Many of Jonda White's clients have followed her from location to location for more than a decade, because she's just that good.
Mrs. White's Spaology, 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd., in Hillcrest, offers manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyelash extensions, and a full-service salon.
Barbara Pryor, former First Lady of Arkansas and wife of former U.S. Senator David Pryor, said that Jonda gives the best pedicures she's ever had.
"They are just wonderful. I go to Jonda every three or four weeks. It's just the biggest treat."
Mrs. Pryor said she has been going to Jonda for at least 10 years.
"She is not only a great nailologist, ... she is such a good person. I love her. I think of her as a good friend."
Barbara said she'd been with Jonda through some trials over the years, including breast cancer.
"She is a breast cancer survivor. All through everything, she just kept working. She is a hard worker. I admire her so. She is one of the most deserving people I know. She deserves every success, every happiness."
Another former First Lady of Arkansas, Gay White, wife of the late Governor Frank White, has been a client of Jonda's for about 13 years.
"I have been to some of the finest resorts around the world and have paid top dollar, and Jonda gives the best pedicures and manicures I've ever had."
Mrs. White said her visits to Jonda are always "a treat."
"She is just a lovely young woman. She has a sweet, gentle spirit, and I just enjoy being there. Some days I feel like talking, and some days I don't. She's sensitive to that. Some people will just talk your ear off. Jonda senses when you want to be quiet. She has a very calming spirit about her."
When Jonda was a little girl, her older sister, Audrey Cutts, a nail tech, would do her nails for her.
"And, I always said I wanted to grow up to be a nail tech."
Jonda said her sister has progressed to doing elaborate nail art, such as the skyline of New York City.
And Jonda does nail art too. "Nail art goes from putting feathers on the nails to foil strips and air brushing," she said.
It includes freehand painting involving different designs with color acrylics.
"My whole family could draw. I've always wanted to just pick up a brush and paint."
Jonda started her business 16 years ago in Little Rock. This is her fourth salon. And she loves what she does.
"I love giving back and helping people and making people feel good. Doing nails is therapy for me. I relax like I am working in the garden. And, then, I am the client's therapist also," she said with a laugh.
Dr. Roslyn L. Knutson, professor emerita in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, enjoys the ambiance of Jonda's Hillcrest shop and her artistic talents.
"I have been going to Jonda for about a dozen years now, and I would not go to anyone else. She is not just a nail tech; she is an artist. She works carefully and deliberately, getting the lines right. (I have a French manicure.) I've followed her to about four locations, and the place she has now is unquestionably the nicest. And she has upgraded to match the environment: added two pedicure chairs, acquired a good selection of shellac and gelish, and upgraded her nail dryer to one that takes just 30 seconds," Dr. Knutson said.
Roslyn said she likes the fact that Jonda is easy to talk with, but doesn't pry, and is flexible about appointment changes.
"Let me add one thing: Jonda is not a complainer. Things are right in her world, not wrong. And what is wrong, she confronts with equanimity. ... She is just a really neat lady."
This description of a full pedicure doesn't do Jonda justice, but it goes something like this. You're seated in a chair that gives you a back massage while your feet soak in warm water. Your toenails are trimmed, cuticles groomed, calluses removed. Then, you get a sugar scrub and a massage and polish. It's a routine you may have experienced at other salons, and it's a technically correct description. But, so is saying that the food is warm when it's served at McDonald's and it's warm when it's served at Brave New Restaurant. Worlds way apart.
"Her manicures and pedicures are the most relaxing thing imaginable, Suzann Barr of Little Rock, said. "She is very thorough, very methodical, very gentle. Her manicures and pedicures last longer than anyone else I know of. Her work is quality work, and it really lasts."
Mrs. Barr has been a client of Jonda's for 15 or 16 years.
"I have a great respect for Jonda. She works hard and wants to constantly upgrade her services. Her shop is immaculately clean. She cares about quality. She keeps up with the newest equipment and the latest products. It makes you feel like your are getting the best that's on the market."
