that we couldn't serve our "Girls Night Out" complimentary glass of wine anymore. Sorry all. (Perhaps the front page picture of a guest with a glass of wine in her hand in the Seattle PI business section last Saturday alerted them?)

Apparently there was a bill in the State Legislature last year that would have allowed spas / salons (and hopefully parlors like us too!) to serve a complimentary glass of wine to their guests (I was told by the friendly Liquor control lady). But it didn't pass.

After healthcare reform, this is going to be tops on the Julep lobbying list.

All loyal Julep guests, please contact your state representative to demand your right to live in a world with accessible healthcare and a complimentary glass of wine with your pedicure.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ongoing Improvements

One of the things I love most about starting Julep is engaging in a path of ongoing improvement and growth.

Some of the improvements you may notice if you've been with us from the beginning:

1) Our cushions have now bee restuffed - cushier seat and supportier lumbar.

2) Our light tails have been shortened - making them easier to move around and get light where our vernisseurs need it.

3) This one you haven't seen if you're a guest, but our lockers and counter have finally arrived - making our breakroom just a little less of a storage closet . . .

4) Due to popular demand, we've added 2 more flat screens (total of 3 now) - making it easier for anyone in the parlor to watch Sex in the City.

A few things we're still working on:

1) Online scheduling - coming very, very soon. (Vs. the "Coming Soon" we've been stating on our website).

2) Getting additional signage out front to help you find us!

3) Getting labels for our fabulous cuticle oil (in roller ball bottles!) so we can start sharing our magic potion with the world.

4) Getting new foot-rests attachments so we can make our pedicures even more comfortable.

And much, much more.

Let us know if you have any ideas!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Bare Double Up

No, there isn't anything R-rated going on here. It's just my very favorite service these days.

I'm a busy working mom, and while I aspire to look as easy breezy put together as Reese Witherspoon, on many days, I don't even get around to remembering to put my lipstick on until sometime after lunch (okay, maybe dinner . . .). But I've always felt self conscious about my raggedy hands. At business meetings, I've gone to great lengths to distract attention away from them, and my yucky (yes, sometimes even bloody) cuticles.

The Bare Double Up is the perfect answer for me (it's not really on the menu yet, but you can ask for it - it will drive our parlor hostesses Kate and Audrey batty trying to figure out how the heck to schedule it!)

I love it because:
It's fast. The same great attentive service, in just fifteen minutes because you have one vernisseur working on each hand.

It's effective! The treatment leaves my hands soft, neat, and lovely. No more flags of cuticles waving down random passers by.

It's the perfect (fast) pick me up. I hadn't expected how luxurious it would feel to have two vernisseurs paying attention to little ol' me at the same time.

No nail polish to chip! I am hard on my hands (mopping, paper shuffling, kid bathing), so I love to just buff my nails to a glossy shine.

I spend more time looking at my hands (on the keyboard, on the steering wheel, on my son and daughter) than any other part of me. It just makes me feel more together when they look great. And if I FEEL more together, then maybe just maybe I'll get by another day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mother Daughter Bonding

We had four sets of mothers and daughters in today - with all age groups represented.

One set with elementary school aged girls ate their sushi lunches during their pedicures. The younger girl emerged with sparkly legs (our chocolate sparkle lotion) and cheery purple toes.

I love creating a place where moms and daughters can come together. I hope they create great memories at Julep, and continue to come back together over the years as they grow up.

Watching all these mother daugher interactions made me miss my mom, and wonder about what shape my relationship with my daughter will take on over the coming years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

At Long Last, Julep Nail Vernis

We love our friendly, helpful UPS guy, but we've never loved him more than the day he showed up with boxes and boxes of our very own Julep Nail Vernis.

They're in cute 1/4 oz bottles, because larger bottles of nail polish are never good after the first 1/2 bottle anyway - they get too thick. Many spas address this problem by adding some thinner to the bottle - but that weakens the polish and decreases the longevity when applied. Our small powerful bottles are going to help us give the best polish treatments in town.

