Private parties took place on the second floor of Lily’s Pampering Salon & Party Boutique. Photo courtesy of lilyspamperingsalon.blogspot.com

Private parties took place on the second floor of Lily’s Pampering Salon & Party Boutique. Photo courtesy of lilyspamperingsalon.blogspot.com


When Erin Quigley’s two daughters were young, she liked to take them to a salon on their birthdays so they could get their toenails painted. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the simplest task because many salons did not know what to do with young children, as the pedicure chairs were too big. 

When Quigley couldn’t find a salon that would properly accommodate her daughters, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Quigley opened Lily’s Pampering Salon & Party Boutique, a business that was able to handle young children properly. 

“There’s got to be a market for something fabulous and upscale and not expensive for kids,” Quigley said. “That’s how it evolved.”

Lily’s offered services for adults and children, ranging from haircuts to ear piercings to private parties. The atmosphere was sophisticated and glamorous, yet very kid-friendly. Children’s jewelry, feather boas and more were available for purchase to complement the pampering experience. Lily’s also served signature sugar-rimmed pink lemonade. 

After almost nine years of business, Lily’s, 1509 Queen Anne Ave. N., closed its doors last Thursday, Jan. 31. The building in which it was located was being sold, and based on other factors in Quigley’s life — such as her time-consuming, other business, Open House Staging — she found it to be the right time to close Lily’s doors. Quigley runs Open House Staging with her sister, Tara Nelson.

“It was time to move on,” Quigley said, noting that she was excited to start a new chapter in her life. 

Nelson added that Open House Staging, which prepares for-sale homes for showings, is “incredibly busy right now.” 

 

Catering to kids first

Lily’s originally started out just for children but evolved to offer services for adults, too. According to Quigley, the mothers of the children would see the services offered for their daughters and want them, as well.

“We started doing cut and colors [for adults],” Quigley said.

Lily’s party-hosting services were also popular with adults. Like the other services, Lily’s originally hosted parties for children for birthdays and other special occasions. As the popularity of the parties grew and piqued adults’ interests, Lily’s started hosting bridal showers, bachelorette parties and other festive events.

Parties were held in a designated private room on the second floor of the salon. 

“It just lends itself to catering for adults, as well,” Quigley said of the salon’s antics. 

Despite years of private parties and glamour, Lily’s last day of business was not a big production. According to Quigley, all of the staff were busy closing the salon. A sign was hung on the front door saying goodbye and thank you.

“It was no big celebration; it would be called a soft closing,” Quigley said. “[The staff] had moved on to other jobs very quickly, so we didn’t get to go out or do anything.”

 

A growing market

The market for children’s salons has been on the rise, according to Rachel Llabl, a manager at the Wallingford children salon Li’l Klippers.

“When the owner [opened Li’l Klippers]…there were hardly any salons that were just for kids,” Llabl said. 

According to Llabl, the market for children’s salons fluctuates over time. Sometimes there will be a heavy flow of business, and other times it will be slower. 

Today, there are more than a dozen salons that are primarily for kids in the Greater Seattle area. 

At Lily’s, the parties and other private events made up nearly half of the salon’s business, Quigley said. 

Quigley’s sister and business partner, Nelson, has fond memories of Lily’s, as well. Nelson and her daughter were there often, and she finds that the salon catered to a unique market. 

“Erin saw a need and created an incredible concept,” Nelson said. “She put her heart and soul in it.… She’s a great businesswoman.”

Quigley said one of the things she will miss the most about Lily’s was the opportunity to meet many different children.

One little girl who stands out in her mind is a terminally ill child who came in about three weeks before the salon closed. 

Although she was very sick, Quigley was amazed by her gratitude and loving demeanor.  

“The memories like that are so profound,” Quigley said. “All of these beautiful kids coming our way with [different] life stories.”

To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.