The Biggest Mani Mistake You’re Making, According to Sarah Gibson Tuttle
The founder of Olive & June Nail Salons on the most popular nail polish color, what's next in manicures, and more.
Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
Sarah Gibson Tuttle wanted to create the destination nail salon that was missing from her new hometown of Los Angeles, but she also didn’t want people to feel like they had to leave the comfort of their own couches in order to get a glossy, fresh, professional-looking manicure. That’s why after launching three successful Olive & June locations (AKA, the “it” salons of the area), she created Poppy, a tool that helps women paint their own nails without smudges and smears.
So what's the science behind this revolutionary tool? And does a nail salon owner struggle with picking out a nail polish color (like all of us), too? We chatted with Sarah Gibson Tuttle to find out all of that and more mani statistics.
How did you get your start in beauty? Have you always been interested in beauty?
Before opening our Beverly Hills salon in 2013, I worked for ten years as an equity sales trader at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley in New York City. I loved my clients, but did not love the job itself. Quality of life and a million days of sunshine a year got me out West. When I arrived, I realized Los Angeles had everything I wanted, except for the perfect nail salon. Seeing the opportunity to create a pretty space where women could expect and enjoy expert nail care on a regular basis and spend time with their friends, I opened Olive & June.
Did you always enjoy regular manis?
Always! I am a jeans and T-shirt girl who loves to accessorize with a perfectly polished mani. I have always loved how long a good manicure lasts versus hair or makeup. It's such a small investment to have a week of feeling good about yourself.
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What was your main goal when it came to creating Olive & June? How did you want to set it apart?
Going to have your nails done should feel like a luxury, but has become a chore for most people. I wanted to bring back the positive aspects of the nail salon experience at an accessible price and started by switching up the environment. Our space feels like your stylish best friend's house with the warmth of your family's living room, with the benefits of incredibly talented manicurists, the best color choices, a cup of Beauty Tea, and every good magazine you can think of!
In a world where there are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and even 10-free nail polish, what is your philosophy when it comes to the chemicals in polish?
There is a fine line in polish on how many chemicals you can take out and how effective it will be. It's paint after all! We formulated our nail polish to go on super smooth, have real staying power (we wanted 7+ days), dry as fast as possible, keep its shine, and still be free from the most common harmful chemicals found in polish. Our formula is 7 free, vegan, and cruelty free. We are so proud of what we have created.
What sets your polish apart from others? When did you decide to launch your own nail polish?
Our nail polish delivers very opaque color with real staying power and dries quickly without the most common harmful chemicals. The brush was designed to fan out while you paint so you cover the surface of your nail plate evenly with the fewest number of strokes and naturally help create a rounded polish line by the cuticle. It’s so much easier than with traditional brushes. We also really focused on neutral but interesting colors that are forgiving when it comes to chipping. The higher the contrast, the more obvious the chip. We want to make it possible for every woman to feel good about her mani all of the time.
Tell us about how The Poppy came to be.
Women currently struggle with painting their nails at home because the polish bottle is designed for professionals to paint with their dominant hand. We created The Poppy to make it easier to paint your own nails at home and do it really well. The shape helps you get a comfy, natural grip with either hand so you can control the brush better and paint even, steady strokes.
We polled women around the country on what was causing them to buy bottles of polish but not really use them more than a few times per year. The number one complaint was how hard it was to paint with your non-dominant hand. The Poppy was a light bulb moment! We needed to create the right tool to make it easy for women everywhere to paint their own nails! While it takes about 7-8 times to get really comfortable painting with a traditional polish bottle handle, with The Poppy you feel comfortable on your first try.
What do you think is the biggest mistake women make when painting their own nails?
Rushing is probably the biggest mistake. The more time you allow yourself to paint, the more you can control the polish and get comfy with even strokes. Another big issue is thinking it will be perfect on the first try or else it can't be done. My first few manis, before we invented The Poppy, were so rough, but I kept going and now can paint pretty flawlessly. It takes a dose of patience and now, The Poppy!
What is the most-picked nail polish color in the Olive and June salons?
Clients are especially loving our new collection in Mandy, Geri, and Eva from our debut polish collection, as they are shades that go with everything. We are seeing a resurgence in pinks especially right now.
What’s your all-time favorite nail polish color?
That's like picking a favorite child! I'm definitely a neutrals girl through and through. I'm wearing Tara right now, and it feels like my favorite, but the joy is in being able to switch every week.
What’s next for Olive and June?
We are launching a mani kit: 5 Steps To The Perfect Mani on 4/18. Cannot wait for y'all to see it!