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When Anna Ngock decided to open Nail Gloss in Sterling Heights, MI, four years ago, she was excited that she’d get to do it her way — with a focus not only on the artistry, but on cleanliness, sanitation and solid technique.

She’s been dabbling with nails since age 14 and had worked part-time in a handful of nail salons throughout college and a brief time working an office job in Chicago. Office life wasn’t for her, and she ultimately decided to take her natural creativity and passion for the craft of nails — plus the expertise she’d racked up along the way — back home to Michigan to open her own salon.

Doing Things the Right Way

“Anna is way too humble to say this, but she’s really been pioneering standards in sanitation and how to run a nail salon in our area,” says Tina Van, Ngock’s business partner. “A lot of people look up to her and look to our salon as an example.”

And because of this reputation and high standard, Ngock hasn’t had problems finding great techs to work for her. Nail Gloss has 10 full-time nail artists, and Ngock makes it her mission to mentor them in all aspects of the business. She jokes that they all know how to do an awesome full set, but also how to mix up the Barbicide solution. Also, 50% of her artists have a college degree, which Ngock says speaks to how awesome they all are.

“Our team is so great,” she says. “Everyone uplifts each other and there’s a lot of collaboration. We ask for help from each other in front of clients, which clients like and appreciate.”

Ngock is respected as a leader as well — from her “wear anything that makes you feel comfortable, but make it fashion” dress code, to her decision to stay closed on the weekends so the staff can spend time with their families — it’s clear that the environment at Nail Gloss puts employees first.

Conquering Challenges

The salon navigated the pandemic by strictly adhering to sanitation standards, including wiping down tables in between each client, using disposable products like files and gloves, and making sure everyone — clients and techs — washes their hands before and after their service. The check-in process changed, too, since Nail Gloss does not have a lobby; guests text the salon when they arrive, but stay in their cars until they receive a text back that their artist is ready for them.

“Pre-COVID we had a lot of regulars,” Van says. “Now we have lots of new clients. Everyone is looking for a clean salon and our precautions are top-notch.”

But this check-in process will change early next year when Nail Gloss is slated to move into its brand-new, state-of-the-art space in the same plaza. Beyond a custom underground ventilation and electrical system, there will also be a sink in the lobby, allowing guests to get prepped before they head back to their artist’s station. The forethought and ability for Ngock and Van to create this custom space — their dream salon — is something you can tell excites them from deep down.

The new facility is three times the size of Nail Gloss’ current space, set to have 22 tables, 9 pedicure chairs, 5 aesthetic rooms for lashes and brows and 2 bathrooms clocking in at 3,000 square feet. Ngock and Van are excited about the standard they’ll set for health with their new space — proper ventilation, and a careful curation of products that contain less chemicals, is key.

NAILS will be sure to update this story after the new salon opens.

To learn more about Nail Gloss, visit their Instagram page here.

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