By Marc Ang
Costa Mesa, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/6/21 – What do “vegan” and “organic” have to do with a nail salon? Why should a man go get a pedicure and manicure? Why is this a familiar, but an enhanced experience for women? These are important questions as Veganic breaks new ground with its recent opening. Veganic Nail Spa is the first of its kind to combine modern technology and mother nature: the first herbal, vegan and organic nail salon to consider healthy nails, with secret herbal recipes and treatments using only organic ingredients and essential oils in a safe, comfortable, earthy environment.
As an Asian business owner and advocate for innovative and green-friendly businesses through my nonprofit, Asian Industry B2B, this hit the spot. But I was also intrigued by Dr. Sam Nguyen’s story of entrepreneurship and charitable giving, and so I took on this atypical assignment (for a male). I did bring my colleague and board director, Analia Anderson, to try this out with me, as this was my first mani-pedi experience, and needed a point of reference from someone who has done this more often than this newbie.
Walking into the Veganic Nail Spa, the first thing I noticed was the cleanliness, bright design, lack of a strong chemical smell, and friendly greeting faces. Right away, you can tell the people working there were invested in customer service and the business cared about the details.
I was fortunate enough to interview Taylor, Dr. Sam’s daughter, to get the story of her mother’s hard work. Beyond a resume of 20 nail salons bought, revamped, and sold, Sam, a veteran of this industry, opened up her love project, Veganic, to take her craft to the next, and more personal, level.
There is also a charitable element: Sam has a foundation dedicated to orphaned children in Kontum, Vietnam, an impoverished mountain community. The nail salon’s profits go to helping Sam’s over 500 adopted children. Taylor jokes that she has over 500 siblings. Sam’s business ventures go to help these children get educated or to help them get a start in life such as a vehicle to get to and from work.
Another element that intrigued me was the green, eco-friendly element of Sam’s business. My organization promotes holistic wellness and the reduction of chemicals. One of our members, Ultra Chem Labs, was born out of John Hsieh’s work as a Burmese refugee and janitor, who put himself through school after his hands were ruined by cleaning chemicals and then engineered his own green-friendly cleansers and built a company to stop others from experiencing the same thing he did. I love this heart for others and a solutions approach, and this was something I also saw with Sam’s business and personal story.
Sam used to be a vegan, but now, due to doctors’ orders, is not. However, her heart remains the same and as an accomplished entrepreneur and mompreneur, she is results and impact-focused. Sam does everything she can to promote sustainability, green eco-friendly solutions, and uses products that do not harm animals. In her own personal diet, she still dislikes the taste of meat and supplements mostly with fish, to reduce her footprint.
This philosophy extends to the many elements of Veganic Nail Spa, including the 100 percent recyclable cups they serve their complimentary drinks in, such as the delicious bottomless green tea with organic sugar during my VIP treatment. One can opt for wine or water as well, but I had to drive, so a little caffeine boost made the most sense.
Most nail spas use sea salt for their scrub. At Veganic, they use organic brown sugar. The whole mission of Veganic is to be a safe space and a promotion of an environmentally conscious experience. Everything is organic and vegan.
The “True Relaxation” VIP experience lives up to its name. With this premium experience, I got a relaxing herbal soak that included a mix of lavender, red rosebuds, peppermint, green tea, spearmint, ginger root, orange peel, chamomile, and more. My feet never felt so good as they soaked in this warm concoction, then a mask, foot and leg scrub, with a freshly formulated herbal just for me. The VIP experience also included a paraffin wax, feet, leg, and shoulder massage with hot stone and organic oil for 15 minutes, a warm towel, and a final polish. I must admit the hot stone and organic oil were literally fire!
But one can also get the basic package, without a mixture and go for the lavender or lemongrass, which are the 2 most popular single options. Another detox pedicure is also a customer favorite.
Sam has a line of products to take home, which will be ready for sale soon, so stay tuned. This will include the cuticle pusher and buffers, and the sugar scrub and masks, which is what makes this experience unique.
Analia said about her VIP experience, “The ladies’ hospitality stood out. Uyen and Kellie were detail-oriented. I never felt rushed. There was a higher level of expertise and they never pushed anything salesy. I liked the fact that they didn’t wear gloves, and had such warm personalities. Women all feel insecure about their feet and flaws. I personally have some breakouts and eczema on my neck, but Uyen never seemed repulsed or judged me. The place was clean and the bottomless drinks and massage chair made the hours fly by. The two managers, Chi and Paul, were also attentive and helpful, signaling a solid business”.
I concur with Analia. I left, wanting more. My legs and feet never felt so clean and rejuvenated and the massage just left me feeling rested and refreshed. Costa Mesa is blessed to have a VIP experience that truly feels like a luxury product and five-star resort experience, a perfect venue for bridal parties, birthday parties, or just a perfect spot to chill out.
Marc Ang (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance in Orange County, and the founder of AsianIndustryB2B which promotes Asian businesses that have a charitable and community focus and impact, with a strong health and wellness committee dedicated to promoting eco-friendly solutions and holistic health.