We have twenty-five chic colors, including a range of pale pinks and dark reds that were developed to compliment the range of cool and warm skin tones. (We learned a thing or two from Bobbi Brown).

And they have fun names like "Halle" (smooth pale violet), "Jennifer" (soft pink), and "Susan" (sophisticated fire engine red).

But best of all, they are free of icky things like toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate.

We were almost giddy while upacking the boxes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Toddlerdom? Puppyhood?

I think businesses grow up in dog years, because after our first month, we are certainly past our infancy and out testing new boundaries, beginning to form a pattern about the way our world works.

As a parent, I always missed all of the "firsts" that we were supposed to record in those fancy bound parenting diaries I never bought. And it wasn't all just because I was eating Doritos while watching The Office.

It's also because I never could figure out the exact moment when something happened. My son surely said "bah" for weeks on end before I finally realized that he meant "ball." I didn't know what date to record as the momentous occasion of him uttering his first word. He was doing what my husband affectionately called "The Flying Squirrel" - launching from one piece of furniture to another for quite some time, when one day he started just running. He always had the velocity, though. It turns out you CAN lean to run before you learn to walk.

Sometimes, when we're trying out a new event (e.g. July 13th, our first Eighties Friday), a new pillow (round lumbar pillows, introduced sometime over the past two weeks) or a new service (the "Busy Bee" twice as fast treatment), I'm not sure if we're hurling ourselves from the coffee table to the ottoman or if we're actually running.

But just think what we'll be doing next week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Manicures and Pedicures in the Tropics

Everyday is an adventure!

Today's excitement was that our air conditioner decided to malfunction - of course on the hottest day so far.

So we swung open our doors to the fresh air, and tried to make the best of it.

Living in Seattle, my zone of comfort has significantly reduced to between 70 degrees and 72 degrees. Anything colder is too cold, anything warmer is too warm.

But it felt like the deck of the Love Boat today (did they do manicures and pedicures? or just shuffleboard?).

I think there should have been an additional member of the Love Boat team - the manicurist. She would have been more sophisticated than Julie - and more understanding, less cluelessly bossy.

As fun as this was, I won't be sad to have the problem fixed by Thursday, when we get back (we open to a 40th birthday party for six!). Although one of our guests mentioned that she thought the temperature fit well with our Southern "Julep" name.

In other exciting news, we're getting the new, lower bases to our ergonomic chairs for our vernisseurs this week, as well as our vernisseur lockers.

And we got our new lumbar pillows today!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Doing a Radio Interview While Getting a Pedicure

A woman from KPLU (our local NPR station) called me today to talk about the "greening" of nail salons. I took the call while getting a pedicure - and I don't think I quite realized that that would be the interview! So there's my best multi-tasking moment this week.

Although my vernisseur might not have thought so. Poor Lisa - I kept moving around as I was talking - I always knew that I talk with my hands (as though waving left would help the person on the other end of the line understand my driving directions better), but I hadn't realized the extent to which I also talk with my feet.

But I'm loving my white polish (a nice 180 from the black I was wearing a week ago). Very summery. Thanks Lisa!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Finding Vernisseurs

Over the past few weeks, I've had more than a few people calling for appointments annoyed with us that we're already booked for that day.

"How can you be booked already?!" one woman demanded. "You just opened! I called as soon as I learned about you!"

"I know!" I had to agree. "Isn't it crazy?" But I felt terrible about not being able to accommodate her (because she had no other times that week that would work).

The bottom line is we need more vernisseurs! The seven nail professionals we have are AMAZING, but it turns out that they can only see one guest at a time (go figure!), and we have more guests interested in coming to Julep than the vernisseurs necessary to treat all of them. Especially since Anthony is going away for a two month design internship in New York City at the end of this week.

If you have any ideas for talented, passionate, empathetic people, or how to reach them, please let me know (jpark@myjulep.com). One vernisseur had the idea to tap into hairdressers who are also licensed and great at nail treatments for part time work in our busy evening hours.

If you are a talented, passionate and empathetic licensed nail professional reading this right now, please call us at (206) 985-6644. I'd love to be able to talk to you personally to tell you about Julep, and have you experience Julep yourself with a complimentary nail treatment of your choice (please mention VIP-V at the time of booking, and bring proof of your current license).

