Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bijou girls doing the Charleston!

Ho Ho Merry Christmas! Here are those fun Bijou girls doing the Charleston! Where oh where do they find the time!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Bijou girls do the disco! Busy little elves they are!

So the Bijou girls and I have been busy little elves this holiday season! After eating so much for turkey day, and with me busy getting the salon decorated for Christmas....They decided to take a break and make 3 little dances...Just for you all! I'll post one per day! Todays dance was the disco...the holiday disco! Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

4 Things for Christmas

Hi there!

I'm Kim, a recovered Christma-holic! Let me share my story...

All kidding aside, I did this 4 years ago and (as usual) share my story with everyone! (My mother gave me the "gift of gab" I use it well:)

First let me back up a bit, Christmas for me was always plentiful! I don't remember any skimpy Christmases, although I 'm sure there were some, but in my memories the tree was always FULL FULL! I seem to remember the most the years as i got older when my gifts got higher priced and so therefore I had fewer. I remember in 9th grade I got ski's for Christmas and a couple of other things, but the ski's I remember taking pictures of myself holding my ski's!

So fast forward to when I became a Mom myself, I wanted a lot of gifts under the tree and really it gave me a certain satisfaction to see alot of them, BUT bugged me that after the first week the toys were never touched again! They seemed to covet the Lego's and books mainly. Everything else is forgotten and tucked away neatly in a closet (HAHAH this is the part where I laugh, you see, I have boys, nothing is tucked neatly, it's under the beds, corners, everywhere but where it should be, something else they may have inherited from me, I guess I could admit my Dad reads this and he'll be sure to point it out:)

SO 5 years ago, the first year of my separation, I really wanted Christmas to be perfect, I scoured the Internet for the unattainable toys and really broke my back to get soo much! And of course, most things weren't played with after a couple of weeks!

The next year I vowed to make it different!

I had heard or read, I really can't recall where this brilliant idea was found, I don't give myself that much credit to say I came up with it myself, but there is a slight possibility that I may have concocted it on my own:)

So here it is....

Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear and Something to read!

I sent a "memo" from Santa, saying that there were so many children who actually had nothing and that he was "scaling" down! The boys could make as many suggestions as they wanted, but it would be one thing from each category! They had a great time thinking of things, changing the needs to wants..."I want ice skates...but actually I could "need" them, cause they CAN get me places" And to this day, they still love making up the list.

Now the night before Xmas, I had 8 gifts under the tree, 2 very small packages, and 2 that were unwrapped (sleds) For my own taste, I thought it looked pitiful, I suddenly had a panic attack and Thomas had to talk me down from the ledge of wanting to head to walmart of p&c to get something, anything I could wrap to put under the tree. I thought...what if they think he never came....or even worse...what if they thought they were bad. Plenty of tears were shed that night and the guilt of being a parent overcame me...But Thomas got me through it and we went to sleep.

The next morning...the boys woke up and were amazingly so, JUST as excited any other year....they got exactly what they wanted and coveted each gift. Playing with them and most of all appreciating them!! So I was me! It was all my preconceived ideas of what Christmas was...the gifts were all my ideas. Christmas is so much more special this way and we never have the question of where to put it! We usually make a scavenger hunt for the gifts and that makes it really exciting!

I hope everyone has a wonderful shopping time, stay warm and most of all safe! Also remember to try and shop local, we have many wonderful stores with great one of a kind meaningful gifts!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bijou becoming Bijou, Part two - The shopping

First of all, did anyone know that when you spend a lot of money in one day, the bank calls to make sure no fraudulent activity is going on...I never knew they did that and let me tell you when the bank calls you and says, "we've noticed some highly unusual activity on your debit card" I almost had a heart attack, thinking of all the money I had in my bank account in that moment and all of it draining as we spoke..."What!?!! what KIND of activity?"...the bank associate preceded to tell me all the places that I had visited the day before and how much was spent...I very excitedly told her...."oooh phew, no that was just me, all me, but thank you so much for calling!!" So in case you ever go on a shopping spree and spend a lot of money in one day, the bank will call you! I'm pretty sure that will most likely never happen to me again:) Well maybe someday for something else, ya never know!

So to continue my story, if anyone is interested. Basically I had money in my account on the 1st of August and went to Marshall's to start my shopping. I came back with 2 chairs. And let me tell you, I hemmed and hawed about those two. I came back home to try some Internet shopping, after having many online anxiety attacks, I shut down my computer and gave up. I'll just wait.

