In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right?within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services?from foundation checks to express facials?allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.
Armed with shears and hair color, quality skincare products, and a mile-long spectrum of makeup and polish colors, the team at Lavish Salon and Day Spa issues makeovers big and small. Hairstyling and makeup artistry from the Lavish artists can completely change an individual's look?say, for a wedding or prom. Facials, meanwhile, craft a smooth, healthy canvas for cosmetics?or make complexions so glowy they don't need foundation at al. To keep things interesting, Lavish staffers offer seasonal services, like the cherry chocolate rose facial offered for Valentine's Day. And with its creamy color palette and hardwood floors, the spa helps visitors feel as sophisticated as they look.
When you think of a traditional tanning salon, you might imagine rows of tanning beds ready to deliver bronzed skin in 15-minute doses. Premier Tanning Salon is no different?it boasts eight Ergoline beds with four levels, in fact. But what sets Premier apart is that it also specializes in sunless tanning. The salon's Norvell Auto Revolution machine delivers an automated airbrush tan in just three to five minutes, covering skin in a choice of three levels of color. The sun-kissed color lasts up to a week, and it won't rub off on clothes or fluffy white cats in search of petting.
Joining the witness-protection program is the best way to disguise your identity, but the vast array of costumes at Halloween Express gives the program a run for its money. For more than two decades, the chain’s 300-plus stores have supplied customers with costumes year-round from vampire capes for Halloween to Caesar togas for the Ides of March.
In preparation for the fall of 2013, they’ve added more than 3,000 new items to their Halloween collection. These costumes range from Day of the Dead masks to Darth Vader costumes for dogs. The store’s party supplies add a spooky touch to festivities and include tombstones, rotting pumpkins, and giant hairy spiders.