Where beauty meets art: Le Petit Saint avant-garde skincare atelier in Sydney

Finding the right ambience for your salon is crucial to success. Professional Beauty Editor Anita Quade chats to Director and Founder of Le Petit Saint Dr Joseph Hkeik about his interior inspiration and how he has blended his two greatest passions.

PB: Tell us what inspired the interiors in this avant-garde atelier?

“My two great passions in life are beauty and art and I wanted to marry these together in the creation of Le Petit Saint. I am passionate about the Art Deco period which is the inspiration for the atelier’s interior style, with its clean lines and curves, touches of gold and opulence, as well as beautiful lighting and crystal glass features. Le Petit Saint has been described as “a little slice of Paris, in Double Bay” with strong design references taken from haute couture boutiques. It is not just a shop – it is a unique sanctuary, designed to help you escape the hectic pace of the outside world, enveloping you in a realm of style, luxury and beauty.”

PB: How did you choose the location?

“With All Saint Clinic right across the road in Double Bay, I wanted Le Petit Saint to be a natural extension of my clients’ skincare journey. After a visit to All Saint Clinic, or in between their treatments, clients pop into Le Petit Saint to stock up on all their skincare essentials and to enjoy an express facial. Double Bay is also a vibrant community and, with our prominent corner location, we attract many new people through our doors who are new to the All Saints family altogether.”

PB: You opened your doors in December 2020 how did the concept come about?

“As you may know, I grew up in Lebanon and my sisters used to take me along to the beauty salon with them. I always found this such an interesting, fun and memorable experience – a time when the whole community comes together to discuss beauty, health and life in general! I really wanted to bring this spirit into the concept for Le Petit Saint and be able to offer the best in skincare expertise and products to a wider audience. Some of our customers already know us through All Saint Clinic, but we also attract a wider audience of people who are passionate about skincare and thirsty for knowledge about the best products that really deliver results.”

PB: You have called the opening of the salon a revolution for Australian skincare and retail – tell us about that?

“Le Petit Saint is a community-focused space dedicated to beauty and well-being. I have created quite a special environment where our customers love to visit and escape the reality of daily life, whilst also discovering something new and effective for their skin every time they visit. We have a sought-after line up of beauty brands that are not widely available (and some are in fact exclusive to us). Our unique offering combines my personal picks of the best in beauty brands, along with a wonderful treatment room where clients can drop by for a 30-minute skincare boost.”

PB: Tell us about the brands you stock?

“I have carefully curated an edit of beauty and wellness products from global cosmeceutical leaders – offering our customers effective solutions to enhance their natural beauty. I am passionate about brands that are backed by science and guaranteed to give my customers the results that they are after. I am very selective about the brands we stock and many are not widely available. Some of our popular brands include: Augustinus Bader, Aspect Skin, Healthy Chef, iS Clinical, Oxygenetix, Skin Better Science, SkinCeuticals and Universkin.”

PB: Where did you find the pieces for the salon look?

“With my artistic background and a passion for the Art Deco period, I wanted to bring that to life in Le Petit Saint and also ensure a feeling of serenity and luxury for our customers. I worked closely with architect and interior designer Blainey North to create every element of the interior and sourced all the furnishings through her fantastic team at The Blainey North Collection. Our elegantly crafted furniture is a tribute to luxury Parisian couture houses, with shelves fashioned from leather and lacquer and armchairs adorned with elegant boucle.”

PB: How is it different from your other location?

“At Le Petit Saint we offer express services in our treatment room. These are designed as quick boosts to your beauty regime and, with no downtime, our clients are event-ready when they leave. The express services are quite different to our offering at All Saint Clinic, where our clients enjoy more in-depth treatments from our expert team of dermal therapists and doctors. The express services at Le Petit Saint are tailored to be a welcome supplement to our clients’ schedule and can be booked online or by calling our team.”

PB: How would you describe the salon vibe?

“It is a peaceful and luxurious haven, where people can escape everyday life and feel indulged and pampered, with expert advice and efficacious products to help them on their skin journey.”

PB: What do you take into consideration when considering interiors?

“I wanted to instill a real feeling of community at Le Petit Saint – making it a place where people can come together, chat in a relaxed environment and discover exciting new things that will help their skin. We have an Elixir Bar where clients like to sit and enjoy an ingestible beauty fix by The Healthy Chef or Truth Origins, whilst chatting to our team of Little Saints. There is a comfortable seating area and two beautiful vanity tables, where our team will touch up make-up after a treatment.”

PB: Can you easily update the look?

“We regularly add striking touches to the interior with striking florals by Grandiflora and bespoke product displays. The magnificent windows were designed so that the artwork and displays by Blainey North can be refreshed periodically.”

PB: What is the vibe of the treatment rooms?

“We have one lovely treatment room at Le Petit Saint, with luxurious furnishings and a super-comfortable bed, where our clients can enjoy 30 minutes of relaxation and leave feeling radiant and rejuvenated.”

PB: How often do you think salon owners should update their look?

“I personally believe that if you have created a beautiful and inspiring canvas in the design of your salon, then small touches can elevate and change the look, without having to go to make any radical updates. Another success factor is ensuring that your space is versatile, which is why we ensured our furniture can be moved around if need be – for example if we are hosting an event.”

PB: What is your favourite purchase for Le Petit Saint?

“Our Elixir Bar – it really embodies the community spirit at the heart of Le Petit Saint and I love nothing more than gathering at the bar, enjoying a healthy infusion and chatting with some of our regular clients about beauty and life.”

PB: How important is it do have a cohesive interior design?

“A cohesive and well-thought-out design is essential. I believe it is important to spend time thinking through the functionality of your space and how best you can utilise it, before embarking on any design. There is no point in creating something beautiful if it doesn’t function effectively for you as a business. I am also a firm believer in spending money on important things – such as a great interior designer and high-quality furnishings – as these are expenses that you won’t regret and stand the test of time.”

PB: Blainey North is behind the design of the interiors – is it important to invest in an interior designer for a salon makeover?

“Blainey and I have a real synergy in our style and vision, which I believe is essential when partnering with an interior designer. If you want to create a space that is distinctive and unique, the services of a well-regarded interior designer really are beneficial. I myself often have the vision but translating that into reality certainly needs the helping hand of an interiors expert. Blainey also has training as an architect, so her ability to really conceive the potential of a space is really quite exceptional.”

PB: Are there any plans to open expand the Le Petit Saint concept?

“We have been open for less than six months, so are still very focused on our Double Bay space, but further down the track we might well be open to expand – even internationally one day. Watch this space!”

This article originally appeared in the July-August 2021 issue of Professional Beauty Magazine.

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