In a world that is increasingly prioritizing sustainability and eco-friendliness, the beauty industry has made significant progress in reducing its environmental footprint. However, one area that has remained largely overlooked in this regard is the nail industry.
With their excessive water consumption, harsh chemicals, and disposable materials, traditional nail salons contribute to significant environmental harm — a problem GLOSSLAB is looking to solve by taking water wastage out of the equation.
In an interview with Retail Bum, Rachel Apfel Glass, the founder of GLOSSLAB, discussed the company’s effort to make waterless manicures and pedicures a widespread phenomenon as it expands its physical locations and how subscription services can help an industry poised for a sustainable revolution.
“I started GLOSSLAB focused on hygiene efficiency,” said Glass, adding that she saw a significant gap in the market, one that stretched between the traditional neighborhood “mom and pop” nail salons and the high-end luxury spa experiences.
To fill that gap, Glass embarked on a journey to establish a dependable and recognizable brand name dedicated to hygiene and efficiency, kicking it off by first attending nail technician training school to get a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s intricacies.
“I really wanted to get under the hood of the business and really understand it before I started,” said Glass.
One glaring revelation from her training was the lack of emphasis on sterilization and hygiene in many establishments. Determined to change the narrative, GLOSSLAB adopted a completely waterless approach from day one, setting a new industry standard. Instead of using water, tools are subjected to stringent sterilization processes, utilizing hospital-grade autoclave machines that ensure utmost cleanliness and safety.
Building a hygiene conscience brand
“I was really looking to create a brand in this space,” said Glass when talking about the move to not only innovate in the nail space but make a business out of it.
“From the beginning, I was looking to create an experience where you go to one GLOSSLAB, and it feels like any other GLOSSLAB,” continued Glass.
To bring that vision to reality, Glass mandated all technicians to undergo rigorous training, ensuring that they meet the exacting standards the brand sets.
The polishes used in GLOSSLAB’s services are also subjected to thorough vetting to guarantee their quality and safety. Furthermore, all tools utilized in the salon are meticulously sterilized.
Glass noted that a core focus for the company is to maintain these standards as it broadens its physical presence, with intentions to introduce 45 new locations in South Florida in the approaching summer.
Presently, four of these establishments have already commenced their operations, while an additional six are in the construction phase, slated to be revealed to the public in early 2024.
Encouraging repeat manis and pedis through subscription
GLOSSLAB has taken a unique approach to encouraging repeat visits by offering its customers a subscription plan that gives them much better value for money.
“The membership is completely unlimited. It’s unlimited manicures and pedicures. It includes nail design and callus removal – everything in anything related to your manicure and pedicure,” said Glass.
However, the availability of unlimited services does not necessarily translate to overindulgence, with the brand offering recommendations to its customers for maintaining impeccable nail health.
While customers have varying habits, GLOSSLAB’s members, on average, tend to get one to two pedicures per month with regular polish, typically spaced out to once a week or every ten days.
With gel polish typically lasting anywhere between 10 days to two weeks, the brand also advises its clients to take breaks from gel applications to provide the nails a much-needed break. Customers are advised to use gel polish sparingly, aiming for no more than once a month while steering clear of back-to-back applications.
The GLOSSLAB experience
GLOSSLAB has sought to simplify the entirety of its customer experience, starting from the moment customers make a booking to the services provided to them in its physical stores.
“I think of nails as an errand. It’s very much about the end result,” said Glass.
Appointments can be conveniently booked in advance, eradicating any waiting time, and all transactions are handled seamlessly through the company’s user-friendly app with a cashless checkout system. The selection of polish colors is also made straightforward, streamlining the decision-making process.
The company has even eliminated traditional dryers because their polish dries exceptionally quickly. Furthermore, GLOSSLAB offers concurrent manicures and pedicures delivered by two technicians, enabling clients to save time.
“By no means is it an express manicure or pedicure, but we’ve taken out sort of what I like to call “micro-efficiencies.”