(not sure what i was waiting for, but I waited)

The next part of the story is kinda like in Cinderella, where the fairy godmother appears to help Cindy with her situation. Her fairy godmother was named just that, fairy godmother...mine was named Shelly from Drooz studio, so much of a more fun fairy godmother cause while we shopped we drank latte's and gossiped:)

So my fairy god sister knew I would have a bit of a problem with the shopping part, her specialty and my downfall, plus she was essential to keeping me on the same "theme" and not make it look like an eclectic mess!

Shelly does much better than the design on a dime show and is so creative and whimsical and just plain perfect:) She (Thank's God) called to see where I was in my purchases..."Well, I bought two chairs!" Now thinking back on it, it was Saturday the 4th and I needed to have everything purchased by the 15th of August, because the whirlwind began then and our opening date was September 4th! She (being nervous for me, I think) asked if I wanted to go shopping tomorrow, we could spend the whole day and get a lot done! (Thank's God, again)

So we started at Sam's club, on the way grabbing a jolt of iced coffee and talking about inspiration. We had met earlier the week before for breakfast and after she had proposed the most decadent color of all, Chocolate brown, I did find a bowl (our manicure bowl to be exact, yep that was our main inspiration, that bowl!) I was kinda wondering how Sam's club would be of help, but I didn't have any doubts in her shopping ability. On the way in the car, we had been talking about a soar subject, the desk issue, basically I had a 4 foot allowance for a space, we both pictured something brown and she pictured something high, that she could put her bag up on to search for things in there and maybe a small vase of roses to smell before paying the tab. I had been looking at desks online for the whole week and they ranged in price from $1500 to $5000 especially custom made desks. So after walking the aisles for a bit and finding some storage bins that would work well for perm rods and etcetera's , we went to the furniture area and there standing (picture beams of light shining down on it and Que the music) was the most perfect "desk" perfect height, perfect finish - brown marble and chocolate brown finish...but logically I was scratching my head (sometimes I have a hard time looking outside of the box) "But Shelly, it's a bar!" That is how I know she is way more creative then me, in my brain I was thinking it's a bar not a desk, and she was thinking...its anything we want it to be!! Such a huge lesson for me:) So simple! Always remember, anything can be whatever you want it to be! That was our bargain of the century, perfect size, extra storage, a little pull out shelf for the keyboard and excellent price...$500. Now my budget for my desk that I had allotted $1000 for, I could move over that extra cash to another area...Perfect! We had a great start, picked up a table for the reception area, the 4 mirrors at Target, a candy jar (very important) the retail shelves and the giant potted grass for on top of the retail!

The next day we went to the beauty supply store and although Thomas and I were on our own, we poured over pages and pages of options....HA who am I kidding, we only got through a couple of books and then decided on the first option we saw when walking through the door. We did some more moving around of our budgets, I had budgeted $400 for the stations (thinking I could go ultra simple and just use a tall table) but found these awesome towers that held all the tools inside, and the whole idea of hiding cords appealed to both of us. However that was double of what we wanted to spend, so we were going to roll it over in our heads and make the final decision in a couple of days. The chairs we had looked at there, weren't doing much for me, they were grey, not silver like I wanted, so at that point I just could not make any decisions!

I went home and thought about my chairs, I envisioned them and wondered if they made silver chairs (the sales rep told me no they did not make silver, only grey...bah!) So what do you do when you want something?? Well you google it, don'tcha?? And better yet (I'm so lucky, because this seemed to happen all through our shopping and ordering experience!) they were half the price that I had budgeted for them, so suddenly I could throw some of that money over to my station budget! Pure harmony (in a budgeting sense:) We placed that order and things started arriving, the pile in my garage started to get overwhelming, and I questioned if everything I was buying would in fact go together...scary!

The last trip I had to make was to Ikea, I pleaded with anyone to accompany me, but no one could:( So me and my brave boys went alone, we drove on the 13th of August, 4 hours to PA, shopped for 5 hours, (my head was spinning to say the least) and 4 hours home and a very very full car! I had gotten the panels to separate the areas, the manicure table supplies (we made our own) the shelves for under the mirror (they matched perfectly, although purchased from two different places...see, harmony!) and the items for our tiny color area/dispensary, all ikea bathroom furniture! (see I did fully understand the lesson on making things be anything you want them to be:)

I'm sure I missed some things in there, but all in all, it was so NOT painful to do all that shopping and in the end, miraculously it all came together perfectly! Thanks to my buddy Shelly, we couldn't have done it without her, just having her presence and advice helped in so many ways! It was funny, we were so in sync that I would find something online, would email it to her, and she would have been looking at the same thing. My sconces I have above the stations, I found them at Lowe's, she has them in her studio, I sent them to her in an email and she had been looking at them in the studio, thinking of taking a picture of them to send to me as a suggestion....