I was so preoccupied thinking about this issue as I was leaving Julep one night that I wore my apron and wireless telephone headset home. And this is not the discreet model that makes you look like you're crazy and talking to yourself. It's the serious, heavy duty, full-meal deal that leaves it's mark on your hairstyle all day long. But it means that I can answer the phone at anytime, anywhere in the parlor. But apparently not halfway across the city, in my living room, or so I have learned.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sudafed

If you are a loyal reader of this blog (e.g. if you are my mother-in-law), you may have noticed that I've been a little light on postings recently.

That is because I've been recovering from the world's longest summer cold, while trying to start-up a business, support all our new employees, and catch passing glimpses of my family whenever possible.

I've been relying on Sudafed to get me through the day - until Safeway decided to cut me off. I was in buying my traditional cocktail of Airborne, Zicam, and Sudafed the other night when the cashier told me that they could no longer sell me Sudafed because I was past my limit.

Dear Safeway, I can truly promise you, I am not making crystal meth. In fact, I have no idea what crystal meth even looks like, or what it does (except I think my friend Ali told me once that many of her inmate clients have lost their teeth over the habit). Oh - would that I had the time for a crystal meth habit.

Instead, I am merely a very busy, very tired, stressed out mom of two who is starting a business (please read below). It seems cruel to take away my decongestants in this time of need.

Surely your demographics tell you that the #1 Sudafed purchasing group are harried women raising germ-infested children?

Please have mercy.

Parties, Parties, Parties

Today we hosted 3 bridal parties (4 to 10 people per party!), one girls night party (8 women), as well as several pairs of girlfriends.

I love bridal parties. At our last one tonight, each of the friends of the bride made a toast, sharing stories and words of wisdom. Despite having only met the bride the hour before, I was entirely teary eyed, listening from the computer where I was trying to keep track of who was doing what to whom.

We also welcomed back two of our growing cadre of regular guests. I love getting to know these guests, their various moods, idiosyncrasies, thoughts and ideas. One very nice woman has already come back several times in the three weeks we've been open - and has even sent in her daughter and daughter-in-law!

I feel really lucky to have this time helping to build our parlor into a home for communities of women.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Getting to know our guests

Two weeks in, and we're really starting to get our groove! The best part of the experience right now is feeling like everyday is better than the last.

What's really exciting is that we're starting to develop relationships with our emerging frequent guests. It's fun to get to know people, and their daughters, daughter-in-laws, and friends. I can see the outline of a Julep community starting to take shape.

One woman came in on our very first day, then came back later that week with her friend. Then they bought gift certificates to send their husbands in for Father's Day.

Over the next few weeks, we'll hopefully get our nail polishes, roller-ball cuticle oil (so very cool), and other details in place so we can offer all that we have been planning for.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

First Girls Night Out




Wow, Sarah Jessica Parker looked more like a real person on the first episode of Sex in the City. That's one of the things I learned last Thursday at our Girls Night Out. (And that Miranda had a really bad haircut).


We had lots of pairs of friends coming in to hang out, reminisce, and get glamorous with our Julep mani-pedi package and $10 brow wax. Let me know if there's any better way to spend a Thursday night (especially during re-run season).

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

First Mommy Monday!




We had our first Mommy Monday this week, where we hosted fourteen moms and fifteen children aged 6 months to 5 years. And King 5 News broadcasted live from our parlor!

In the past 72 hours, we have booked more than 20 appointments for the next month of Mommy Mondays. . . so it looks like the word is spreading. Especially with the help of mommy websites like Red Tricycle.


Of course, at the end of the day, just after Mackenzie left and I was packing up the toys, two more moms and their one year olds walked in. So Amy, Michelle, Lisa and I got to fight over who got to sit and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear to two very cute, very cooperative toddlers.

