I’ve wanted to write this blog since day one. ‘What’s In a Name’ has been flying around in my head for weeks, I can’t help the naff literary reference, it’s a nod to the years I spent as an English teacher - I’m full of ‘em. I guess I just needed some time to find my voice.
I’m asked all the time how The Lady Garden name came about. The truth is, the name was picked quite randomly this summer, one giggly afternoon over a glass of wine with my partner, Dean (aka Technical Director of Everything). I’ve retold this in person many times over the last couple of months, if you’ve heard it already, skip ahead a few lines, if not, here goes:
D: ’What are we going to call it then?’
Me: ‘The Beauty Garden? The Greenhouse? The Orangery (this is what we used to call the dilapidated ‘lean-to’ before it was fixed up….. The Beauty Garden? The Secret Garden….?
D: ‘The Lady Garden?’
Me: [giggling a lot] Yes. That’s perfect.
And so there it was. It was never going to be anything else. Mostly people laugh out loud and wonder if I’m kidding. ‘Is that really what it’s called?’ It’s a brilliant conversation starter. There are those that don’t realise it’s a euphemism, also fine, and then there are those that look very sheepish as though perhaps I don’t know it’s a euphemism - like the time a delivery driver (male) got a bit shirty ‘you do know what that means don’t you, not very appropriate for what you’re doing’. Rather surprisingly, I just smiled, nodded and kept quiet on this occasion.
I knew from the get-go, The Lady Garden (even before it’s name sake) would be different. I couldn’t see my business as a traditional ‘salon’ or ‘a nail bar’ and I certainly don’t identify as a ‘spa’. I have nothing against any of these set ups but that’s just not where I fit. You see, I love peace & tranquility but hate neutral colours. I love floral fabrics, but rarely have flowers in the house. I can confidently stand up and speak to a room of hundreds of people but if my phone rings, I come up in hives. I like things that clash. I love colour. I’m a feminist. My vision for The Lady Garden would never fit, in any other way. It had to have a cheeky name.
The geek in me wants to spout on about the development of beauty salons over the last century from the early ‘parlour’ days of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein to the post-modern world of lunch time lip filler ‘pop-ups’. Except I’m not that clever. To that end however, I just don’t ‘get’ some of the practises in the beauty industry. For example, I saw a place last week (not in Suffolk) where the treatment couches were ‘set up’ with such elaborate towel work, it was like climbing into origami. And then the one (also not in Suffolk) where they have a plastic and silk faux flower lay across the pillow like it was the bloody chapel of rest. What in God’s name is relaxing about that? And why of why when you go for a Hollywood Bikini wax does the therapist leave the room [adopt whispery voice] “so you can get yourself ready”? Why is it shameful to be seen removing ones knickers when the next view they get just about includes your cervix?
I love the name because it’s ironic. It’s my personal joke about how all too often, we beat about the bush (I’m not done yet) when talking all things beauty maintenance. Why as women do we feel embarrassed about booking an upper lip wax or apologise for arriving hairy to a wax? Or that toe nails are gnarly before a pedicure? It’s not just me, I’ve had countless conversations, often hilarious, with women about this. I’ve also had one too many conversations with women that are terrified of salons. They feel intimidated, rushed, have been told off and in one case, completely ignored throughout an entire treatment [*gulp*]. You won’t get that at The Lady Garden. I will always do my very best to make sure you feel relaxed, valued, special - because you are. You can be completely quiet, chat, have a snooze, bring your own play list. You certainly don’t need to apologise for being hairy! I’m in my 40s, ask me anytime about my chin spike….
In one of my earlier teacher days, I remember taking a coach load of kids to BBC Poetry Live where various poets performed their wares to bored GCSE students. Those who could be arsed asked questions at the end. I remember a very earnest young girl raising her hand to ask the amazing Carol-Ann Duffy what the significance of a particular word was in one of the poems she was studying. Duffy’s response was something along the lines of ‘nowt, it just rhymed’. I found this hilarious but did my best ‘encouraging’ face to the poor girl who wasn’t expecting such sharp shrift. What’s the significance of this anecdote? Well it’s because there’s always the short answer:
‘Why did you call it The Lady Garden?’
‘Cos it’s a euphemism for fanny, and that makes me laugh’
That wouldn’t have made much of a blog though.