Give Yourself A Holiday At Poppy & Monroe

hol·i·day; ˈhäləˌdā/ (noun)
"a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done."

Webster's got it right when holiday became a common word, but what if we brought it back into our busy seasons?! When your to-do list becomes longer than your wish list, it's a challenge to be in the moment- let alone relax! Last week I found the it-spot to pamper yourself, take a breather and maybe even cross off a few gifts on your list. Sherri Coates and Karen Kops know the hustle all too well. Both in the design/marketing world, they collaborated to launch Poppy & Monroe, where the cost of beauty doesn't require the cost of health! This beauty bar and nail salon resides in a beautiful 19th century home in Germantown district. Sherri and Karen's luminous space gives visitors the comfort of natural products and a hospitable staff! In my interview with these lovely ladies, you'll learn about the benefits of waterless services, their journey as entrepreneurs and locally sourced goodies in their boutique! You’ll also find photos from their opening party which included complimentary manicures and food provided by Juice BarCupcake Collection and Monells! This season, give yourself the ultimate treatment and set a resolution to schedule your personal holidays throughout 2016. ;) 

Left to right: Sherri Coates and Karen Kops

Left to right: Sherri Coates and Karen Kops

Tell me about your background in design.

SC: I graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles with a Merchandise Marketing degree so while in college, I was already interning for a west coast based department store similar to what Nordstrom is today. Back in those days, if you were a buyer, you did everything from product development, finance to marketing so I was exposed to fashion design for retail sales since I was 20. When the Internet boom started, I started my company Coates Consulting Inc. out in California (I'm from San Diego) and started with many of these same retail accounts and fashion brands to extend their brick and mortar stores to online presence. I was going to design and market that line at retail for her but ended up loving the industry altogether so I grew her brand to work with all the major hotel brands such as Starwood, Hilton, Marriott and so on.  I ended up signing on two more clients in the hospitality industry so I basically designed soft goods (bedding, window treatments, anything textile and fabric related) for many of those brands through my client's respective companies. I also do side residential projects when they're interesting in nature. I prefer designing modern and contemporary spaces in general.

KK: My background is in textile design. I love anything pattern and color related! My career started with Macy's in their product development department in New York City and moved through various tenures at well known companies including Designtex, Knoll and Hunter Douglas. My last corporate position was leading the design and marketing charge for the Hospitality branch of Hunter Douglas Window Fashions. While I loved my work I felt a calling to do something entrepreneurial and as such I started a consulting company to assist clients with product development, digital marketing and design. In addition to working with corporate clients, I also started an interiors firm focusing on residential and contract design projects. My aesthetic is definitely eclectic with a focus on blending architectural details with clean, modern furnishings. Layering is key to a well-designed space.  

Karen, what are the most important steps that small business owners can take in building their brand?

KK: Research everything! Get a comprehensive scope of the current market and who the major players are, figure out what's missing and develop your brand around solving the need while also providing something fresh that people haven't seen before. Be unique! I also think paying attention to the details is key. Given my background, branding is a huge passion of mine and there was no detail too small when we were creating our marketing package. Although it's time consuming, I think coming out of the gate with a polished aesthetic is crucial. Lastly, social media! This one has been a tough one for me as I've never been much of an online gal but I totally see the impact it has had on our business and realize it's an essential tool which enables us to get our story to our target market. I'm learning more about it every day which has been really fun! 

Sherri, what characteristic of space/design have you found allows customers to feel most at home when visiting a local business? 

SC: I would say what we accomplished renovating this 1870's home. The very characteristics of an old home as this, with all the special characteristics, inherently makes it feel cozy, warm and inviting. It's like stepping back in time somewhat and appreciating that era's design elements. Even though Karen and I both agreed very early on to modernize it, we also were very attune to keeping all the special little details about it and certainly drawing as we envisioned.

What about the location stood out to you as the perfect place for your boutique? 

SC: It was literally a drive by for me as we were scouting locations. We always had Germantown as one of our top contenders for our first one but once we walked in, we saw how much potential it had.  This is the perfect live/work/urban demographic we were hoping for. We love our neighbors!

Can you talk about the artist you chose to implement in your design?

