Nailing It – Retail Design Is About The Customer Experience

Retail designer Gold Coast
Nail salon retail designer

Designing For The End User

Retail design is so much more than coming up with what the Client wants. It is everything about what the Client’s end customer is after. There is a very big distinction between the two. Often a Client’s biases can step in the way of their very success.

Retail designers often have to take courage to challenge their customer’s preconceived thoughts and ideas in order to deliver them a result that exceeds their expectations. A recent case is Jade Nails. They had very set ideas about how their manicure and pedicure salons should look like, having opened up a number of salons on the Gold Coast under the same brand.

Businesses Need To Evolve

Their salons hadn’t evolved with the changing needs of the Customers and looked bland and outdated. Nail salons are notorious for being bright and bland with very little soul. Considering that manicures and pedicures are luxury services, the design of these businesses don’t generally match this.

The need to update their brand came partly from where the new business was to be located. Robina Town Centre had a new section that it was opening and had very particular guidelines to follow. This set the scene to be able to take Jade Nails to a new level. It took a leap of faith from the Client to be open to re-branding his business considering he had a number of salons operating.

Nail salon retail designer
Nail salon retail design

The Brief

The Client was into feng shui so we were very sensitive to include elements to satisfy their requirements. The other stipulation was to retain marone in the branding which they had used for their other salons. Additionally, the lighting had to be bright on the customers hands and feet in order that the technicians could work comfortably. The Centre was after warm natural finishes which went against the look and feel of the Client’s other stores.

Customer Centric

I worked primarily with the son of the owner who was more open to new ideas. I explained that the business must be focused on the customer and their needs and less on the preferences and individual idiosyncracies of the Client.

Colour Psychology

The first thing to address was the colour scheme of their previous stores which were marone and white. The colour scheme was outdated. Marone is strong, lively, and passionate. Customers come to relax and want a soothing experience. White is very clinical and lacks warmth. The two colours create great contrast.

Instead, we suggested to reduce the amount of marone and white in the colour scheme. In fact, we suggested using tones of the marone – shades of pink. Pink is a colour of trust and empathy. Combined with natural timber finishes, the colours provide a relaxing environment where customers can sit and chat while having their manicure or pedicure.

Nail shop retail design

Great Lighting

Another aspect of the design that we focused on was the lighting. In the existing stores they were lit up like a Seven11. This provides great task lighting for the technicians but doesn’t provide any ambience for the customers. The brief was to provide great lighting for the technicians and this allowed us to create more interesting mood lighting for the rest of the salon. Lighting over the manicure tables was boosted by suspended plywood pendant panels. Feature pendant lights added visual interest and lighting was used in a dramatic way highlighting the screens and floral plywood panels.

Manicure shop retail designer


The careful crafting of the retail space taking into account the nature of the Client’s business, their budget, the experience that needed to be created for the end user, and the shopping centre’s guidelines can help to create unique spaces. Spaces that create a memorable experience for the customer. Spaces that create warmth and ambience and has the customer succeed through repeat business.

Delivering More

As designers the goal that we set out to achieve was to listen carefully to what the Client wants to achieve. Then we combine our knowledge, talent and experience to create something that fulfills their brief but does so in a way that goes beyond their expectations.

Everybody has their field of experience and the best result happens when the Client recognises your role as the designer. This is when the magic begins. Rather than delivering what the Client thought they wanted there is the opportunity to deliver so much more.

Retail designer Gold Coast

Brand New

With Jade Nails the Client realised earlier on that by taking a leap of faith in our abilities, putting aside the branding of their existing shop that they had they had the opportunity to create something fresh and new. The result speaks for itself. The Client has only been open for a week and he has had so many shoppers walking past step into the shop to have a look and comment on the design and fitout. Additionally, the Client has noted that the Shopping Centre believes it to be the best shop in the new section.

Retail designer Gold Coast

The Client can look forward to increasing sales with their new store, for it not only stands out but provides a relaxed atmosphere to be pampered.

Nailing It!

There is a great sense of achievement when everything comes together from the design to the fitout and when at the end of the project we see the Client beaming. It makes all the long hours and effort that much sweeter.

Designing Success

Jade Nails is just one story of what good design can do for your business. If you would like to know more about how we can help you with your next project please feel free to contact us.

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