In Seattle, Washington, an Italian family creatively blends
retail and service into a new salon experience.

Giovanna Duque, co-owner of Duque Salon
+Spa+Boutique in Seattle, Washington,
cannot remember a time when her family
did not offer their beauty clients something
other than hair. Whether it was a biscotti,
coffee, or tea, she says it’s unheard of in
her Italian culture not to offer the client an
offering of food. Naturally, that ideology
carried over and that’s why she explored
different retail options. Her newest idea—
selling candy to customers:

How to do more retail in your salon
The salon’s candy section connects clients to their childhood and provides a nice add-on to gift card purchases.

Why do you think exploring different
retail opportunities, such as candy,
strengthen your brand?

Since I don’t have time to bake, we wanted
to appeal to that sixth sense and candies
appeal to that. We offer Retro rock candy,
Wax Lips from the ’50s and ’60s, Fireballs,
Mary Janes, Chick-O-Sticks, old fashion
taffy, candy necklaces, nostalgic gum, just
to name a few. Sometimes I see clients get
tears in their eyes when they see the candy.
It makes them happy. It’s a great add-on to
a spa gift card or a purchase.

What other unique retail options have
you explored in the past? What has
worked and what hasn’t worked?

Besides candy we offer an entire boutique
of goodies. Clients who walk in will see
a mixture of expensive and inexpensive
items. Our boutique is a place where rare
finds are juxtaposed with well-made, less
extravagant items. Geared towards the
savvy shopper, “No girl is left behind,” as
we offer something for everyone’s budget.
We offer an eclectic array of accessories,
books, candles, cards, journals, luggage
and women’s novelty items.

Through it all, I’ve gone far and wide with
my retail options. I first opened my business
with a shoe store in the salon, which went
well, but I didn’t want to devote that much
space to storing the shoes. We also had a
denim bar but now we don’t sell anymore
soft textiles other than lingerie.


How to do more retail in your salon
Owners: Robert and Giovanna Duque

Established: Circa 1995

Product line: Phyto

Average price for cut, dry, style: $85

Family members involved in
the business:
12 or more; it changes.

What are the strengths and weaknesses
of working with your family?

As a traditional Italian family, we share a
similar work ethic. Our cultural mentality
dominates how we do everything. If we
are ever in a heated argument as a family
we usually solve it with a roundtable
discussion … and sometimes we have to
reconvene to really let it go.

However, it all boils down to being
responsible to the customer. We have provided
our community with consistent good
customer service. Today, I think there is a
huge issue with work ethic. Sometimes you
will see hairdressers answering their cell
phones over clients, but for me, that’s not
acceptable behavior. If a client buys my time
they will get 100 percent of my time. As a
family we believe these same things.

Other than exploring different retail
options, how is your business different
from other salons?

Our family plays it straight. We are honest
with our clientele and we are very committed
to delivering them results. However, if
something will not work, we are honest and
tell them it’s not going to turn out exactly
the way they want. We are very committed
to delivering results but at the same time
we are not going to give up the fun.

How to do more retail in your salon