“RidgeGate Up Close” is our series of interviews with people who make RidgeGate a more vibrant place. Read the unexpected stories of residents, workers and local leaders who live and work here. Know someone who has a unique perspective or life in RidgeGate? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big thank you to Sarah Neumann Photography for conducting and photographing our RidgeGate Up Close interviews!
This month: Chi Nguyen, owner of RidgeGate’s 5280 Nails & Lash, at the foot of the Ovation Apartments building on RidgeGate Parkway at Commonwealth Street. At the age of 27, Chi is an astute business woman who recognizes the importance of quality and customer service.
#1. The first 5280 Nails and Lash started in Cherry Creek. Why did you decide to open a second location in Lone Tree?
Chi: “Well, I partnered with the owners there to open this location. I really liked this area. It’s up and coming. A lot of things are growing.”
#2. Your salon is located on the ground floor of an apartment building. You’re next door to Monk & Mongoose and Color Bar. How often do you see people grabbing a gourmet latte, touching up their roots and getting their nails or lashes done all in a row?
Chi: “It’s not uncommon. It’s definitely cool to be where we are. We refer a lot of people to one another.”
#3. You’re a 27-year-old first time business owner. What has that learning curve been like?
Chi: “It’s been really challenging. Honestly, I have really good business patterns. Without them I probably wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t think most people understand how much you have to put in to a new business. It’s a lot of long hours. Right now I’m working six to seven days a week from 10 am to 7 pm. When you build a business, you always have to be present for quality control.”
#4. How is 5280 Nails and Lash different from other salons?
Chi: “I think we’re different because of our customer service. Everything here is very sanitized. All of our implements go through an autoclave at night. We don’t reuse one tool for every customer, which is much more sanitary. For our pedicures, we use disposable liners and disposable files and buffers. All our pumice stones are disposable.”
#5. So your hygiene techniques create a slightly higher price point, but you’re saying it ties into greater customer service?
Chi: “Yes, our prices are slightly higher than other salons around here, but that’s because we don’t re-use anything.”
#6. What’s the hype about “organic” nail polish, and do you offer that in addition to regular polishes and shellac?
Chi: “We do. We have a gel polish that is organic because it doesn’t include six ingredients that aren’t particularly healthy for your nails. Some people are moving away from formaldehydes and parabens. We also do an organic pedicure.”
#7. You also offer lash extensions here. Can you tell a first timer what that process is like and what to expect?
Chi: “Well, you need to be able to lay on a bed for at least two hours for a full first-time set…”
#8. That sounds like an escape, not an obligation…!
Chi: “Haha, yeah, it can be very relaxing. So we’re basically gluing a longer set of lashes to your original lashes. Your original lashes shed on a cycle and then you grow new ones every couple of weeks. So, your extensions just shed off with your natural lashes. We recommend that people come in at least every three weeks to get them touched up.”
#9. How does someone know if the person applying their lashes is well-qualified?
Chi: “All of our staff is certified through Extreme Lashes, and they’re a pretty big company. Their lashes and adhesive are good quality. It takes four full days to get certified, and you have to practice on a lot of live models before getting certified.”
#10. So what does Chi Nguyen do for fun during the limited time when she is not at the salon?
Chi: “I like to spend time with my boyfriend and our French bulldog. My boyfriend has a full time job, but he helps me out at the salon on weekends. We like going to concerts, seeing different DJs and going out to dinner.”