Harmony, Bijou was built on harmony:) It must be why the flow is so wonderful in there! I do always notice when people are sitting, processing their color, or getting a pedicure, clients all talk together, people meet, find common ground and I have even seen clients exchange numbers, laugh hysterically or even shed a tear. It's so relaxing, the flow must be due to how it was created, harmoniously constructed through friendship and love. Okay, I'm totally being corny and normally I would delete this, but it's 5am and I'm okay with being corny right now:) Although I have probably missed some very important shopping situations, after rewriting this, I'm so thankful for the people in my life and corny I will be, I'm okay with that!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The "Eagles" have landed....

Here are the made in china pedicure chairs, soon to be gone, gone gone, lesson learned - gone!

See all gone! Empty spaces waiting for the made in Wisconsin:) pedicure units!

Want a peek? Here's one!! Did I just see it wink? Such a flirt these chairs are!

Bright, shiney, inviting and almost smelling of new car smell:) Ready to test it out...who will be the first to review Mr. or Mrs. Rinato!?!

Really, for those of you who have appointments with me tomorrow, don't worry if you're running'll find me, relaxing in these chairs, with the heat and massage running up and down my back!

Loook, they even have cup holders!! Per Thomas request! Something that he thought the old ones were missing!

Generally when I make this statement, I mean my boys, when they have arrived safely someplace, I say this:) It makes me feel all covert! (remember, I'm embracing my corniness) BUT today, it's my new additions to the Bijou Staff...Mr. and Mrs. Rinato!!! (A standing ovation IS necessary, I'll clap for you:) I can promise you these two will not disappoint and they are surely the best pedicure chairs in Skaneateles!!!!

Well let me tell you, as I type this....I hear drills and other things that go buzzzzing....One old, crappy made in China pedicure unit has left the building, and they are working on the next one, disassembling it as we speak.....scratch I type! Hmmm strange, I hear filing...could the one guy be giving the other guy one last pedicure? Maybe I should go back and check! Okay no worries, they are just filing the pipe, when they cut it, it cuts at an angle, I know, you don't reallly need to know this, but bare with me, I'm excited!!!!

Can someone call the kids, I may have to sleep here tonight on the nice comfy pedicure chairs!

update: The last one is being installed, I hear things like..."I don't hear any leaks, but I need your confirmation." and "I don't see leaks, I don't hear leaks, no leaks no leaks!" Okay, it's late and these poor guys have worked hard. They are in and here are the pictures! They are beauties aren't they!?!?! Just for you, and you and you and you!!

update #2: OOh I just learned a really cool fact about these chairs...(we are all about being CLEAN here at Bijou!) The unit has a little fan on the bottom, as it is not a piped whirlpool, so the fans are way better, and our little fan has 3 little parts, that unscrew easily and then we clean them and put them in the ultraviolet sanitizer and the cool part is, each unit has an extra set, so we can use them, disinfect them with sanitizing solution and then put them in the ultraviolet sanitizer for a while! Ahhh, I love simple solutions for cleaning!!!

The new pedicure chairs have taken off, estimated arrival time...

Estimate arrival time is 1 hour! Wooo hoo, I think I'll take a seat and get a fantastic warming of the buns and massage:) Yes they have heaters, ahhh luxury at it's best!

It is 3pm right now and they are due to be here around 4pm or so! Now i'm getting a bit nervous...what if I don't like them!? No! I think I'll be fine, I saw the exact models but 4 years older and I would have taken the old ones in a second!

I'll post photos:) gee I feel like an expecting auntie or something:) maybe I should start knitting some pedicure socks until they come!

Stay tuned, pictures to follow:) yippee skippee!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How Bijou was born...Part One..

Bijou on August 15th, 2007

So much to do, so little time..let's get painting

This is not a story that was planned. Au contraire, it came out of nowhere, when I least expected it...I guess all great things come when you stop looking:)

I was happy enough at my current place, not interested in making any changes (change can be scary and I generally prefer to maintain things status quo) when one day my dear friend (who coincidentally I attended small business classes 4 years prior with) Gloria who owned a small business in town, broke the news to me that she would be closing. She asked me if I was interested in taking over the lease. I quickly (very quickly) replied "Nah, I'm just fine where I'm at!" She asked me if I was sure one more time and then convinced by my conviction, let it go! This was right after the 4Th of July last year.

