Mani-pedi enthusiasts say this small Myaynigone salon deserves recognition for its quality service, low prices, and neighborly staff.
“That’s a lot of skin peeling!”
A row of curious faces turns toward Jojo, who is clearly smiling under her mask as she scrapes away at a customer’s calloused heel. The room fills with laughter.
This is typical of an afternoon with Jojo, a Yangon resident from Chin State, who opened J&Me Studio a little over a year ago. The playful entrepreneur is not shy about the satisfaction she derives from watching the steady progress of her work, and she delights in sharing it with her customers.
That’s not to say that every moment at J&Me is a party. Even after training and working as a beautician in Malaysia for the better part of 13 years before coming back to Myanmar to open her business, Jojo says running a beauty shop is hard work. She struggled for three or four months before discovering the power of social media. Now, she says, word of her work ethic and personality is spreading across Yangon, bringing customers from as far as Sule and Insein to her Myaynigone studio.
Many of Jojo’s products, like OPI nail polish (which I was specifically advised by customers to mention in this article) are imported from Malaysia, where costs are lower than in Yangon. This allows her to keep prices low. A manicure is just K3,000, and a pedicure is K4,000. Upgrade to gel polish, and these prices rise slightly to K5,000 and K6,000, respectively, but gel removal is free if you got it from J&Me.
While Jojo’s gregarious attitude, excellent English, and experience abroad allow her to predict and sympathize with the expectations of white folks, J&Me is still a firmly “local” establishment. Uncles come in to get their ingrowns fixed. Aunties come in to get extravagant, toe-borne masterpieces. When a long nail inevitably falls victim to the friction of daily life, Jojo recommends a salve of lime juice to make the nail grow back stronger.
For many customers, the true value of the J&Me experience is in Jojo’s frankness. One customer recently said that several Yangon salons either failed to identify or neglected to mention her fungal infection. When she came in to see Jojo, she immediately diagnosed it and provided a bottle of medicine for K23,000.
Beyond the basics, J&Me offers underarm waxing (K4,000), leg waxing (K7,000), paraffin wax treatment (K10,000), and spa pedi with jelly (K6,000).
Explaining what she thinks is feeding her blossoming reputation, Jojo said: “My service is good. I keep smiling, talking with the customer, giving good ideas, using high-quality products. I have a relaxed atmosphere.”
J&Me Studio is open from 10am to 9pm six days a week, excluding Mondays. It’s located on Ashay Gone Road, between Bagaya Road and Sanchaung Road in Myaynigone.