I'll post pictures later, when I remember to bring my camera home.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Opening Party






































Renata, Ali and Paul arrived in Seattle Friday night, making the launch all the more celebratory. We hosted a birthday party, a baptism party, and a belated mother's day party on our second official day! And then we had our own fabulous Opening Party in the evening. It turns out that my powers of persuasion are not strong enough to get my whole team out on the dance floor, but those that did put on their dance shoes put on a strong showing (thank you!). And thanks to all the brothers, sisters, moms, dads, nephews and friends of Julep who came to help us celebrate.







Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Attacking my cuticles

I've been trying to schedule myself in for a manicure (everyone who works at Julep gets one free service per month), and already I am Julep's worst client. I cancel with no notice - and poor excuses. Amy says they will stop taking my appointments if I don't shape up. (And I'm sure Jeanne will start charging me for the cancellations).

So today, when Amy and Lisa had a fifteen minute break between services they pinned me down and attacked my cuticles. It wasn't pretty, but my hands were after they were done!

I only wish we had done this BEFORE our media interviews! This morning Karri and I were on Northwest Cable News (filmed last week). I meant to wake up to watch it, but my daughter had a particularly rough night last night AND I forgot to set my alarm.

This week we are working through some minor fix ups with the build-out and equipment. Mitch has been fabulous about responding quickly and working out all the issues. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to stop calling him. A friend of mine was still seeing his pediatrician at age 32 - he never outgrew her, and she never told him to stop coming. I think I'm going to be that way with Mitch and Kirk.

Day 3 of soft launch - Several guests had their first manicures (and "man"-i-cure) today!






Second day, second bridal shower, first lotion sale!




Friday, May 25, 2007

First guests, first bridal party, first credit card transaction, first gift card, first cash transaction, first day!


1) Here's our first bridal party! The bride was beautiful, and seemed happier and more relaxed after being pampered by Amy. Somehow we got all the light fixtures to the middle of the room, where we gathered the chairs facing each other. The light fixtures really move! And we're really moving them!
2) Here's Amy with the bride and a girlfriend. The bride is having fajitas at her wedding for over 200!



3) Our first cash transaction.


3) Jeanne and Katerina smiling through yet another system error. Like the one from earlier today, when all of our appointment booking confirmation e-mails were going out under the logo "Antoinette Day Spa" . . . Jeanne and Katerina (or Kate, her phone handle) are like eight people's worth of energy and work packed into one.








4) Here's everyone as we toasted our survival of Day 1 (and watched the youtube of the Rosie/Elizabeth catfight which we had entirely missed while in our little Julep bubble).

Things to celebrate today:
1) Most fun day of work ever for me.
2) I remembered to call my daughter's pediatrician about a question we've been meaning to ask and got some great advice. (I had forgotten the day before).
3) Our chairs were adjusted to the right height today, so they were actually useful!
4) Our products (lotions and scrubs) finally arrived, as did our cute brown aprons!
5) We had working ottomans (or ottowomen, as actually Paul Schulman describes them) because Amy's sweet husband Heath came and installed 9 lb weights in the back (procured by our awesome Wilcox project manager Mitch Hart), and cut us dowels to use to keep the footrest secure until the proper handles arrive tomorrow. At one point I overheard him saying that this was a teeny bit more involved than he had anticipated . . . to which someone replied, "That's the way our whole week has been!"
6) We had several walk-in appointments! And several phone calls from people who had seen the article in the Seattle Times. We were flat out starting in the afternoon. It was so exciting to welcome guests in. I was actually a little sad at the end of our immersion program that we couldn't just keep hanging out and having great conversations. But this is fun too!
7) Karri is already finding ways to improve our products to do a better job.
8) We were interviewed by Northwest Regional News today! Will air on Tuesday at 6am or 8am, we hear!

Julep in the Seattle Times!

The Seattle Times ran an article on us today!

Also, we finished up our Julep Immersion Program. I was thinking today how "Servant Leadership" is much easier to execute when you can pick the most amazing people to serve. I genuinely like each of the people on our "founding team." They are smart, insightful, wise, funny, and incredibly dedicated and passionate about their profession. It will be quite an effort making everything else about Julep worthy of them.

