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When The New York Times ran its robust piece, “The Price of Nice Nails,” documenting the questionable practices that happen behind the manicure chair at nail salons all over New York City, most people thought twice about their local nail salon, the safety practices and the sometimes predatory treatment of the people working there.
A Boston-based company is aiming to address the ethics of the nail care industry with a chain of boutique-style salons called MiniLuxe. There are currently 18 salons in the U.S. and the first California outpost, a sleek looking space in tony Brentwood, officially opens its doors Dec. 7.
Here, the difference from the typical neighborhood nail place is apparent from the moment you walk in. Nail polish bottles are displayed not against the wall but along what MiniLuxe has dubbed the “runway” of color — a long, skinny platform where a rainbow of shades ranging from the in-house MiniLuxe brand polishes to Dazzle Dry and Tom Ford are placed. The interior is a pristine white with rose-gold and black accents, and a transparent wall in the back shields a small room where all of the equipment is sterilized so clients can peek into the cleaning process.
“There was a clear opportunity to create a brand that encompasses an elevated, ethical, and nontoxic experience across every aspect of nail care and waxing services,” says MiniLuxe president Leslie Brunner. “From the way we treat our staff members, to setting the highest standards for hygiene, and implementing proprietary training and safe products.”
Working conditions for nail technicians, or what MiniLuxe calls “Nail Designers” (waxing specialists are called “Editors”), are also a main focus of the company. From stool heights to equity options, the brand also is trying to address how workers are treated, offering them flexible working hours and comprehensive benefits packages.
“We want employees to consider their work more like a career and less like a vocation,” says Brunner. “In order to attract and retain good people and keep them motivated, MiniLuxe provides many of the benefits and compensation that feels more like what you would expect in an ‘office job’ than a nail studio.”
Nail Designers are put through training at centers in either Dallas or Boston. A training facility also is set to open in L.A. soon.
The elevated services and transparent working environment reflect in the slightly higher prices than your corner nail shop. Manicures start at $20 and go up depending on the type of polish, while gel manis go for $45. Pedicures start at $39 and gel pedis come in at $64.
Full waxing services also are available, as well as add-ons like hybrid gel-like polishes, callous removal and skin exfoliators for an additional fee.
MiniLuxe’s first Los Angeles salon is at 11961 San Vicente Blvd. You can book your appointments here.
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