- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2002

PLANO, Texas Tori Cecil doesn't hesitate when asked, "Do you like glitter?"
She certainly does, she assures the makeup artist, who begins turning Tori's eyelids a sparkly pink and marking her lips with a dark liner before adding a pink gloss.
Tori, a 15-year-old from Rowlett, is a new client at the nation's first Seventeen studio spa salon, which is a division of the magazine. With pulsating music, sleek modern decor and makeup stations where customers are encouraged to dabble, the salon is dedicated to serving teenagers.
Marcia Blackburn, who was treating her granddaughter Tori to a haircut as well as the salon makeover, pronounced the salon cool.
"I thought it was very well done for the market they're attracting," said Mrs. Blackburn, who describes herself as 50-plus. "I wish they'd had a place like this when I was her age."
It's just that sentiment that pushed founder Susan Tierney to develop the concept for the salon. "Teens were going to their mom's salon," she said. "They really didn't have a place of their own."
Jacqueline Blum, president of Primedia Enterprises, the licensing arm of Seventeen magazine's publisher, said the salon is another branding opportunity, like one already in place for products such as hair accessories.
"We felt that Seventeen was the right brand for a girl's first few experiences getting their hair done, getting their nails done," Miss Blum said.
Miss Tierney intends to locate 36 more Seventeen salons across the country by the end of 2006. The goal is to find markets with plenty of teens and plenty of money.
In that respect, Plano fits. Nine high schools are located within a seven-mile radius of Plano, a Dallas suburb of about 233,000. And the average median household income in Collin County was $70,835 in 2000, the highest in Texas.
Parents pay the bill about 65 percent of the time, though some teens have jobs, and others healthy allowances.
"It's a whole different generation a very pampered generation," Miss Tierney said.
Bill Steele, a household products and cosmetics analyst for Banc of America Securities in San Francisco, said teens tend to use their considerable income to buy products specially geared toward them without regard for the big downers of the world, like saving for retirement.
"Teens historically have spent a vast majority of what's available to them," Mr. Steele said.
Anthony Liuzzo, professor of business and economics at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., characterizes today's teenagers as the so-called baby boom echo. "We're seeing a larger number of people in the United States in that age category," he said.
The salon sells makeup, and hair and skin products. Teens test color possibilities at the "makeup bar." A cafe sells snacks, smoothies and even cappuccino. The young customers relax on a semicircular couch against assorted pillows while their feet get a makeover.
Looking for a little privacy? There are rooms for facials, massages or eyebrow waxings. To make the experience less stressful: No tipping allowed.
Customers browse computers featuring movie previews and polls aimed at teens. Music videos play on several televisions, and of course, the supply of Seventeen magazines is endless.
A haircut, style and finish by a designer is $30, $45 for a senior designer. A makeup consultation and lesson costs $40, an eyebrow tweezing and lesson, $12. A spa manicure is $25, a spa pedicure $38. There's even a $12 nail detail or $15 buzz cut for the guys.
The spa also found brisk business booking parties for girls 12 and older. They can be tailored to include such luxuries as catering and limousines. A pedicure pit party, for instance, would cost $40 per person.
"They come out of here feeling like a princess," said Krista Castillo, the events and promotion director.
Beauty experts suggest that getting girls hooked early on salon and spa services will make them loyal customers who are more willing to try new treatments.
"It'll become a lifelong discipline," said Melissa Yamaguchi, incoming president of the Salon Association, a nonprofit organization of salon and spa owners.
Such pampering may help boost the self-esteem of teens who are insecure about their appearance, said Kristy Hagar, a pediatric neuropsychologist at Children's Medical Center of Dallas.
But, she said, parents should make sure their children don't focus too much on appearance.
"It's important that it's not emphasized as an end-all be-all to have perfectly manicured nails," she said. "I think that it can be positive as long as it's not taken overboard."
Fifteen-year-old Janie Rodriguez recently tried out the salon herself while also treating sister Holly to a day of beauty hair, fingernails, toenails, makeup and facial for her 18th birthday. The sisters were impressed.
"Everyone's real nice. It's real relaxing," Janie said as a manicurist worked on her hands. "It's a place where teenagers can hang out and have fun."
As her 13-year-old daughter got a haircut, Linda Cunningham flipped through a Seventeen magazine. "It hasn't changed a lot," she observed.
Mrs. Cunningham said the prices seem to be in line with other good salons. "I think it's great for the kids."

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