Beauty is ageless—and Tina Fortebuono has built her business on just that. The five Ciao Bellas she owns are in upscale senior communities like Shannondell at Valley Forge. Fortebuono created a unique business model for her salons. First, she pays rent on commission, which reduces her overhead. Second, she partners with the communities’ management teams to enhance their marketing efforts. “When prospective residents are touring the community, the marketing rep brings them to our salon, and I introduce myself and explain our services,” says Fortebuono.
Those services are customized for older clientele. Ciao Bella’s chairs and sinks are designed for people with limited movement. Nail technicians are trained to work with clients on blood thinners. Staff members even get blood tests so they don’t compromise anyone’s health. They also receive training on how to work with nurses and physical therapists.
Fortebuono has had her own health struggles. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with scleroderma (hardening of the skin) on her fingers. It has left her unable to work with clients. But the Collingdale resident has focused her energy on growing her business. “These aren’t ‘roller set’ shops,” Fortebuono says. “Today’s seniors want modern styles and colors, plus luxury facials and great manicures and pedicures. They want to look and feel fantastic, and I get a lot of joy from helping them do that.”
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