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Like many beauty editors past and present, Eleanor Langston has always had an appreciation for a high-end service experience. And when she couldn’t find one in the nail arena? She decided to create it herself.
This story first appeared in the April 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Langston’s brainchild, Paintbox, will open at 17 Crosby Street between Grand and Howard Streets on May 3. She used her experiences as a former beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, Self and Fitness magazines — and architectural firm RAAD Studio — to create the 1,500-square-foot space. It is designed to look like an elegantly appointed club, complete with a bar space, custom-designed tables and banquettes in shades of midnight blue and blush with elements of marble, mirrored glass and copper. The bar serves as a place to enjoy coffee, espresso, sparkling water, Champagne or wine while soaking off gel polish or receiving a quick polish change, said Langston, who is Paintbox’s chief executive officer. The 18 manicure stations, each with an iPhone charging dock, are offered for more extensive services. To accommodate the businesswomen Langston sees as her customers, she’s also planning to be open until 9 p.m. seven days a week, and appointments can be booked online.
Langston is also shaking up the service experience in another way: The studio will offer seasonal collections “of thoughtfully edited nail designs and colors reminiscent of runway and editorial trends to discerning women seeking edgy elegance,” as Langston described it, and added that there will be spring-summer and fall-winter options.
Langston worked with Julie Kandalec, Paintbox’s creative director, to curate a nail look book that offers the Paintbox options: 50 colors and 25 quirkily named nail designs, ranging from Split Personality (tonal design with a darker nail tip) to Bermuda Triangle (one of four pastels with a black triangle design at the base of the nail bed). Traditional polish and gel manicures are also offered. A traditional manicure with polish is $35, while a gel version is $50. A design manicure is $55 with polish and $65 with a gel, and all designs can be performed in one hour or less. Brands used include Chanel, CND Vinylux, Deborah Lippmann, Essie, Marc Jacobs, Zoya, Gelish and Presto, which are brought out to customers on a jewelry tray after they’ve made their selections.
Langston’s also offering a fun digital touch post-manicure — a custom-built photo box for nails, which allows guests to capture their nails and share via the social media options programmed into the machine.
Executives declined comment on projected sales, but industry sources estimate that Paintbox could generate $1.7 million in revenue during its first year. Eventually, she said, she hopes to expand the concept to additional cities.