Between now and the end of 2010, AHAlife is profiling seven of the most exciting, up-and-coming New York-based entrepreneurs we've encountered this past year—spanning each of our daily categories. Read more to learn why they’re names to follow, and hear their tips and insights into key trends for 2011.
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Sisters Nina and Julia Werman grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the eighties, a time and place that saw some impressively over-the-top manicures. With those (loosely) in mind, four years ago the sisters opened Valley, a salon-cum-vintage clothing boutique on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (they’ve since moved a few blocks west, to Nolita) that’s famed for both its welcoming, laidback vibe—no matter when you walk in, the music is great—and innovative, intricate nail art. Here, Nina Werman tells us what they’ve been up to and what they see for the year ahead.
What do you do?
My sister Julia and I co-own and operate Valley, a boutique salon located on Elizabeth Street in New York’s Nolita. We offer top-shelf nail, skin and waxing services, with specialized treatments in each of these areas. Valley opened in 2006 and we’ve since developed a loyal customer and media following for our intricate nail art, our holistic facials and our hard wax technique.
What are some of the projects you worked on this past year?
We receive a lot of attention for our nail services, which makes sense, since nails are a walking advertisement for our business. This year we participated in Vogue’s Fashion’s Night out with a nail bar at the Betsy Johnson boutique Soho and also in New York magazine’s Fashion Walk.
What are some of the main trends you noticed in beauty in the past year?
When we opened in 2006, we began to blaze a trail with our fashion forward nail art—we offer flat, hand-painted nail designs, 3D acrylic sculpted designs, stone and other adhesive work. In 2010 we’ve really seen the market start to catch up with us. This is great for our business, because we’re appealing to a much wider market. Some of the frequently requested looks we get are for hand-painted leopard or zebra prints, snowflakes, bows, hearts, stars, Hello Kitty, lips, cameos, roses and other flowers (all hand sculpted out of acrylic powder), stone/crystal skulls, initials, stars, ghosts, and abstract jeweled designs. Gel manicures have also become our most popular nail service, by far.
Why do you think these trends are happening now?
I think the recession forced the fashion and cosmetics industries to be more creative and resourceful because people simply weren't spending as much money. Gel manicures last several weeks, so they save time and end up costing the same if not less than getting a regular manicure. Nail art enhances and switches up your look, and is a way to accessorize without breaking the bank.
What trends do you foresee for the upcoming year?
I think fades (as in different colors fading into one another), geometric nail art, and the reverse French manicure will become even more mainstream. We’ll see more golds and continued variations on grey/blue hues. I think the nail art trend will peak this year. It's a hit now, but it still has a ways to go before it peaks. Once it peaks, it's going to become more of a regular thing in specialized salons, since not every nail technician is a nail artist.
Why do you think these trends are important to know about?
Well, they're not on the same level as Obama's tax reform, but a beautiful manicure that lasts two weeks can definitely brighten up a girl's outlook.
What developments would you like to see in your field this year?
I don't know if this year is a possibility, but I would love to see better/more enjoyable trade shows for our industry.
What's on your personal wish list for the upcoming year?
Photo of Nina and Julia Werman by Katie Osgood