SC: Ed Nash is a very dear friend of mine.  I have admired his work firsthand as a client and now I've specified his work for residential clients and many friends. His studio is right here in East Nashville and he really is that rare talent who can turn out many great pieces of work in even a very limited amount of time, as he kindly did two of our pieces in I would say a week. It helps greatly to have amazing artists friends like him for sure. His eye for combining colors, textures, mixed use and scale is one of the best I've worked with. 

Product recommendations you carry or services offered that would refresh dry skin and nails during the winter season?

KK: OurLuxe services are essential for dry winter skin! In these we use a heated, eco-friendly paraffin alternative which is a blend of vitamins, essential oils and soy proteins. This will leave your hands and feet baby-soft and super hydrated. We also sell an outstanding nail and cuticle balm pen from Lauren B. that fits in your purse and is great for moisture on the go.  Lastly, I can't recommend our Lip Whips from Kari Gran enough. These are an amazing alternative to standard lip balm which is typically full of icky petroleum and other harsh chemicals. Kari's Lip Whips are packed with essential oils including avocado, sunflower and calendula. They are never sticky, they smell great, stay on throughout the day and they come in both neutrals and bright colors. Anyone that's tried them so far has been back to buy more as they want them at home, in the car and in their purse - they really are that good! 

Tell me more about why you personally chose waterless services for your business.

KK:As I mentioned before, research was a crucial part of our process. In looking at trends in salons and the nail care business in general we kept running into this concept of waterless services.  Intrigued we took at seminar by one of the pioneers of the trend while attending a beauty show in Las Vegas this summer and that's all it took-we were hooked.  In speaking with medical professionals as well as nail care representatives around the world, we knew it was something we had to bring to Nashville given the benefits in brings to the table - better polish adhesion, less risk of water-borne bacteria and the ability to save a valuable natural resource. Did you know the average salon uses over 15K gallons of water a year?!?!. We knew there had to be a better way! 

Story behind the name, Poppy & Monroe? 

SCWe are located on Monroe Street so we wanted to pay ode to Presidential named streets in GT then Karen's son Monty's name just happens to be Montgomery Monroe so it seemed that much more fitting. We both love Poppy flowers... they are a beautiful color, fun, fresh and also happens to be easier to say than our other loved flowers Peonies.:-)

You sell a variety of locally sourced brands- what is your favorite product?

SCI personally really love the social enterprise behind Branded Collective. They have a great story and personally, I feel anything we can all do to help with preventing trafficking and helping victims transition is a good thing.

KKAila is a locally made nail lacquer that we use and sell. The quality is amazing and Dr. Cary, the founder, is such a sweetheart. Blueberries and Lace is another local label we love. In addition to selling their line in our shop we've also collaborated with them on all of the products we use during our services. The lotion, scrub and detox soaking salts were all custom designed to our specifications in our signature scent of rose and tea tree.  It's been a blast working with them on these items.  

Pros of owning a small business and any advice you have for those in the process of starting their own?

SC: Doing something that you enjoy, are passionate about, and if it helps others; as I feel our services do from the health perspective especially is what ultimately gives me fulfillment.  Karen and I both reached the top of the ladder so to speak but many times, it left us exhausted so even though we are very time constrained these days, getting this business up and running, we are also very inspired and excited for all the possibilities ahead.

Favorite local spot in Nashville?

SC: I love my neighborhood 12th S so much so I'm always out and about all over there with my dog Cooper.

KK: I'm an East-Side girl so I have to say Shelby Park is my personal fav. 

Favorite local spot outside Nashville?

SC: Leiper's Fork. Sitting right outside the galleries in the wooden chairs outside and just staring out in open country spaces.  

KK:Chattanooga. I love going there for a quick weekend getaway. Great spots for kids, great restaurants and some really charming shops.  

Fill in the blank: When I need a day to pamper myself my go-to is ______?

SC: 90 min massage minimum:-) & a mani/pedi at P&M as funny enough, Karen and I don't have time to do much these opening days so thank goodness our artists sit us down and do us up. :-)

KK: Honestly, one of the reasons we started Poppy & Monroe was to have a place we'd want to go to. Our goal is to soon add waxing and makeup services too so I can honestly say a day at Poppy & Monroe would be my ideal. Getting all those services done in one place, with healthy products, is a dream for a busy mom like me.  

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