Côte is bringing its nontoxic practices and Southern California aesthetic to New York’s East Village neighborhood.
The nail brand, which carries more than 115 nontoxic, vegan nail polishes and treatments, has operated out of its Los Angeles location offering manicures, pedicures and hot stone foot massages since March 2014. The brand is now setting up shop near Union Square to bring its services and products to the New York clientele.
“We both have young children and love to get our nails done, but the more research we did on the brands and the environments, we saw they weren’t healthy or clean,” said Mary Lennon on why she and fellow cofounder Leah Yari created the nontoxic brand. “The more research we did it just kept coming back to the product itself, so we started with cleaning up the actual nail polish product as much as possible and built the store around that.”
Even though the locations offer the manicures and pedicures found at a nail salon, the brand founders refer to their business as a “nail shop” to emphasize their commitment to customer service and to highlight their product offerings, which include the brand’s polishes and treatments as well as a selection of home and personal accessories from boutiques found around the country.
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“We’ve really tried to distinguish and differentiate ourselves from [being a nail salon] because it comes with a certain stigma,” Lennon continued. “I say ‘nail salon’ and you have an idea that probably pops into your head of what that looks like, smells like and the kind of services involved. We really operate, smell, look and feel differently than any other nail salon in a more traditional sense.”
For the past few years, New York has seen a rise in the number of salons touting a nontoxic environment, which can arguably be attributed to the growing natural beauty movement and The New York Times’ 2015 exposé on the exploitative culture of the city’s nail salons.
Among New York’s nontoxic salons, like the most recently opened Sundays Nail Studio and Van Court Studio, Côte differentiates itself through its products and services. Côte solely uses its own products in its services as opposed to other salons, which use an assortment of different brands, to control the environment within the shop. The shop also doesn’t offer acrylic or gel manicures, which other nontoxic salons offer, because the products can be harsh on the nail bed, according to the brand.
Unique to the New York shop, Côte will offer a “quick côte” service, which is a $20 polish change and hand treatment that includes tax and tip.
“A lot of what we do on a daily basis is try to educate the consumer to the dangers of traditional nail polish,” Lennon said of the brand’s mission and point of differentiation. “There is so much [information] out there about what you put in your hair dye or face lotion, but nobody is really talking that same language when it comes to nail polish up until the last year or so. The [nail] category is evolving to try to be cleaner and more transparent, but with the same level of performance.”
Côte’s New York shop, which is located at 100 East 13th Street, will open on Aug. 25. Services will range in price from $15 to $50 and products will retail from $8 to $42. Industry sources project the New York shop will earn $750,000 to $1 million for its first year in business.