Now fast forward 2 weeks later...One of my other dear friends, a business owner and former hairdresser, Chris, (she has the best gift shop in town) was in getting her hair done and asked me if I was still looking for a place of my own, I quickly said "Nah, I'm just fine where I'm at!" She did not buy my conviction and challenged me further (she's wonderful for that:) I kept insisting that there was no way, I was a single mother, I didn't have the time, I was fine fine fine where I was presently working after all there were no troubles....she asked me something that made a paradigm shift in my thinking.

She asked me "Why are you always waiting for something to go bad before making a change, why not make a change and do it on your terms with a plan?"...oh boy, she got see I hate change, but I can do it with somewhat of ease...when its in desperate times and I HAVE to, when I am not happy and have put up with too much or when things aren't going so well anymore, I hold on until the string literally breaks....Chris was proposing for me to make a plan, execute it and succeed...hmmmm novel idea. But I was still not hiding behind my excuses...I will be FOREVER grateful to her, she continued to call me out on every single excuse I threw at her...and trust me I had some great excuses!! She is a true friend, one who is not afraid to call your bluff, I am so thankful to have her in my life! (Thank you Chris!)

So after she left, she made me promise that I would call the landlord of the building (I didn't know if it was even still available) She even called me the next day to make sure I would (I had not at the time...she MADE me swear I would)

I did call him...and set up a time for July 27Th to meet with him. I started working on a business plan, as I knew that would be essential for the whole thing to happen. My beloved partner, Thomas, helped me and his belief in me was empowering...after all he is one of the smartest people I know, is blunt with me, telling me his honest opinion at all times. Along the way, I kept giving fate little tests...I would ask everyone that mattered to me, what they thought, vowing that if one single person gave me a negative endorsement, I would back off and listen...well guess what? I could not find one! I even went to who I thought would be my toughest sell, my parents (I was thinking, they don't even think I can drive back home to Chicago by myself, they'll tell me I should not do this) But they were so supportive and told me yes they thought I should do this point, it was all so surreal and I knew this was going to happen.

I have always said, if you don't know what to do, push each door, ever so gently, and the doors that swing open are the right doors to go down...I've stopped pushing for things or forcing life has positively flowed in the right direction ever since I stopped forcing and just let things go naturally. Everything happens for a reason, every experience (even bad ones) we have is essential to our futures! Afterall what does not kill you will only make you stronger!

So I will have to continue this story another time, because the rest is all about shopping...very exciting indeed;)

Here is a glimpse of what the inside of my garage looked room for parking a car here...tons of boxes and still more to come...ooh boy..
Stay tuned for part 2, the shopping and getting me to start buying and what proved to be much harder than I thought it would be!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another lesson learned...don't have something delivered before seeing in person first!

Okay so last night (late last night) I made a very excited post, knowing that at 8am the next morning our luxury pedicure chairs were going to arrive at the salon!

Well excitement fell flat when I looked closely, although he tried desperately to convince us that they were the ones that I had indeed ordered, I knew they were not, finally after a little while and me looking online at the one that I had ordered, he agreed, he must have ordered the wrong ones.  A few things were missing, and although from an engineering point of view (one that is considered very carefully of course) it was an improvement, esthetically they looked like we downgraded and the seat was not as plush and soft as our made in china ones, but they also had manual recline and pulling forward or back, a cheap option if I do say so myself!  So after he set them up and brought one inside, we both vetoed it.  Sigh, back to the drawing board, I am waiting right now for him to give me a quote on another model and our lesson was learned....never have something delivered without actually seeing it in person!!  Online it looked fine and nice, but in person it just wasn't to our standards that we strive for at the salon.  
One thing that really bugged me was the material used for the base, it was just like the material used in he kids toys, the big outdoor ones, like the little tykes stuff.  But as the guy said, they use that because its durable and can withstand  kids....So sorry to deflate any ones excitement about the new pedicure units, (couldn't be more deflated than mine;) but soon they will come and then we can celebrate!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Brand new Pedicure units at Bijou in Skaneateles and how we learned our lesson to not purchase things made in China!Okay

Okay we here at Bijou, strive for perfection!  Plain and simply, we want the best for our customers!  

