Squad Replacement: Di's Favorite, Paint Nail Bar, Expands Across Florida
Whenever I hit Sarasota to visit my pal Sara who’s now moving to Tampa, I always make an appointment at Paint Nail Bar. Oh Paint, let me count the ways I love you…you’re my happy place. Usually, I treat manis and pedis as necessary maintenance but my attitude is elevated when walking in your doors. There’s no nail salon like it anywhere - NYC included - where top-tier talented nail techs work their magic on my digits in a super-clean, spacious luxe environment. Because we love you dear FBPers, we’ve got the scoop: new locations are opening soon in Aventura, Naples, St. Pete plus two in Tampa.
Paint’s co-founding bosslady is Michele Schlossberg, shown above and below with charming co-founder hubby Mark.
Michelle relocated to Sarasota in 2013 from Washington D.C. Like many FBPers moving to Florida and needing new beauty pros they can rely on for great services and consistent results, she struggled finding a healthy, safe and reasonably priced nail salon. Talk to me sister - I’ve been there, as you may recall from last year’s post on my challenge when seeking a sanitary nail place without driving upwards of 40 minutes or spending $70 on a pedicure. Let’s face it, in SWFL most choices are quickie salons or hotel spas (and their ridonk ker-ching pricing).
Et voilà, Michelle and Hubby's aha moment hit when it became clear there was a niche to be filled; Mark's genius idea to create something new recently led to new locales via franchising.
Here are all the reasons...
Why I Heart
Paint Nail Bar
So Darn Much
1. It's Got Crazy-Good Manners
Paint Nail Bar is nothing like your typical nail joint: each customer is greeted with a warm hello and by name. What would you like to drink is usually the next question (still or sparkling water, berry and OJ mimosas, coffee), not “pick a color.” You’re then introduced to your nail pro who can help narrow your polish picks based on your style and skin tone. Paint’s au courant collections from high-end low-tox lines include Zoya plus Smith & Cult (Amber encouraged my decision to try two from the latter’s brand new Forever Fades Fast group.) NCLA and Bio Seaweed (7- and 5-free respectively) are Michele’s gel enhancement choices; both can be used safely sans controversial UV hand lamps.
2. It's Insanely Spotless
Because everything at Paint is geared toward healthy options, no chemical odors waft through the air, overtaking your breath and causing tears to well up from fumes. Believe me - I’ve walked out of several salons before appointments because of the smell alone. When talking to Michele, I recounted a recent experience at Naples' fanciest salon which was having a $50 mani-pedi pedi combo special (which also took 2.5 hours and that’s without massage - yikes). I queried the tech why she didn’t unwrap the tools, and she replied they only dip in Barbicide (known as immersion disinfection, the unfortunate standard salon practice not nearly sufficient to completely eradicate all microbial life) each morning. Unfortunately, I was the last appointment of the day and I just wanted to yelp EWWW.
Michele shared that outside the initial investment purchases, it doesn’t cost anything to maintain superior hygiene standards. “It surprises me that a salon will spend $2000-$3000 on a pedicure chair, yet not $1000 for an autoclave. It costs pennies to offer each guest their own files, buffers and sticks. I believe it’s better to invest in proper hygiene procedures than risk losing a customer.” In addition to one-use tools for each patron (I take mine home), Paint ensures all metal implements are pre-cleaned with soap and water, dried, sealed into a sterilization envelope - the same dentists use, and then autoclaved - the highest level of sterilization used at medical facilities, until your tech unwraps each before your eyes.
If you’re looking for bubbles (other than in the mimosas) - get over it: Michele explained that no matter how thoroughly cleaned, dangerous bacteria thrive in the plumbing and filters of whirlpool jets. Instead, her customers cool their tootsies ick-free in ceramic pedicure basins meticulously cleaned between each use, guaranteed not to harbor bacteria. Next up is hand washing to combat reducing germs for both you and your nail tech, who then dons gloves before working on you.
3. It's Wallet-Friendly (And Soooo Pretty)
As a gal on a tight budget, Paint gets me. You can choose among a menu of fairly priced services, from inexpensive lickety-split mani-pedis when I have to drive back to Naples and I'm running late (despite the name, the waterless 20+ minute treatments are thorough) to the indulgent Talk of the Town. There’s also tot-lette options for Tory moms with kids in tow.
Paint’s prices are competitive with many salons but you get so much more: always fresh bottles of polish in the newest colors (gunky old polishes are my peeve), elegant furnishings, plushly comfortable seating, and true nail care experts. Now and then, you might be treated to comp services too: during my visit last Friyay, two visiting hair and brow pros primped clients and staff alike for the weekend (my braided updo, created by Katie McCaskill, lasted 2 days.)
FBP’s Advice: Keep an eye out for Paint's opening dates in your city and book in advance. The Sarasota location is always busy and it’s a safe bet the new locales will be too.