INWOOD — Evelyn Duran wants to revolutionize the Uptown salon experience by making wait time a great time for her customers.
Duran, 27, is the owner of Bleu Beauty Bar, a combined salon and lounge that will open at 264 Sherman Ave. this December. The business will take up two adjacent storefronts, with the reception area, makeup rooms and a lounge for customers on one side and a salon on the other.
“The idea is to enhance the customer service experience specifically for women,” Duran said. “They spend longer hours in the salon. The services they get take longer, and their wait is often unpleasant.”
At Bleu Beauty Bar, customers who are waiting for a hair appointment or mani-pedi can relax in the plush blue-and-white lounge area, which will serve cocktails and wine as well as a simple menu of appetizers, salads and paninis.
Duran, who previously worked in corporate banking, came up with the idea for the bar after she grew frustrated by the long wait times at local salons, many of which take clients on a walk-in basis rather than scheduling appointments.
“Downtown they have services where you’re in and out. They’re consistent,” she said. “Up here, it doesn’t work like that.”
Duran said that she used to call her stylist in advance to find out if there was a line. Even when her stylist gave the OK to come in, Duran would sometimes arrive to find that several clients had shown up in the few minutes it took her to get there.
“It was frustrating because I want to do productive things with my time rather than just listening to my hairdresser while she does five other people’s hair,” she said.
To that end, the lounge will offer free Wi-Fi for customers who need to get work done and it will also rent out iPads. There will also be comfy touches like slippers for those who want to get out of their high heels.
Duran sees the lounge as a great place for customers who arrive early, for times when an appointment runs long or for women who come in with friends and get services that take different amounts of time.
The lounge, which will only be available to clients, is physically separated from the salon area as dictated by New York law. Community Board 12 voted to recommend approving the bar's liquor license on Tuesday.
Bleu Beauty Bar, which has no connection to Beauty Bar on East 14 Street, will offer a full range of hair services as well as manicures, pedicures and makeup application.
Duran said her main goal is to make her clients feel truly pampered.
“We spend too much time and money [at the salon] to have a bad experience,” she said.