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Founders of Glam Monte Carlo, sisters Oleksandra Melanshenko and Anna Lunhu. Photo: Monaco Life[/caption]
Anna Lunhu, Founder of Glam Monte Carlo
ML: Tell us about your background.
Originally from Ukraine, I earned a Business Law Degree in Germany and worked for nearly five years in the European financial markets as a Specialist for Settlements with Euroclear Bank.
After, I studied for my Masters in Finance for Wealth Management at the International University of Monaco, and worked for several private banks around Monaco before starting my business.
ML: Why did you move to Monaco?
When I first came to study in Monaco 7 years ago, I fell in love with the Côte d'Azur – the combination of Monaco’s style and luxury captivated me instantly.
The physical beauty of the Côte d'Azur is inspiring, and many movies with iconic stars such as Grace Kelly and Bridgitte Bardot have been set on her sun-kissed beaches and glittering turquoise seas.
For me, the mere mention of Monaco inspires images of luxury, glamour, excitement and endless possibilities. It’s a place that encourages you to live for the moment and embrace life to the fullest, as many of its residents and tourists do, all year round.
ML: Tell us about student life at the University of Monaco.
Student life in Monaco doesn't compare to the average life of a student elsewhere around the world! You feel very privileged when your Welcome to IUM event is taking place on a Monaco beach and you can combine studying hard (which we did!) with the glamorous lifestyle of Cote d'Azur.
I was really glad to meet people from around the world and to spend amazing times with them!
ML: What attracted you to the beauty and wellbeing industry? How is it similar to banking and finance?
On the one hand, the beauty industry has nothing in common with the financial or banking sector. On the other hand, they both cater to the same exclusive clientele and require a very high level of service. We always try to provide the best service and to be ahead of the competition.
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Photo: Monaco Life[/caption]
ML: Why did you decide to start your own business at the age of 36?
At one point, I just became inspired to create my own concept as I couldn't find what I was looking for in terms of treatments elsewhere.
I felt inspired to create and I wanted to capture the essence of the Cote d’Azur in a beauty salon, and the idea of Glam Monte Carlo was born: a unique place where you can experience the best in massage, body and facial services.
A place to disconnect from the outside world and nourish the body, mind and soul and most of all, to make you look and feel your glamorous best!
ML: What were some of the hurdles you faced in opening a business?
There were lots of hurdles before we opened our spa salon six months ago in July 2017. For example, the right location, the necessary renovation work and to obtain all the permissions, let alone to start from a client base of zero. It’s not an easy way, but our dedication to this project now drives the results, as well as 500 happy clients.
ML: There are several luxury spas in Monaco. What does Glam offer that’s unique and makes Monaco’s clientele different than other places?
There are indeed several luxury spas around Monaco, but we are not in competition with them. We consider ourselves more like a boutique spa and we pay a lot of attention to our services, while in some of the bigger places, like hotels, they know clients will come back anyway.
In our case we need to show that we can provide the best quality treatments – which includes luxury concierge service for yachts and private residences – to keep our clients coming back. We are a highly professional but small team, extremely motivated to make our clients happy.
Yes, customers in Monaco differ from other locations. Often they are familiar with the best treatments from around the world and they will not accept anything less. Our clients come from all over the world, with the main countries being France, Russia, Italy UK, and Germany. Between us, we speak 7 languages in the salon and we try to adapt to all services and needs. For example, for our Russian clientele, we’ve incorporated treatments for them like the Russian manicure and pedicure, which is much more elaborate.
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Photo: Monaco Life[/caption]
ML: Where do you like to shop in Monaco? Where’s your favourite place to meet for business?
To be honest, I don’t really have time to shop. That being said, I am a woman and like to look good. My favourite shop is Gucci, but I also shop at the Metropole shopping centre as well as Loona in Larvotto.
For business, I prefer to meet at the Metropole hotel, which has a calm and cosy ambiance.
ML: What’s the one device you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my phone, although sometimes I do phone detox!
ML: Advice for anyone starting a business in and around Monaco
There’s tons of potential around Monaco, so if you have a good business plan and motivation, go for it! However, you need first of all to calculate taxes and social charges, as these can be quite a shock.
Also it’s crucial to have the right team, especially in the service industry. I experienced many cases of people trying to “sell” me on their skills and they simply couldn't deliver what they promised. Be aware that the majority of applicants tend to embellish on a CV.
I had several examples where people pretended they were experienced professionals and could provide certain spa treatments, but in the end I was doing everything myself.
Glam Monte Carlo, located at 10 Avenue Camille Blanc in Beausoleil, is open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Article first published January 30, 2018.