Seattle hair salon gives princesses the royal treatment

Seattle hair salon gives princesses the royal treatment

by Kristen Rojowski

Kelly Brownlee of Seattle finds it difficult to pick her favorite aspect of Lily's Pampering Salon & Party Boutique. From the collections of vintage candy and fun costume jewelry to the fluffy pink and white decor, she and her 6-year-old daughter - also named Lily - love soaking up the relaxing ambiance of the boutique.

"It's the perfect salon for girls," Brownlee says.

Erin Quigley, 45, owner of Lily's, discovered the need for her niche pampering services after having mediocre experiences while treating her two daughters to birthday pedicures.

Frustrated by the lack of a kid-friendly atmosphere and sanitary conditions that weren't conducive to serving children, she decided to build a salon equipped with furniture and services that cater to young ladies. Four years and hundreds of happy little girls later, Lily's Pampering Salon & Party Boutique is a popular destination atop Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.

The increase in beauty services for children is a trend that's starting to develop in more affluent parts of the country, says Brad Masterson, communication manager for the nonprofit Professional Beauty Association. While the association doesn't regulate services, he says, it urges beauty professionals to make sure they're strictly following manufacturers' guidelines to ensure the services they're providing are suitable for children.

Quigley says she understands how children can be more susceptible to germs and fungi, so she keeps sanitization a top priority at Lily's. She uses plastic liners in manicure bowls and pedicure sinks for each client. "I just want to give parents the same peace of mind I want with my kids," she says.

Lily's offers girl haircuts for $25, boy haircuts for $23, manicures for $12, pedicures for $17, and baby's first haircut with a lock of hair and a photo are $30. A variety of birthday party packages start at $285, and include sassy updos, posh polish and cupcakes for eight. Parties are held in a special room on the second floor. The salon has two stylists and six party coordinators.

Quigley, who also works in the home staging business, admits she didn't know how to run a salon at first, so she focused on creating the atmosphere. Her expertise shines in the elegant touches, such as the ornate gilded mirrors and silver trays adorned with real china teacups that serve sparkling pink seltzer to little patrons.

The "wickedly cool" butter yellow couch, marvelous chandelier - which provided inspiration for the salon's design - and cupcake-scented air makes little girls feel enchanted, Quigley says. "I wanted sophistication and elegance," she says. "Something dramatic that would really knock people's socks off."

That's exactly how Wendy Newson felt when she took her daughter, Jordan, to Lily's for the first time. The Newsons have been regular customers since shortly after the salon opened in 2006. Jordan, 6, gets a haircut every six weeks and also chooses a manicure or pedicure. "Lily's makes me feel really special," Jordan says.

Jordan also celebrated a birthday at the salon. Quigley says she didn't realize the birthday parties would be so popular – they are now about 50 percent of her business.

Lily's offers services to all ages. During the day when children are in school, it caters to women. "It's a special place," Brownlee says. "The kind you want to go tell everyone about."

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