Drawn-out spa treatments can be luxurious, but sometimes, consumers just want the glow of a facial or a new set of lashes without a 90-minute time commitment. Having lived the perpetual time crunch as business owners and working moms, Michele Henry and Alexandra “Ali” Nanne saw an opportunity to create an express beauty and skincare bar with the atmosphere of a modern spa but the efficiency of a blow dry bar. Their new concept, The Face Foundry, opens this weekend at the Galleria in Edina.
“We’re really trying to play to the convenience factor,” says Henry, who recently sold her share of Minneapolis-based boutique chain Primp, which she co-founded. Nanne also has entrepreneurial experience as founder of Lash Refinery, an Edina salon that she still owns. The two met in 2017 and bonded over their desire for a beauty bar where they could get affordable facials, fast.
Most Face Foundry facials will be 40 minutes or less and priced at $65, compared with what Nanne and Henry say is the industry standard of one hour or longer at an average $100-150. The founders say they cut time by focusing strictly on the face and specific desired treatment and eliminating the 15-20 minutes of pampering that often accompanies a spa facial. They also offers lash and brow treatments and makeup application and sells exclusive beauty products the founders designed with a dermatologist.
The Face Foundry is set up for same-day appointments. They’ll also provide a text alert service so a walk-in customer can go do other things nearby while waiting. That’s especially convenient in a mall setting—Henry says they chose the Galleria as their first location based on the shopping center’s modern look and atmosphere, and the strong foot traffic they observed there.
“The people that frequent Edina are very loyal customers,” Henry says. “That was something that really spoke to us.”
But even as they open their first location, the women already have plans to franchise The Face Foundry.
“We’re taking this and running as fast as we can,” Nanne says. “[We] think it’s going to be something that really becomes big in the next few years.”
Nanne and Henry credit their confidence to client feedback, as well as to the success of a similar spa chain in New York called Heyday, which recently closed its Series A with $8 million to fund a national expansion.
The Face Foundry owners say they don’t to walk the exact same path. They consider franchising a better alternative to acquiring a big investor.
“We [are confident that we] really perfected this model,” Henry says. “The beauty of franchising is you’re buying into a model that already works. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel… there’s reassurance and profitability in that.”
Nanne says they want to open two more locations by the end of 2019, with more to follow across the Midwest. “I think there’s an exciting factor in empowering other people that want to become business owners."