THE ORIGINS OF BUFF PARLOUR, UMHLANGA
Sisters Tracy Gielink and Kim Davidson were raised on fashion and horse racing, along with lectures on independence, the value of hard work and perils of chipped nail polish. As teenagers, their talented mother, Debbie Davidson, harnessed them to work on various high profile events that she co-ordinated and it’s hardly surprising that the three ended up as business partners.
Once flippantly referred to as The Trilogy, they adopted the collective name as it sounded like smaller, more stylish version of the mafia. Their different personalities and backgrounds (ranging from public relations to eventing, marketing and journalism) have seen them become an entrepreneurial tour de force as they own and run two Umhlanga-based businesses.
The first was The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway which opened in 2001 and was the first main stream success in the franchise. Once again, Debbie, Tracy and Kim delved into the unknown two years later, when opening Teremok. The five-star boutique hotel has won numerous awards and hosted many local and international celebrities, and also incorporates the highly regarded Teremok Spa.
The well-travelled, trend conscious family is very discerning and strives to provide clients with the same experience that they expect. After all, there is value for money at any and every price point. The ultimate compliment? Being told that they have thought of everything.
The Trilogy concedes that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity and, as any other intuitive business person does, they brazenly use it as a skipping rope. They may have raised eyebrows as they flouted industry norms, but who cares unless they are perfectly groomed ones! Their brand successes have always been fuelled by a lack of preconceptions and approaching the business as a client rather than an owner.
Brand development took three years and, as much as they loved the creative process, they adore being active in the business on a day-to-day basis and finding new ways to re-inspire and delight clients.
For all our braggadocio, we have to point out that it really is better at Buff!
We had no experience in the nail industry so we set about creating a space we would enjoy as clients. We adore design, fashion and trends and purposefully steer away from anything stereotypical, so the process happened organically. The idea was originally to specialise in nails and waxing but we then decided there were other elements we wanted to incorporate like Glow skin care, the Workshop for men and the Soda Fountain. And so, Buff metamorphosed into a grooming emporium.
We have to brag about our imported Maletti manicure desks that were worth the price tag (gulp). They combine form with function and we love the sleek modern lines and work-friendly surfaces. The Italian design is evident with features like handbag hooks and a built-in extractor system that alleviates dust and the odour often associated with acrylic and gel applications. And they are much larger than the standard mani desks. Swoon!
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, so we’re all about the extras. We use OPI Infinite Shine (instead of a normal polish) which is a gel/polish hybrid so it applies and removes like a polish but lasts longer. The newest OPI colour collections hit our shelves as they are released because we believe in being on trend. We call our manis and pedis hand and foot facials as we use premium products which contain facial skin care ingredients. You may have seen these called “anti-aging” treatments elsewhere with a higher price tag. And speaking of such things, all Dermalogica facial treatments incorporate imported BT (Bio-Therapeutic) technologies and we don’t charge extra for them. Why? Because you deserve the best results.
Our hot wax from Naked Cherry is vegan and hypoallergenic, and that’s not just to impress the Millennials. Then for another over-zealous group, the coffee connoisseurs, the Soda Fountain has a full time barista pulling fresh shots daily. Everyone loves a bargain and, because some people need them more than others, we celebrate Magical Monday with 20% off all treatments. Every. Single. Monday.
“The space seems to evoke a childlike joy – perhaps because we were inspired as much by fantasy as we were by reality.”