Business

New salon hoping to nail its market

Margaret Laverson is turning nails into art.  - Charlie Bermant
Margaret Laverson is turning nails into art.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

The word Margaret Laveson uses most to describe herself is “creative,” with an ability to use canvases both massive and miniscule.

For example, her new studio in Port Orchard features both a large painting hidden behind a sheet and the ability to paint artworks that fit on your thumb.

“I’ve always been a painter,” Laveson said. “I was holding a brush when I was 3 years old. It comes naturally to me.”

For Laveson, the evolution from child painter to nail artist has been a long and winding journey.

During the 16 years she resided on Bainbridge Island, she lived an artist’s life, embracing long periods of solitude in order to develop her art.

But one day she visited a high-end Poulsbo nail salon and realized she could channel her talent into this very personal art form.

After a divorce, a move to Montana (where she went to nail school) and a bout with cancer, she landed in Port Orchard, where she opened her own small business.

The idea has reached its fruition with the recent opening of the Cerulean Blue Studio Salon, which serves as an outlet for the small, medium and large products of her artistic impulses.

“I want to provide a place where men and women can meet in a cozy, comfortable atmosphere,” she said. “I will offer great conversation, as part of a peaceful, happy environment.”

Laveson, who is the business’ proprietor and sole employee, offers a variety of treatments that include manicures, pedicures and massage.

The costs range from $30 to $70, which is an extravagance she feels many people can afford.

“With this economy, a lot of people can’t afford to go on vacation,” she said. “So they come here for two hours and treat themselves to something special.”

Even as she consistently refers to her business as “high end,” she charges far less than the average urban nail bazaar.

She also uses safe ingredients — the better to serve her customers and protect her own health (she has been in remission after being treated for breast cancer last year).

Laveson saw the commercial potential of a nail salon immediately, believing she “could do for nails what Starbucks did for coffee.”

She has kept the idea pretty much to herself, since “modern society has a vampire-like characteristic, where other people can suck away your original ideas before you can develop them.”

While she played the role of a reclusive artist for some time, it is the social aspect of her new business she finds the most appealing.

As the holder of a liberal arts degree, she claims she can hold up her side of a conversation about any topic.

“I can always find things to talk about with anyone,” she said. “People who come here will not be bored.”

Laveson admits she’s facing an uphill battle toward profitability, but is confident that she can succeed.

She has a business plan, and enough resources to manage until she builds a clientele.

“When I had cancer, I prayed to God and said if I recovered I would commit to painting,” she said. “I went into remission, and since then everything has gone as right as it possibly could.”

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