She dreamed that one day she would become a professional ballet dancer, but the setback of an injury meant that Juanita Huber-Millet had to give up that fantasy.
However, with grit, determination and dreams of becoming a beauty boss, Juanita tells GLAMOUR how she went on to set up TOWNHOUSE - London’s hottest new and super-sleek nail salon.
The setback and beginning of new goals
“Ever since I was little, I took ballet classes and my goal was to become a professional ballet dancer. At 16, I went to dance school, unfortunately due to injuries I couldn’t carry that on. I then looked to see what other interests I had. I loved beauty, I’ve always loved beauty, so I studied beauty therapy here in London - at the London school of Beauty & Makeup.”
The road to success
“After beauty school I studied business, because I thought it would be really good to have a background in business as well. I knew eventually I wanted to build something myself but I wanted the understanding to support that.
“I did a BTEC in Business, I was going to go on to do a degree in it, but I’m quite a creative person, and I really love the creative side of things; although I really enjoyed business, I didn’t think it was necessary for me, but it gave me a good grounding. I then worked for a little while, I was trying to think of what to do next. I decided to do a degree in Fashion Design at the Institute of Marangoni, (London branch) which is an Italian Fashion School. Studying there was really enjoyable, I finished in 2014 and my collection was selected for graduate fashion week.”
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A job that inspired
“After my degree, I worked at Matches Fashion, I was the EA to the CO there and it was really interesting; Ruth and Tom chapman started the business and they’re so inspiring, they built it from such a small company and now it has completely flourished. Being involved in that moment and to see what they had achieved inspired me even more to do something myself, or at least to try. I started thinking 'shall I do something beauty again?'”
The start of something new
“I love beauty, I always have, and I felt that there was something missing in London with nails and waxing. Something I have always had a problem with is going to the same beauty therapist and not getting a good guaranteed treatment. I think it’s really important to understand not just the products, but how the treatments are done. Here we do a two-week training course for all the therapists, to make sure they do everything the TOWNHOUSE way; they had all the skills already, but our way has a certain routine to follow, if customers come in together and have the same treatment, it will start and finish at the same time, you will know what to expect. Consistency is really important.
“We want to be there for our staff and encourage them to grow with the company. We don’t take tips, so that customers never have to worry about keeping cash on them and there’s no added pressure that you have to, I’ve always hate hated that. Here we just encourage customers to come again and we want them to feel comfortable and enjoy their treatment. We pay our staff more, because they don’t get tips, so it doesn’t affect them; it also allows more security for our staff because they know how much they will be getting each month. We are doing things a bit differently here, hopefully it’s for the better.”
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“The cleanliness side of it is so important”
“When it comes to your health, it’s so important to know what we are putting on our skin. I’ve had many bad experiences, nearly every wax I have had, they always double dip; they use the spatula, put it on the skin and then it goes back into the pot. It’s terrible because then you can imagine all the fluids that are on the skin go into the pot and it’s used on the next person.
“I did lots of research before opening, I went to see different companies and I was trying different treatments, to see what was out there in London and everybody was doing it; everybody was double dipping and I couldn’t believe it. When I went to America for research, I saw a few different companies and had treatments, it’s such a different level of hygiene there and customer service; I think we should have the same here, In London.”
“At TOWNHOUSE, we have a lab, everything is cleaned in there. First it goes through a sterilization unit, which removes all the debris, and then everything goes into the auto plate, which is a really high-pressured unit that steams everything. It’s hospital grade.”
Doing things differently
“We had the booking engine designed for us, it was built for us by the website company, so we could have the functionality. We take bookings online, rather than walk-ins, so it’s as easy as possible for the customer. They can book an appointment, cancel the appointment and change the appointment, whenever they want to. It means you won’t have to call and hope that someone answers or be put on hold, you’re guaranteed with email confirmation if your appointment has been cancelled or moved, the only thing we have is a two-hour cancellation policy.”
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“The Nailfee booth is the first in Europe, I wanted to do something with photos, but people wouldn’t want to sit in front of a camera and have their photo taken. I thought what could we do with the hands? By chance, I was looking and found a place in New York who had something similar and I thought, 'we have to have it!'”
So, what’s next?
“I would love to develop TOWNHOUSE into a chain and have a few around London, that would be the ideal goal. It would be amazing to gradually get larger and have a few more in England."
You can book at appointment at TOWNHOUSE