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The Interview: Juanita Huber-Millet, Founder of Townhouse

Sophie Smith
18 May 2022

Nail salon brand Townhouse was first founded by Juanita Huber-Millet in 2018. With a cult celebrity and VIP following including Drake and Love Island stars, Townhouse welcomes customers to enjoy its range of treatments and seasonal nail art collections.

Initially launching with a standalone salon in London's Fitzrovia, Townhouse now has two additional locations at Harrods in London and H beauty in Milton Keynes.

In this interview with TheIndustry.beauty, Juanita speaks about the inspiration behind starting the brand, its Harrods concessions and the importance of design to create high quality customer experiences.

What was life like before Townhouse? What is your career background?

I have always been a very creative person. When I was young, I found my first passion in dancing. I followed my dream including attending full-time dance school but sadly a nasty injury brought that all crashing down. My world for the last ten years had just stopped and I wasn’t sure what to do next. So, I hedged my bets and studied both beauty and business. It’s a pretty unique combination. I went quite quickly from qualifying in beauty therapy and makeup artistry to managing a salon.

After working in the industry for a few years, I felt the creative urge returning. So, I decided to undertake a degree in Fashion Design, studying at the Italian fashion school Istituto Marangoni in London. In the following years I worked in the fashion industry, with my last role as the assistant to the CEO at MatchesFashion. Along with being one of the fastest growing online business, it was founded by husband and wife Tom and Ruth Chapman who built the business from a small company to a true global industry force. Seeing what they had achieved inspired me even more to launch my business.

Why inspired you to start Townhouse?

I love beauty and I always have - from a young age playing with my sister’s lipsticks and trying on my mother’s signature blue nail varnish. I have been an avid nail devotee since I can remember, going for a manicure every 2-3 weeks since the age of 16. However, I always struggled to find a nail salon I could trust. The service wasn’t particularly professional, the salons were often messy and disorganised, plus the treatment quality was really all over the place - if you were lucky, you would get someone great but if they were on holiday, the next person might be terrible.

In short, I was so disappointed by the nail salons that were out there, not just the experience as a customer but also the way they treated their staff. Townhouse was created with the goal of elevating the nail salon experience and the mission of revolutionising the industry.

I decided to build a beautiful oasis, five star customer care, reliable treatments, flawless results that last, the latest technology, stylish nail art looks and a place that creates real, meaningful career opportunities for the skilled professionals that work in this industry.

Townhouse at Hbeauty

Can you tell me about the journey from concept to salon opening, how did you bring Townhouse to life?

I spent over a year researching prior to launch, which included visiting beauty salons across the UK and US to see what works and what doesn’t work.

Whilst I could mention so many things, cleanliness is one seemingly small thing that is so essential to the trust you need to develop with your customers. We sterilise all our tools in a hospital grade autoclave (the same one used at major surgical centres in London) and all our other tools are single use and recycled. To me that’s an absolute basic requirement – customers just wouldn’t put up with it in any other industry.

I am heavily involved in all design elements across all areas of the business and especially the stores. This gives me an opportunity to both take the clear vision I have and bring it to life but also plays to my passion. I knew what I wanted to create and we have been lucky enough to appoint some fantastic branding experts, architects and designers to help bring it all to life.

When launching Townhouse, did you have a clear vision of what you wanted the brand to be? If so, what was this?

Townhouse is all about taking the normal nail salon experience and uplifting it. I wanted to create a buzzy oasis for customers, that is aspirational but relaxing.

Can you tell me more about what Townhouse can offer consumers? 

We offer a selection of nail treatments to suit our customers lifestyle from a quick polish change over lunch to indulgent me-time sessions with a glass of bubbles. Our spaces are also designed to suit customer choice from our buzzy mani bar and bespoke pedicure stations to our semi-private booths for that extra something special.

Another key differentiator of Townhouse is our nail art. We offer our ever-present Classic Collection showcasing six simple and timeless designs. Along with our Seasonal Collection which changes every six months for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, with looks inspired by the fashion trends of the season.

We love bringing something new and exciting to our customers. So, we also regularly partner with amazing brands for limited-edition collaborations, from Townhouse x Givenchy to Chantecaille, Birchbox and most recently Sisley.

Townhouse

Townhouse has two salons at Harrods/H beauty. Why did you want to open these and how do you feel about Townhouse being at Harrods?

We received an amazing response from customers and press when we opened our first location in Fitzrovia and I had always planned to open more stores. In the early days, we wanted to take things slowly to make sure everything was just right before growing but when Harrods approached us to open a concession in Knightsbridge, we were over the moon.

Harrods are all about customer experience and they have been a fantastic partner to us. We were delighted to open our second site with them at the end of last year at H beauty in Milton Keynes and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them over the coming years.

Townhouse at Harrods

Townhouse at Harrods

Townhouse salons definitely have a luxury feel. Is the design something that’s important to you and the brand?

When you step into a space that has had that extra care and attention in design, you really feel it. For me, it's not optional – I have to be proud of every space we open.

What are some of the brand’s highlights? What are you most proud of?

For me the greatest pride comes from our team and particularly seeing them develop. We have now been open long enough that we are seeing team members who started as junior nail artists growing all the way up to senior managers overseeing multiple locations. It’s a great feeling and inspiring to be part of their story.

What are your ambitions for the brand going forward?

We have big plans for the future including a number of new salon openings coming soon. We are extremely excited to bring the Townhouse brand to new audiences – watch this space!

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