Martinez and her husband, Carlos, opened Salon Empire – a 4,000 square-foot health and beauty mall with 19 furnished individual units in a retail plaza at 1750 Sunshadow Drive in Casselberry – in 2021 and are moving forward with plans for a second Seminole County endeavor later this year or early in 2023.
“This is the age of the entrepreneur, where everybody wants to be their own boss,” she said, adding that salonplexes offer just that to tenants who provide a variety of health and beauty services including hair, nails, makeup, waxing, tanning, tattoo, yoga, massage, acupuncture and chiropractic. “And, it’s really one-stop shopping for their clients.”
In the beauty industry for nearly 25 years, Martinez, 38, also owns Oh La La Brow Bar off of Michigan and Bumby Avenues in downtown Orlando. She got the idea for a large complex of mini salons because many of her tenants left to go to salonplexes and be independent proprietors.
“I thought, ‘I need to get one of those,’ ” she said, feeling confident that she would. She also noticed that many tenants and clients traveled from Seminole County to her Orange County business.
“Orange County has a lot of salonplexes, but they’re just starting to grow in Seminole,” Martinez said. “We decided to focus on Seminole so that health and beauty artists from Seminole could expand their hours and their clients could receive their services closer to home.”
Martinez, who began her career at the age of 14 by helping at her mother’s salon, received a degree in interior design while working in the brow and lash industry, and started her own company with a $2,000 tax return when she was a single mother.
“I went to school while I was working and told myself ‘I’ve got to finish. I’ve got to get my degree because I have this child and I need to show him you must finish what you start,’ ” she recalled.
Fast forward to 2022: Martinez – the epitome of perseverance – has a nine-year-old son and a three-year-old son, is married to a contractor, owns two companies and hopes to eventually franchise Salon Empire.
Martinez said they spent nearly $200,000 on the project, which had revenue of about $50,000 in less than six months.
“I’m projecting a return closer to $200k this year, since we will be operating at full capacity,” she said. Only three of the 19 100-square-foot suites currently are available.
Salon Empire has a logo put on the door for tenants, provides a ribbon-cutting opening party, pays for all utilities and towel service, and many tenants don’t even need a license, Martinez said. They work off of Salon Empire’s beauty license unless they need a license for another specialty. “Otherwise, just come with your box of stuff and set up.”
The couple has been scouting Seminole County for their second Salon Empire and is negotiating to lease a 2,000- to 3,000-square foot facility west of Interstate 4 in Altamonte Springs. While smaller than the first, the suites at the Altamonte facility will offer a boutique-style feel with lavish finishes.
After the second Salon Empire is up and running, Martinez said she will start the process of opening a third with a goal of eventually franchising her concept.
“This will be easier to franchise than the Brow and Lash business because there’s very little training needed for a salonplex. The real work, she said, comes with launching it.
“We’ve already launched one Salon Empire. We did everything. With my degree in interior design, I was able to do the floorplans, all the finishes and electrical plans for the build out, and my husband and I did all the construction.
Martinez said many salonplex owners are investors who aren’t part of the beauty industry.
“I think it makes quite a difference when you come from a beauty industry background. You’re more in tune with what the tenants need and what the clients want to experience here.”
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For more information about this release, please contact:
Natasha Martinez or Carlos Martinez, Co-Owners Salon Empire 321-331-5846 firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-461-3781 email@example.com