Story by Sara E. Teller
Photo by David McNair
EACH YEAR, CITIZENS FOR A FAIR FERNDALE (CFF) SELECTS NOMINEES FOR ITS GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARDS, which recognize the ongoing efforts of those who live, work, or attend school in Ferndale and who value the fair and equal treatment of others, building an equal and strong community. Cheryl Salinas-Tucker and Jeny Bulatovic, sisters and founders of Rouge MakeUp & Nail Studio, were honored with a 2018 award.
“It was definitely a surprise to us,” said Bulatovic. “To us, it just means we are doing our jobs. When we started Rouge, we wanted to take people in, treat them with kindness, and take care of their needs. We welcome all kinds of people in every age and stage of life, and the goal is for them to feel better when they leave. You never know how you’re affecting someone else’s life.”
Rouge was started in 2010, and the vision came about after the sisters and their families were impacted by the recession. “My husband worked in the auto industry, and I had been a preschool teacher for fourteen years and had just started doing nails at the time,” said Bulatovic. “Cheryl had been on the corporate side of the industry. She helped start Douglas J. Aveda Institute in Royal Oak and had been an Aveda regional director. We decided to pool together our resources.”
The sisters didn’t want to start just any salon, though. They decided to focus on those services that typically get put on the back-burner, and that they would work with plant-based products only. “Most salons don’t have makeup and nails at the forefront, so we decided to go this route. I had worked with acrylics, shellac, gels, and there’s a price to pay for that,” Bulatovic said. “As someone who is more a caregiver than anything, I felt bad putting that stuff on people’s nails. What goes on our bodies goes into our bodies.”
SO ROUGE USES VEGAN AND ORGANIC, PLANT-BASED NAIL PRODUCTS rather than chemical-based. “We started working with a small, Michigan-based company, Eve Organics. Her products work and are good for you,” explained Bulatovic. “We want to offer our clients only the best ingredients – we call it their ‘personal eco-system.’ And, we’ve introduced Spa Ritual and Zoya, which perform really well. Our products are better for you, but they still need to perform and be competitive.”
Rouge has regulars who have been coming to the salon since its inception, as well as new customers who stop in all the time. “We have clients who have come to us since we opened and new people coming from all over,” Bulatovic said. “Word-of-mouth advertising has been key. When you’re a small business, it’s all about building relationships and trust, and we strive to bring that to our people every day.
They seek us out for a number of reasons. We have cancer survivors who are now more aware of ingredient lists, those with allergies, and those who just tell us, ‘I don’t like the way it smells in the nail salon.’”
Rouge offers a variety of other, unique services as well. “A year ago last May, we opened our sauna lounge,” Bulatovic said, adding, “We also built a pedicure platform at that time. The lounge consists of two infrared dry heat saunas with ambient heat. We tell our customers ‘this is time for you.’ We never book you with strangers, it’s always quiet and private. You can go back and forth, in and out. The sauna helps with muscle tension and with releasing toxins. It helps with insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain, and is good for your cardiovascular health, too, because it gets your heart rate up.”
Microblading is performed by Myranda Jennings who has been with the salon for seven years. “She is our brow expert, and she does threading, waxing, and body work. She’s also a makeup artist who’s worked for the Detroit Opera House. People who have over-plucked for too long and their brows never grew back, those who’ve lost brow hair due to age, and blondes love the microblading option. We are fully certified with a body art license.”
Rouge’s service room also offers facials, massage, reflexology, and Reiki. Bulatovic is certified in Reiki, and says, “I always love when I can take a short break from doing nails and work with a Reiki client. It’s rejuvenating.”