When first entering Qticles on a mid-weekday morning, the room was dimly lit causing me to think they had not yet officially opened. However, within seconds I was warmly greeted by the owner and upon glancing behind her, I saw that there were three employees sitting calmly at their stations, talking softly to each other, waiting to start their work day. The bright orange hue that serves as the backsplash to this open and roomy space creates a dual energy to the business. Somehow it generates both a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere in which to spend an hour or two indulging in manicures, pedicures and facials. Being in the Pacific Beach neighborhood for six years, Qticles has seen a variety of clientele from beach wanderers to wedding parties to groups of friends looking for a fun girls' night out. The owner casually chatted with me about nail polish tips and colors and was comfortable letting me explore her salon. So while they welcome walk-ins, judging from her friendly demeanor, I can see why they have repeat customers who rely on them for their pampering needs. On a relaxed block in an eclectic area of town, mornings find crowds trickling in at a slower pace. But as I was leaving Qticles, three girls walked in, each wanting a French manicure, and the nail technicians that were relaxing earlier were quick in prepping their stations for their first of what I would assume many customers of the day.
When I entered the salon, owner, Phillip Nguyen was already in the midst of giving a pedicure to a loyal customer. Before opening his own salon in Pacific Beach three years ago, he had been working in La Jolla where this particular customer had been a client. When he moved, so did she. Customer loyalty is one of the draws to this tucked away salon on Cass Street. Although, at first skewed from view, this doesn’t keep customers, old and new, tracking it down for a pleasing pampering experience. The salon is open and bright, playing easy listening music and providing an overall relaxing vibe and friendly engagement from Phillip. The salon caters to the nail care of both women and men. Phillip advises that many men from the nearby golf course do need their nails buffed from time to time. And the beaches can do a number on people’s feet, leading them to come see him to smooth and beautify them. When he’s not busy on the nails end of things, he also does facial waxing and is a hair stylist. Although the salon does have four nail technicians, it’s fair to say that Phillip is the jack of all trades able to perform any service for his customers coming in for nail, skin or hair treatment. Judging from his easygoing personality, I can see why he has loyal customers who see him for repeat visits and why a newcomer might make the decision to come back.
I was in San Diego for a meeting and needed a manicure badly. The concierge at my hotel recommended this salon. It was convenient so I gave it a try. My manicurist, Lynne, did a great job with some pretty bad nails. My polish is still good over a week later. As I waited to have my manicure, Badri, one of the stylists, asked me in a very gentle way if I was pleased with how my hair looked. The truth is that I had it cut only a week before by someone new near my home and she did a terrible job and I knew it. It was refreshing to be approached by someone who clearly not only enjoyed working with hair but had a sense of style and vision. I asked her to explain to me what she thought was the problem and she nailed my concerns, nicely, right on the money. We made an arrangement for me to see her for a cut and style and I am very very happy with my hair. I was refreshing to go to a salon that appeared to care how I really looked and what suited my face/style. The atmosphere was relaxing and I enjoyed every minute of my time there. There prices were certainly reasonable and I have paid much more for way less attention to detail. My San Diego trip was only the beginning of two weeks of work that has me in Paris and Cairo. I can tell you that I haven't given my nails or my hair one disparaging look since my visit to Salon Identity. I would highly recommend it.