A little corner of New York in Barcelona
21 September, 2012
In 2006, an old car mechanic’s garage was for sale on the corner of carrer Perill in the city of Barcelona. It was chance that transformed it into a beauty salon in the style of a New York nail bar.
“In Barcelona, I missed the afternoons with my friends inNew Yorkwhen we’d meet to have our nails done at one of the many nail bars that you can find there,” remembers businesswoman and founder of The Pink Peony company, Peony Herrera Sy. She has lived inBarcelonafor 12 years and it was her enterprising spirit which led her to set up her salon, which caters for men as well as women.
“It might seem silly, but cared-for hands and a properly done manicure managed to put me in a good mood for the whole day. That’s why I thought somewhere was needed where you could enjoy the same ‘ritual’ here,” says Herrera. The company has two beauty salons, one of them in the heart of the Gràcia district of the city and the other on the passeig de Gràcia. For Herrera, the success of the venture has been knowing how to combine “Asian hospitality, American customer care and European elegance.” She also says that “offering good value for money has always been a priority,” and adds: “This has allowed us to ride the current economic storm. Let’s see if September’s rise in VAT affects us in the same way as it’s likely to affect the whole leisure sector.”
Following on from the opening of the first salon, the company expanded and opened a new establishment, this time on the passeig de Gràcia. “We embarked on the adventure of opening a new salon just at the start of the recession, but despite that, we have seen sales steadily increase. I suppose that if there hadn’t been a recession like this, the increase would have been greater,” recognizes The Pink Peony’s founder. The company had plans to open a third salon, but the current economic situation has meant that they have had to be postponed. “In these times of difficulty and change which we are experiencing, the greatest challenge is to continue to offer our clients a memorable experience,” says Herrera.
The services offered by The Pink Peony are not aimed exclusively at women: more and more men form part of their clientele. “We have three male customer profiles. Firstly, sportsmen; they need waxing in order to do their sport. Secondly, those who need to have impeccable hands for professional reasons; sometimes they take the plunge and have a pedicure too. Finally, the men who are starting to realize the importance of personal care and who also have facial treatments,” explains Herrera.
Peony Herrera says that she has felt “at home” in Barcelonaever since she arrived here in 2000. Born in the Philippines, she spent her childhood in San Franciso and the first years of her working life inNew York. The world of business is not new to her: when she arrived in Barcelonashe embarked upon two professional projects, one connected with fashion, the other a foundation. Finally, The Pink Peony was the initiative into which she poured all her energies.
The company forms part of the Barcelona Beauty Cluster , which is promoted by the Generalitat and aims to put businesses in the beauty sector with interests in common in touch with each other. “When I started out on my project, the most difficult thing was to find information about local suppliers. Initially, I obtained my products from Belgian and Italian sources. If the Cluster had existed then, I wouldn’t have had so many problems. It’s an initiative which can strengthen us as a sector and promote business between the companies which form part of it,” says the founder of The Pink Peony.