Chemist and cosmetologist sound like two very different career paths, but they complement each other surprisingly well. Not many people know that better than Luxuria Nail Bar owner Leonobi Galvez, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.
“Having a chemistry degree benefits me in ways I would’ve never imagined,” Galvez says. “I see nails in a whole different way. I understand how products work on a chemical level, and I know what I’m talking about when I explain products and techniques to clients.”
Although she initially intended to become a pediatric dentist, she realized that although she loved kids and dentistry, she loved beauty more. She soon immersed herself in the nail industry when she became a nail artist for OPI in 2008 and started “working fashion shows and photoshoots, which was thrilling.” She still freelances with OPI today, and has been expanding her celebrity clientele.
A native of upstate New York, Galvez also took note of Scarsdale’s lack of upscale, fashionable nail salons, so in addition to chemist and nail artist, she decided to embrace a third identity: business owner.
“I had no idea what I was doing, but my gut told me to just go for it,” Galvez says. “I drove by an empty space and signed the lease before I knew it.”
Galvez opened Luxuria Nail Bar in June 2017, with an intent to provide a space that was more about quality than quantity, something that was absent in Scarsdale. The town is about an hour’s subway ride away from New York City; many clients work high-end jobs in the city but prefer to live in a tight-knit residential neighborhood. Her salon needed to feel city-sleek while still being warm and welcoming in order to attract local nail lovers.
“It’s very upscale, but it has a trendy edge to it,” Galvez says. The salon’s bright floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to illuminate the white furniture and muted gray walls, which are complemented by turquoise, gold, and silver accents. “I wanted the salon to suit different types of people and their distinct styles,” she says.
Luxuria has a very diverse clientele, with people from all ages, backgrounds, and genders, although she says the largest group is the community of mothers who frequent the salon. “Moms in this town stick together,” says Galvez.
The team at Luxuria treats each customer as an individual, and the techs are trained on how to educate their clients if an issue arises. For example, techs customize pedicures to each client’s needs and use Footlogix for clients with problem feet. The salon retails necessary products for at-home care and discusses how and why clients should use them.
“As a team, we all know it’s important in business to evolve with the newest trends,” says Galvez, “so between trade shows and education I host at the salon, I’m able to keep my staff focused and motivated.”