Beauty & Fashion
Get buffed up
Quirky and classy, Buff Beauty Parlour was conceptualised and developed over a period of three years by a well-known entrepreneurial family. Sisters Tracy Gielink and Kim Davidson together with their mom, Debbie Davidson collectively own and run three Umhlanga-based businesses including The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway and five-star boutique hotel, Teremok Marine.
The iconic, sweet and sexy animated character of Betty Boop was the original inspiration behind Buff Beauty Parlour, which offers a range of services including nails and waxing to lash and brow grooming. “The Buff brand and space consciously incorporates quirky components and magical elements as it flutters between wonder and whimsy and borrows from past and present. It provides an evocative sensory experience that is countered with slick professional treatments delivered by passionate staff in candy striped pinafores,” says Tracy. Having been appointed Essie’s flagship salon in South Africa, the parlour has fabulous Essie manicure stations (imported from Italy) that come with a handbag hook and built-in extractor system to combat the dust and strong odours associated with acrylic and gel nails.
“We have been called ‘game changers’ in the beauty industry, which is an enormous compliment. It has taken three years to develop the Buff brand, which portrays our passion, idiosyncrasies and rather offbeat sense of humour!”
The salon layout is an open plan store, with various pods within the space, each with its own theme, ranging from an American diner to a manly workshop. The parlour even has a funky, retro American diner-styled area called The Soda Fountain, where they serve old fashioned soft drinks and handcrafted gourmet donuts. The inimitable artist Frida Kahlo stands at the helm of the Brow Bar and make-up station and there is a soft, salmon-hued area called Glow dedicated to tweens and teens. The Workshop is aimed at men – offering them a comfortable environment in which they can experiment with grooming. Betty’s Boudoir boasts a gorgeous, life-size sculpture of Betty Boop and a discreet black wardrobe is filled with luxury erotica where you will find sexy underwear, frame-fitting corsets, bachelorette party paraphernalia and a few other naughties.
For those looking for a function room, there is the Alice In Wonderland-inspired function area called The Salon, which can be rented out for small, exclusive soirees. Adjacent to that is the communal Nail Station which can accommodate 10 people for manicures and pedicures. There are also waxing rooms fully equipped with televisions and warmed beds!
Often asked if the concept was imported from overseas, Tracy says she has been told that Buff would fit in perfectly in LA and New York. “As much as these are meant as compliments, what we really want is for Durbanites to proudly discover and enjoy Buff.”
The brand and business embrace technology and there is not a ‘please switch off your cell phone’ sign in sight! There are even easily accessible points for charging phones – and a digital library for clients who can check out tablets loaded with e-magazines. “Yes, there will be other outlets in the future, but Buff’s heart and heritage will always be in our much-loved hometown of Durban.”
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Buff Parlour are offering one lucky reader the chance to win exclusive use of The Salon with five friends plus a R150 Buff voucher, cappuccino and Wicked Donut, all worth R3000! To stand a chance to win click here!
Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport