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Meet Helen and Celine Chen of Brookline Beauty Nails & Spa in Brookline

Today we’d like to introduce you to Helen and Celine Chen.

Helen and Celine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Funny enough, we’re two sister-in-laws (Helen and Celine) who have always shared a passion for beauty and fashion, and knew that one day we wanted to be business owners together. Who knew that a shared love of skincare and lipstick would lead us to finally take the leap, and open Brookline Beauty Nails & Spa? We opened our salon in January 2018, after years of training and experience that spanned two continents. A few years ago, both of us earned our US licenses in cosmetology, then worked in salons in both the U.S. and in Asia. In Asia, we worked in salons and even became makeup artists for fashion shows in Hong Kong, so over time, we learned a lot of beautician techniques that aren’t applied as often in the U.S. We found a lot of these techniques used in Asia hadn’t yet made their way over here, and worked really well on clients — clearer skin, much more natural looking lashes, more of an artistic take on nail art, etc. Most trends — both beauty and fashion — have a history of starting in Asia and making their way slowly over to the U.S. Consider the surge in K-beauty products all across beauty magazines now. We’re hoping to take all that we’ve learned as beauticians in Asia and offer new techniques and the very best — in nails, waxing, eyelash extensions, and cosmetics application — to our clients in the Boston/Brookline area.

Has it been a smooth road?
As many entrepreneurs would tell you, everything is a learning experience, and the toughest part of entrepreneurship is that there’s no one manual for success. As small business owners, we’ve quickly learned the importance of being both organized and proactive, as well as flexible and adaptable. It’s incredible being your own boss, and seeing your clients happy and feeling beautiful, but with every small business, there’s the slightly less glamorous side. People often talk about the fabulous side of business ownership — make your own hours, own your successes — but with that comes questions and challenges with supplies and equipment, staffing appropriately, training, advertising, legal documentation, cost management, etc. We’ve learned a lot in the few months we’ve been open (and are definitely never bored), and come in every day aiming to learn and improve so we can give our clients the best services and experience possible. The reality is, it takes a whole lot of work to create a relaxing experience, but our clients’ happiness is what keeps us going and excited to come to work every day.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
At Brookline Beauty Nails & Spa, we aim to give our customers quality salon services at reasonable prices, and more importantly, a relaxing environment where they can get away from everyday stress and feel like they are truly treating themselves to some proper “me” time. We offer manicures and pedicures, waxing, facials, eyelash extensions, and cosmetic application. Whatever services our clients request, we want them to leave the salon feeling relaxed, confident, and beautiful — inside and out.

Here are a few fun things we offer: we play an assortment of soothing meditative music, offer complimentary tea/coffee/chocolates, and have an Instagram-worthy wall mounted with pretty spectacular flowers. We know our customers lead busy lives, so to make things seamless, they can easily book appointments with us on our website (www.brooklinebeauty.com), and communicate with us via text message and email. We reward our loyalty customers with additional discounts, hold giveaways/sweepstakes, and offer discounted kids’ manicure/pedicure services. Our staff is also incredibly talented and trained with nail art, so any ideas you bring us, we approach like an artist to canvas. We have a growing portfolio of nail art designs, so check us out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/brooklinebeauty) or Instagram @BrooklineBeauty.

With respect to the more serious stuff, we are borderline obsessive about cleanliness. For this reason, we sterilize implements in our medical-grade industrial machine, sanitize workstations after use by every single customer, and custom-built some of our furniture (e.g., pedicure stations with sinks and not reusable bowls). We genuinely feel that our customers deserve the very best, so their health and wellbeing is not something they should have to worry about when they visit us. We also encourage customers to let us know if they have any allergies or health issues we should know about so that we can make special arrangements and adjustments for them if needed.

We also love teachers! We appreciate the sacrifices, infinite patience, and contributions that public school educators have with our kids and the importance of their role in society. For that reason, we offer a special teacher discount; they just need to show proof of their teaching license.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
From all of us at Brookline Beauty Nails & Spa, we would like to acknowledge and thank our Brookline neighbors and customers for their warm welcome, positive feedback, and for letting friends and family know about us. Being the new business in town we appreciate that customers give us a chance to help them relax, put their feet up (figuratively and literally,) and to show them what we have to offer. We hope to be a permanent fixture in town for many years to come and to make meaningful contributions to this unique and wonderful neighborhood.

We’re also extremely fortunate to have supportive friends and close-knit extended family, who are the support and backbone of our success. It truly does take a village to raise a child or run a business. First and foremost, our biggest thanks is to our cousin Judy, who volunteers her time advising us on web-based presence and logistics. She’s essentially our beloved third sister, and Jill of all trades. Our husbands have also played the essential roles of handymen to keep us operating smoothly. We count ourselves extraordinarily lucky to have quite the supportive village.

Last but not least we would like to extend special appreciation to our very talented and dedicated employees/team members without whom we would not be able to celebrate our milestone successes. It is inspiring to see how each of them have continued to practice what they love to do and further refine their skills. Each of our staff brings unique skills, passion, and personalities to the salon and we are so lucky to have put together such a strong team.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Ellen Wong, Dan Lui, Andrew Feingold

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