When a little over a year ago I was making the decisions for equipment and my heart was skipping a beat over the price of the luxury pedicure chairs made in Europe.  After much consideration (well as much consideration 2 weeks would allow) I decided to either get one pedicure chair OR get two, but not the ones I wanted.  My good friend at Syracuse Beauty, assured me that these pedicure units that were designed by an American company, but manufactured in China were okay...well he wasn't too convinced himself, but they did have a 2 year warranty so that was a plus, and they had all the rest of the options I insisted on.  (Pipeless technology, massaging seats, etc)

The first thing I noticed when we tried them out, was the roller on the back that should go up and down, only stayed in one spot, not a big issue, as one of my massage therapist friends often sits in it to actually "adjust" her back.  But to me, it was not perfect, I did want perfection, but this would have to do for now.  Planning on in a couple of years getting the ones I really wanted!

So for the first year, they did their jobs okay, but had some issues along the way.  Both of them at different times sprung leaks, once we pushed in the button for the spa and it pushed all the way in, another time the lovely green light kept flickering on and off.  Just annoying and well I guess common these days for made in China stuff:(  So not too long ago, pedicure chair number 2, started leaking, when Jerry came to look at it, and I mentioned how many things would have to happen before I declared them lemons and had them replace them, he informed me that unfortunately the company went out of business, altogether!  Oh great, now if he could not fix it, there was no place to send it back to.  Jerry was kind enough to offer me a trade in, for the models I wanted to begin with.  The European Spa, with the roller back that goes up AND down your back.   So we did lose a little bit on the deal, but not as bad as it could have been!  The way I look at it is, had it not been for all of you and giving those pedicure units a run for our money, we wouldn't be in the position to be able to get the ones we want for you!  So thank you!  And please come in and give them a test drive!  I guarantee it, you'll love them even more than the other ones:)

Be sure to stop in at Bijou in Skaneateles to check out our brand new European touch, pipeless technology, luxury pedicure units!  While you are here, be sure to stop at the desk and sign up for our email list!!!  We send out coupons regularly for our special clients.  And there has been talk in  the salon with the girls about doing a coupon after all the holiday craziness, for a BOGO free deal.  Shhhh, don't tell everyone;)

The new units will arrive Sunday bright and early, the only morning that we are not there, being open 7 days a week sometimes has its disadvantages:)

Okay so after reading through the website for European touch, I realized what a sucker I am (or rather how gullible I am:) To correct myself, before Thomas (who is European;) does, European touch is not made in Europe, but in Wisconsin....well come on, there has to be a lot of European heritage there...I know I have been to German fest in Milwaukee!  So rather than going back and rewording everything in this post...I figured some of you who really know me, would get a laugh.  Most of you know I believe everything at first and am very trusting as well:)  However, they are indeed MADE IN THE USA  and that is good enough for us!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back to brown and blue!

October is officially over!

Time to store away the pink capes (the young men we have been putting pink capes on are breathing a sigh of relief;), pink combs, pink retail bags and pink ribbons everywhere! Our month of fundraising is over! Although our last week of the month was one of our slowest, with a lot of sicknesses, including mine, we had one of our top months thus far!

I don't have the official number yet, (I will post that as soon as Thomas gives it to me:) I have a semi official word that it is close to $2000 that we will be sending to the National Breast Cancer foundation! Next year for October, I say we double that! Which I think is 100% attainable, because we really brainstormed for this fundraiser last minute and with more preparation, could have done even better!

One thing I hope to do, that happened in the last couple of weeks, is to join forces with Laura Ponticello, right from the start this time. Laura approached me toward the end of the month (although it's better late than never;) and I was delighted to collaborate with her, and carry her lovely lavender products. She generously donated 20% of her sales (in anticipation of selling them, so far so good, we only have 4 sets left!) from the lavender whip, room spray and soap! The trio is a great deal for $30.00 (also sold separately) it makes a wonderful gift and the smell is pure heaven! I will be sure to make a post solely dedicated to the Lavender gal's products, because Laura always donates a portion of her sales to some charity (which is why she has been voted the woman of the week) and that makes me honored to carry her products! (click on all the highlighted areas in this paragraph and read just who is - Laura Ponticello!)

But I am super pleased with this first attempt:) Thank you to everyone, including the hardworking Bijou girls and the ever faithful clients new and old! Once again, we couldn't have done it without YOU!