When COVID-19 came around, it offered a reminder to salons that customer and worker safety are a priority.
For Guy and Stephanie Coffey, the husband and wife team and founders of the national franchise Frenchies Modern Nail Care, they believed in ultra-clean practices before they were cool, and now salons nationwide are taking notice.
Champions of Change
It all started when Stephanie was a little girl who went with her grandma to get her nails done. Through the years, when Stephanie went to a salon, she noticed that tools were used repeatedly without cleaning and the smell of chemicals was strong in the air.
She and her husband Guy had been searching for a business opportunity that could make a difference, and Stephanie realized the nail industry needed her. She envisioned a salon that prioritized clean. The first Frenchies opened in Littleton, Colorado in 2014 and has expanded as a national franchise with salons across the country.
Breaking the Mold
The Coffeys created a checklist of everything they wanted to elevate about the nail salon experience to make it cleaner and safer for customers and their technicians.
- Each client has a personal ventilation system at every manicure and pedicure station. Each salon is equipped with a cutting-edge ERV or Energy Recovery Ventilator to remove stale air and pump in fresh air, capturing contaminants in the transfer.
- All Frenchies salons use a medical grade autoclave to sterilize metal implements.
- They opted to have free standing pedicure bowls instead of the jetted kind which can trap bacteria. Due to the high level of disinfection, there is no need for plastic liners in the bowls to provide sanitary foot care, so as not to create extra waste.
- The Coffeys do not use acrylic nails or dips that contain toxic chemicals and fumes.
Emphasis on Employees
The Coffeys make sure they watch out for their employees too. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration consider chemical exposure to be a serious health risk faced by nail technicians.
- A study found nail techs who worked with artificial nails were about three times as likely to get asthma on the job as someone not in the industry.
- Nail technicians are prone to ergonomic hazards that can lead to chronic aches and pains.
- While many nail salons wages have improved, some workers across the country still experience wage theft. These nail techs are regularly paid less than minimum wage and asked to work extra hours with no overtime pay.
To fix this, the Coffees launched the safety measures and installed ergonomic pedicure stations. Frenchies also offers paid training, above-standard wages, and ongoing career development in a culture that emphasizes and rewards team accomplishment.
Several employees have gone on to open their own Frenchies salons. The father of one salon owner whose daughter started out as a nail technician came to the Coffey’s recently and said, “Thank you for giving my daughter a career in an industry she loves.”
To learn more about Frenches Modern Nail Care – visit frenchiesnails.com.
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