Bartlett resident Wanda Smith Chunduru is passionate about helping her customers to feel pampered, relaxed and at their beautiful best from their visits to her salon. She chose the name “Sundar” (pronounced SOON-dar) from the native language of her husband, Ravi, because it means beautiful or handsome.
Sundar Hair Enhancement & Nail Studio, located at 2765 Wolfcreek Parkway (across Germantown Parkway from Wolfchase Galleria) is a full-service salon that opened in June, catering to a multicultural clientele will all types of hair care needs as well as offering waxing, brow and lash services, nail services and more.
“Whatever it is we do, we like to bring it to the table for everybody, for a wide range of people,” Wanda said. “And I think people feel comfortable with that.”
She encourages parties, couples, people celebrating anniversaries and birthdays, bridal parties and more to take advantage of what her salon offers.
Among the salon’s distinguishing features are the tall white throne-like chairs with silvery filigreed wood trim imported from China, draped with swathes of purple fabric and completed with sequined pillows. The iconic chairs are grouped in the lobby and extend throughout the salon, including to the pedicure area.
The nail area has tall white chairs pulled up to a tall and narrow white bar, evoking the feel of a fancy restaurant’s bar along with the salon’s dimmed lighting and the relaxed jazz music. The salon has an exotic Indian/Moroccan feel with a Hindi print of an elephant, hanging lamps with beaded or pierced metal shades and intricately carved frames for tall vertical mirrors.
“It’s definitely my style,” Wanda said. “I’ve always been inspired by culture. So this is just bringing something different to the Memphis area.”
Although she has a number of clients who drive long distances for what her salon offers, she is looking to grow her business by adding more local clientele. And Wanda knows something about operating a business and helping it to thrive. Sundar is not her first foray into entrepreneurship.
Previously she operated a rural salon in Brighton that her father built for her when she entered the profession at age 19. She built up a client base there for about five years. Then she wanted to expand her skill set, so she went into the hair replacement industry, where she worked for the past 15 years until she launched Sundar in June.
Starting the business involved more than professional skills and the design of a place with aesthetic appeal. Her husband, an IT professional, researched the point-of-sale system and other equipment the business uses. The couple also chose a very practical state-of-the-art ventilator system to minimize dust from nail services. Another distinguishing feature they felt was important for the salon was the addition of private styling rooms for those who don’t want to sit in a public space while their hair is being treated, cut and styled.
Those private spaces are going to be perfect for Sundar’s next expansion into hair replacement services, which many clients feel are more private than regular hair care. She hopes to partner with area hospitals within the next six months to serve cancer patients suffering hair loss from their treatments, people with alopecia and other clients with vanishing hairlines and thinning hair.
“They can work one-on-one with their technician and just keep it in a private setting without being in the open,” she said.
She has another upcoming project designed to help the next generation of hair stylists and nail technicians. In January she will be partnering with schools to offer apprenticeships, taking new technicians under her wing and pairing them with experienced staff who can mentor the newcomers to the profession.
Some potential clients fear that the luxurious ambiance will be reflected in the prices, Wanda said, but the prices are comparable to other salons in the market.
“You’re actually getting a quality salon with still comparable prices, in your neighborhood, surrounding area,” she said. “So we’re very economical.”
Behind the glam of the salon is a structure of order and cleanliness that Wanda said she takes pride in. For example, a pedicure involves not just cleaning the bowls but also cleaning the jets, sterilizing the equipment and more.
“That’s very important to the public and they can feel very confident with that,” she said.
Aside from the ambiance and the services themselves, she believes customer service can make or break a business, and she expects customers to be greeted warmly, served well and treated professionally.
Complementary wine adds to the pampered feeling for male and female clients, and the salon serves both. “It’s a king and queen appeal,” she said.
CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.