I remember when I worked at BCG, we talked about whether you'd want to be stuck in an airplane, car, and small shared cubicle with the candidate as an important part of the hiring decision. (For a while I had the privilege of sharing a small metal desk with John Legend (John Stephens at the time), but that's a different story for a different blog entry).

I not only enjoy the Julep team, I feel like I can be who I am around them. And creating spaces for women to be who they are is exactly why I started down this journey in the first place.

But just so that I'm truthful about this whole start-up experience, it hasn't all been roses this week. I broke one of the light fixtures by accident - and two women with tools from Flux came within the hour to fix it for us! Our nail polishes haven't arrived, our lotions have been held up awaiting FDA approval, and our vernisseur chairs are still WAY too high (but should be fixed tomorrow - thanks to the fast help of Steven at Keeney's!). Thank goodness Karri invited Dr. Amy, her chiropracter, to come in today to educate us about posture and protecting our bodies in this line of work. Dr. Amy was awesome. I was sitting three inches taller by the time she left.

But in other not great news: (or "least fav" news, as our vernisseurs say), our aprons were held up at customs (they are coming from Canada), and Jeanne and I have been embroiled in an epic battle with our technology - admittedly trying to do incredibly advanced things like print a document.

Thank goodness for Karri, Jeanne, Shari and Tom, each of whom I've leaned on far beyond the pale this week (Jeanne revved the engine of her VW Jetta last night as we were racing home far past our kids' bed times). Thank you guys. I know two things: 1) I couldn't have gotten this far without you 2) where I would have gotten wouldn't have been as good, and 3) it would have been no where near as fun as it's been. Oops that's three things. I should probably go to bed now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

First day of First Ever Immersion Program






This was the most exciting day of this journey so far (but I mentioned to the team that I suspect we'll be having a lot of these record breaking days!). It was amazing to see the people who are going to breathe life into Julep. And I'm excited that the space is worthy of them.
I learned a lot today - everyone seemed so engaged and perceptive and had smart things to say. Of course I can't remember much of it right now because I am deleriously tired.

In the afternoon, Jeanne and Karri led a great discussion about how we can deliver memorably outstanding customer service. Then Jeanne showed everyone how to look at their schedules and customer data online.

It was fun to see Jeanne, who I met first as a fellow mom, in her professional element. She rocks.

This is getting really, really good!

Sunday Night


Here's how we left Sunday night - all ready for our vernisseurs and estheticians to arrive the next day.
The space doubles as a very nice meeting center.
Here's Shari, picking up our lotion labels because she doesn't trust us to put them on properly. (A well founded fear, actually). Of course, to put them on at all, they would have to be here. And we're still waiting on 1) a working dishwasher, 2) a working ice maker, 3) our lotions 4) our chairs, 5) our nail polishes. But other than THAT we're great!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Day before Immersion Program




We're getting there! Not sure if you can tell in this picture, but we've unpacked what seems like thousands of boxes. And checked off at least half of Jeanne's to do lists. Jeanne biked to Julep today (she and her husband Rich are training for the Seattle to Portland ride). Then she and Dave spent the rest of the day trying to get our cash register drawer to open (successfully!) and getting the receipt printer to print (also successfully!). Now I've got to run back to the parlor to finish getting ready for tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Gang's Starting to Arrive!



Here we all are (Lisa, Amy, Anthony, Karri, Jeanne, and me), in our workout clothes, running to Storeables, the restaurant supply store, building furniture, breaking light bulbs, buying more light bulbs, and finding some time to grab lunch on our patio in between.
Everyone has just jumped right in there! It's fun to see how infectious the fun is. I mean, of course I'm having fun. This is what I've been working on late nights for what seems like forever. But I'm just so bowled over by how dedicated Karri and Jeanne are, keeping us on track. (Karri made a hiring call while she was waiting for the report to be written after being rear-ended!). And how Anthony, Amy and Lisa have just fanned out over Seattle, dropping off brochures, collecting beef jerky, and being hit on by smarmy salesguys.
As exciting as it was to see various pieces of the space design come together, that pales in comparison to how exciting it is to see the people come together. The space is definitely better now that we have such wonderful people in it.