Coming from Manchester, I will admit to being a little surprised last year that I heard a Munich businessman was opening a male pedicure centre in a fancy address just off Viktualienmarkt. It was, I was informed the first one in Europe, and one of the only ones in the world - the idea had come to owner Philipp Pechstein after he saw such a store while on holiday in California. Would men really go to a salon to have their nails done?
Curious, I wandered down to Hammer und Nagel (Hammer and Nail) in Blumenstraße 3 on the opening day, and was more than a little impressed with what I found, a stylish interior to match the location, with attention paid to every detail.
The welcome was warm, the staff friendly and professional, and trade was brisk, with men coming in off the street to try this novelty.
Time passed, and although I have not been in Munich much since then, word spread that things were going rather well. It pleased me to think that here in a city in modern Europe, where almost every taste is catered for, a businessman could bring in a totally new concept for Europe, and make it work.
And perhaps more impressively, it has all been done with almost no marketing, Philipp told me over lunch at neighbouring Zum Goldenen Kalb last week.
A Facebook page, some flyers, a little tour of Munich's premier hotels and other institutions, and the rest is history. Hammer und Nagel has had an exceptional first year, and it has welcomed some rather high profile customers - I am not sure if I should be naming names, so let's leave it at that.
As if to prove the effectiveness of the limited but very targeted market, the first thing to hit me when I went to wash my hands in the restaurant bathroom were some tasteful Hammer und Nagel flyers, offering the salon's services just a few doors away. The flyers disappear quickly, and are eagerly replaced.
A man who knows his market.
I was curious about the mix of German and foreign visitors, and it is about 90% German and 10% foreign, with many of them coming from the hotels via concierge reocommendations. One popular attraction has been their online voucher service, with wives taken advantage of it for their husbands...
One thing about effective marketing and a great product is that good news travels fast, and Hammer und Nagel has had a stream of good publicity since it opened.
Making number 1 in the hotspots of the local neighbourhood, for example.
So well is it going, in fact, that the second Hammer und Nagel will be opening in May in Schwabing at Wilhelmstrasse 32. Not only that but there will be further expansion in Germany shortly, both in locations and skin care products.
Take a video tour of the Hammer und Nagel below, and check out what is on offer on their official website.
Rodenstock zu Gast bei Hammer & Nagel:perfekte Location, um die neuen Modelle zu präsentierenPosted by Hammer & Nagel on Wednesday, 30 September 2015