Spaology offers pedicures for $40, shellac pedicures for $50, and an express pedicure for $25. A regular manicure is $25, and an express manicure is $18. You may opt for a paraffin dip, which is $10 more for feet and $5 more for hands.
Salon services include cuts, wash and set, color, hair extensions, foils and highlights.
Hair cuts are $20 for children under age 13, $25 for men and $40 for women. The cost of a trim for bangs or a beard is $10.
A shampoo and style is $25, a style with rollers and hair drying is $30, and a formal updo is $35.
Highlighting with a cap is $85, The cost of a foil weave and color is $55 for a face frame, $75 for a partial and $95 for a total highlighting. Semi-permanent color and permanent color are both $55 each.
Eyelash extensions are $25, and fill-ins are $18.
Jonda also offers bridal packages.
Lastly, let's hear something about Jonda from a woman who likes to keep her nails short, no art.
Naomi Hall, owner of TouchPoint Centre and president of the Arkansas State Board of Massage, has to keep her nails short, but needs to have her hands looking nice.
"I have been to other places, and they laughed at me with my short nails, asking why I wanted a manicure. Jonda never laughed at me," Ms. Hall said.
"I have a contract with a hospital and want to look professional in a hospital environment. I just think clean, well-manicured hands make a statement. I wouldn't go to anyone else."
And, then there are some social situations where Naomi would like to have a bit of nail length. She said Jonda "almost stealthily" helped her grow them out.
"It didn't interfere with working on my clients. She is just really kind of a master at working with me for what I need. And her pedicures and manicures last. Not even using the new shellacs, her manicures stay on me, and I am hard on my hands, in and out of water all day and digging in the (peace) labyrinth at TouchPoint."
Naomi said it had been absolutely wonderful to watch Jonda grow in the arena of business.
"She has had to deal with health set-backs and financial set-backs, yet she has been real focused on what her next step is going to be. It makes me want to give her my business. She's a young woman entrepreneur, and I am incredibly proud of her and have a deep respect for her. She's been through a lot and still comes out shining."
Jonda has gone from offering manicures and pedicures to also providing full-service salon services.
In the next two years, she hopes to open a full day spa that would also offer massages and facials.
"That's my dream. I love Hillcrest, but Hillcrest is too small to expand. But, I would always keep this one. I love the Hillcrest area, and I love where I am located. It's like a family. There is no competition. The salons all refer clients to me. All of the salons do great work. It's like one big happy family."
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tell us about your family. I am married with three kids. My husband, Kevin White, is an electrician. My son, Eric Hill, is 17 and goes to Central. My daughter, Jordan Works, is 11 and goes to Carver. My step-son, Kavon White, is 19 and in the service.
Do you have any pets? I have a dog named Mpingo.
How did you come up with that name? Mpingo is a tree in Africa. When you cut it open, it's black. She's all black, an Akita. She will be two years old in July.
What's your favorite Little Rock restaurant? The Taj Mahal.
What do you like to read? Inspirational. I love the book, The Power of Now.
Is there anything you'd like to learn how to do? Yes, work on the computer and learn how to do all the new gadgets.
Do you support any charities? Yes. I am always giving back. I give to the Deaf and Blind school, the Symphony, and I do manis and pedis for the basketball team, for the Trojans. I also help a young lady trying out for AKA, a sorority; I helped her with her fees.
Do you have a favorite movie? The Lion King.
What would you do if you won a large lottery? I would pay all my bills off, buy a comfortable home to live in, and definitely give back. I would help the homeless, give to cancer research and try to help the system with foster kids, especially kids who have more than one sibling, so they can stay together. And I would try to help Haiti.
What do you watch on the tube? I love all the CSIs. My favorite is Criminal Minds. And now, I like the show, The Voice.
Is there anything you'd like to see Little Rock do differently? Help kids with values and morals and have activities for them. At the Dunbar school, they have a garden where they teach the kids how to plant things. Go back to hard work and the innocent days. And have more parks.