Photo credit: Meaghan M. Mitchell/Hoodline
Sitting on the couch one night watching television, Richard Washington had an idea that would change his life.
He was watching “Boss Nails,” a nail salon founded by Dana Cody, which talks about the nail business in Miami, Florida. Washington thought this would be a good idea for a business in San Francisco and in particular – Bay View Hunters Point.
“I was like wow,” said Washington. “Here was a salon in Miami that was busy, making money and employing people from a community, like Bay View.”
The show got Washington to thinking and he began to look at the various nail shops in Bay View and the 94124 zip code.
“There were like three to four salons in the area and on Third Street, but there was nothing that was high end, in my opinion,” continued Washington. “So I saw a need. I wanted to create a nail shop that was high end and also affordable.”
To see a Black-owned nail shop in today’s times is a rarity in an industry that is dominated mostly by Vietnamese-owned nail salons. This has been the case over the past 20 years, especially in urban and most inner city areas.
Washington did his research over a year and half, going to different salons and then within the Bay View area. At the time, he was working for ATT as a technician, so in between work, he looked at the nail business in depth.
He was able to get a $50,000 loan from Main Street Launch in Oakland, which is focused on Black business creation.
He found new building at 4138 3rd St., which has a 1,700 foot structure.
Washington signed a lease in September, begin working on the place and held a grand opening in January. The Luxurious Nail Salon has five spa chairs and pedicure stations, and a waxing area station.
It is a luxurious setting, in which customers are served wine and beer while they are getting pampered.
“You know in this business, you get what you pay for,” continued Washington. “You go to different parts of the country like in Los Angeles and or New York, and you go to salons that look like this, you are paying $60 for a pedicure. Here, I am way cheaper than that.”
He said that business at the start was slow, but it is picking up, as he has had to hire new people.
“I am in the process of promoting this business and working on getting more people in the salon,” said Washington.