When we think of the ultimate nail experience, tenoverten is top on our list. Calm, luxurious and completely chemical-free, tenoverten now has 6 locations in New York, LA and Austin and is our go-to when we need a little downtime. Nadine Abramcyk came up with the concept for the boutique which she co-founded with her friend Adair Ilyinsky when Nadine was pregnant. Unable to find a salon that she felt excited about going to and also matched her refined design sensibilities, Nadine decided to set her sights on reimagining a staple and elevating the nail salon for a whole new kind of client. Nadine has continued to grow the brand with her own line of non-toxic polishes and recently launched a collaboration with fitness queen (and fellow heymama member) Taryn Toomey. We caught up with mom founder extraordinaire Nadine between product launches for the scoop on her business, her new products and got the deets on her personal beauty gurus who you’ll want to book some time with stat. Read on…
Nadine, you’re a self-described serial entrepreneur. Tell us about your business journey leading up to opening tenoverten.
My father always encouraged me to work for myself and that has driven me my entire professional career. Prior to opening tenoverten I had a boutique that I owned and operated in the West Village called Mick Margo. It was my first experience being a small business owner and I quickly learned a lot, many lessons that I have since used to help me grow tenoverten.
What was the pivotal moment where you and your business partner, Adair Ilyinsky decided to create tenoverten together?
We were getting our nails done together after work often and it typically left us wondering why the experience was less than perfect. We obsessed over finding a place that bridged the gap between a high-end salon manicure experience and a corner salon experience. When after looking for a couple of years we realized that it didn’t exist, we soon decided to work on the concept ourselves and that was how tenoverten was born.
If you can’t find it, create it! We love how you think! How long did it take between conceiving the nail salon to opening the doors? What was the process like?
It took us just over a year to open our first salon in Tribeca. It was an interesting time because both Adair and I were juggling our other jobs during that time. We would work on tenoverten at night and once we were in construction, we would sneak away from our other jobs during the day to oversee the project. Eventually once we were actively hiring a couple of months before the salon opened we were both dedicating ourselves full-time to the first tenoverten baby. It was certainly an exciting but scary process. We were just praying that customers showed up when we opened our doors.
Do you and Adair have “ground rules” for working as co-founders or developed specific strategies for working so closely together?
We are friends first and foremost. Our main rule is to put our friendship first no matter what and to keep an open line of communication. We have totally different strengths so naturally work so well together. I never imagined enjoying a working relationship as much as I have the one I’ve shared with Adair over the past 7 years.
Tell us more about how your strengths differ and how this translates into who manages which part of your business?
Adair is amazing at the operational side of the business where I am better at the creative side. We have over 180 employees at this point and growing so Adair really has her work cut out for her on that side of things. I am the one on the team who designs and oversees our salons being built out along with events/marketing and the wholesale side of our business. We still collaborate on a lot of things which is fun and our Creative Director and partner Jaclyn Ferber is instrumental in our business as she oversees our entire product company along with running the LA salon on the ground.
Our main rule is to put our friendship first no matter what and to keep an open line of communication.
You were inspired to use only non-toxic products in your shops because you were pregnant when tenoverten began. There is so much “green washing” today which is unfortunate for companies that are truly trying to “do good”. How can consumers make sure they are getting the best products possible?
Do your own research. Figure out what matters most to you, and that could be simply incorporating a safer deodorant into your routine. Don’t try to take it all in at once and jump on the fads. Honestly, consistency is key with these changes and where you see the benefits come through the most.
You currently have locations in 3 cities; NYC, LA and Austin. What has been the biggest challenge in scaling your business or biggest surprise?
The new markets have presented unique challenges to us and it surprised us that we had to really work to get the word out. We were very fortunate to have a lot of exposure in the NY market already so we didn’t have to work as hard. That was a huge lesson for us.
Do you see a difference in the type of customer and what they are looking for in each city?
Yes! People in LA love their gels which we don’t offer so the education piece of why we are non-toxic and the benefits of that is a far steeper curve in that market.
We can personally attest that your Rose Oil is one of our favorite products on the market. Your latest product launch is a Non-Toxic Nail Dryer which just debuted this month (congrats!). Tell us more about it.
The Non-Toxic Nail Dryer is a beautiful product that surprisingly smells delightful since it is infused with Rosemary. We worked for 2 years to create a safer for you quick dry drop that works as well as the stuff out there that exists with unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals.
We love that each of your nail polishes are named after a street in downtown New York. How would you spend a perfect day in the city you love so much?
I would wake up with my kids and head to my husband’s restaurant Yves for brunch. Then head to the Whitney for their amazing open arts studio. Hang in Washington Square Park in the afternoon and have friends over for dinner and a hang in our home in the evening – that would be my ideal Sunday.
You have two young kids; how do you make time for quality time with each? Do you have any non-negotiables when it comes to family time?
I try not to make plans on the weekends unless it involves the entire family. I also do one thing a week alone with each of my kids. Sometimes it is as simple as taking them solo to a class of theirs and sometimes it’s as special as going to a movie and dinner just the two of us. It is increasingly important to carve out one-on-one time as they get older.
We love how tapped in you are to the beauty industry here in New York. Who are your personal go-to beauty gurus?
The Class with Taryn Toomey
Sculpt Society with Megan Roup
Lyons Den for Hot Yoga
Laurie Cole’s class at SoulCycle
Tribeca Spa of Tranquility for a truly authentic Korean scrub and detox
Tell us about your own beauty routine both in the morning and at night.
I don’t wash my face in the morning so I can maintain the good oils from overnight but I am loving the entire True Botanicals line these days and use their Hydrating Cleanser and Mist at night. I use Vitamin C daily and Vintner’s Daughter Serum which is especially hydrating for my dry skin. I love to jade roll when I can find the time and keep it in the fridge to keep it cool.
3 pearls of wisdom
Remind yourself to stay present.
Make a post-it-note about being present.