Julep is a hand, nail and foot care brand with four boutique nail parlors in the Seattle area as well as an online store.
The parlors emphasize an atmosphere of girlfriend bonding, with their physical space designed for women to connect, even if they are getting different types of services. Parlor customers receive their services in a clean environment free of toxins and germs.
Julep also carries its own line of toxin-free “Mani & Pedi Care” products and a wide selection of nail colors.
Women can sign up to become “a Maven” at the company’s Web site. The program is a month club for manicure and pedicure lovers, giving them a chance to get previews of the brand’s newest products in nail care and color.
Julep prides itself in being “powered by girlfriends,” and to celebrate that unique feature, it donates $1 from the sale of every Julep Nail Vernis to organizations that empower women.
One of the features that make Julep parlors stand out is its “powered by girlfriends” concept, demonstrated in everything from classy décor, to relaxation features, to seating arrangements making it possible for talking and bonding. Thursday at the parlors is known as the "Girl's Night Out" with classic "Sex and the City" episodes screened from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. A childcare helper is available on "Mommy Mondays," allowing moms to take a break.
The girlfriends theme also shows in the fact that word of mouth is the company’s important promotional tool. Part of the Julep Maven program is the friend referral bonus, which allows customers to share the experience with other women as well as earn credit, which they can spend on Julep products.
Sanitary parlor environment and toxin-free products are other features that are unique to Julep. The company also carries a variety of unique nail polish colors, many of which are not found in other brands. It further differentiates itself by having its own bottle design.
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Some of Julep's competitors include OPI, essie, Zoya and China Glaze, among others.
OPI manufactures nail products for salon professionals and is widely used in parlors around the country. The company’s pricing is cheaper than that of Julep. OPI too has a wide variety of nail polish colors, many of them traditional and some more unique.
Unlike Julep, OPI carries products for both real and artificial nails. On its Web site Julep states that the company avoids artificial nails because the latter can lead to women inhaling harmful dust and chemicals.
Emily of Squared Nails did a comparison of Julep’s “Emilie” shade to OPI’s “Jade is the new black.” She concluded, “Both of these shades are extremely close. Unless you were a nail polish enthusiast, I don’t think you could tell these apart. Jade is the New Black is slightly more yellow and warmer, while Emilie is more cooler toned. However, these differences are very slight. I do think I probably would prefer Julep’s Emilie personally, but that is due to the brush.”
A bottle of OPI costs $8.50, while Julep is more expensive at $14.
In comparison, a bottle of essie is $8.00.
Essie has a good variety of traditional colors such as pinks and reds, as well as neutrals and some unique shades as well. The brand’s style is more earthy and toned down, but interesting nevertheless. Similarly to Julep’s products, essie’s nail polishes are toxin-free.
Both essie and OPI are wider available than Julep, which can be purchased online or in Julep parlors. Julep’s polishes come in smaller bottles than the other two, but Julep customer feedback states that the polish stays on longer and has a thicker formula, with one layer usually being enough for complete opacity.
Pricing is relatively high, but many customers say it is worth the product. Here is a simplified list of their prices:
Nail Colors - $14.00 per bottle.
Mani Care - $7.25 to $164.95, with some items sold individually and others as a set.
To find a more detailed list of prices, visit the company Web site.
Julep also carries a variety of gifts and packages, such as "3 Months of Beauty" for $59.97, "6 Months of Beauty" for $119.94, and "12 Months of Beauty" for $239.88. To view the other packages, visit the Web site's gift section.
Lastly, the company offers 20 percent off all purchases and free shipping for participants of the Julep Maven program.
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Julep customers have been generally satisfied with the product quality and selection. The environment and the sanitary conditions of the parlors were particularly popular. Nail polish color variety and durability were the other two factors many women were happy about. The complaints included pricing and nail polish bottle size.
"I am a huge fan of Julep’s nail polish colors. From the funky blues like Amy and Jamie to the gorgeous vampy reds that are Demi and Lucy, Julep has something for every nail polish lovin’ lady." - Brittany Thomas of Clumps of Mascara
"If you like nail polish, have a hand fetish, like to pamper your fingers, or even just love getting monthly boxes of goodies, Julep Maven is a great program." - Luna of Metamorphosis
"I have tried the hand scrub, and I did like it a lot! I haven’t had a chance to try the nail therapy more than once but I love that it’s clear in comparison to the base coat I use which is slightly tinted. However, as soon as I opened the box, I was disappointed. Their nail polishes are insanely tiny compared to other nail polishes I own." - Sammi of Utopista
"Not only was our pedicure outrageously expensive, it was also not up to par at all. The nail techs were polite and pleasant, however the service was decent." - AshSLC at Citysearch
"Great ideas, lovely people, the products are as natural as they can be, sanitation is a priority. Take your friends, become a member. What a treat :)" - adurhamsea at Citysearch
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