When it comes to choosing which expenses stay and which ones go, nail appointments are usually pretty high up on my list of expenses that go. I can be relatively easily persuaded, however, and there are always exceptions to every rule. In this case, the exception was the grand opening of Junie Bee Nails, the '90s-themed nailed salon that Teyana Taylor opened this week with salon partner and artist, Coca Michelle.
I'd heard that Teyana would be opening a nail salon sometime soon, but I hadn't heard any updates regarding the finalized opening date. So, I was certainly caught by surprise when someone who loves me and knows how much I love a good salon visit sent the Junie Bee Nails services menu to my inbox on Tuesday. Let's just say I was in the salon the very next day.
In addition to the reasonable prices - New York City has traumatized me, so I'm always glad to see a $19 price point for a basic pedicure - the salon itself was super cute and super comfortable. The '90s theme and Harlem vibe are extremely prominent in the best way from the moment you cross the threshold. From the A train façade surrounding the pedicure station to the Reebok sneakers hanging on the line above the reception desk, you can tell that the city breathes life into this space.
You can also tell that an amazing amount of love and support have gone into getting the salon to this point. The loving "don't stop!" messages of encouragement tagged on the walls of the pedicure station in Sharpie marker. The salon itself, named after Teyana Taylor and Iman Shupert's precious toddler, Junie (by nickname). The excited customers already packing out the shop. It's a great place to be and a great start to witness.
I had the pleasure of having Coca herself start on my nails. We chatted about what brought me to the salon, how the opening night went the day before, and some of the many reasons why this is such a win for the community. Coca is not only super sweet and down-to-earth, but also very skilled at her craft. I mentioned to her that when it comes to supporting black- and women-owned businesses specifically, hopping the train from Midtown to Harlem is the least that I'd be willing to do. The fact that it happened to be a sunny, 60-degree day in February was also a bit of extra icing on the cake.
After my pedicure, I made my way to the manicure station. There I met Stormy, whose bubbly, open personality kept me entertained and even caused me to step outside of my comfort zone. As some of you may know, I'm a strategy consultant by day (and night...and weekend...). I certainly don't shy away from color when it comes to my nail colors in or out of the workplace, but length and color usually don't combine for me these days. I had already decided on the coffin shape for my nails and when I mentioned my upcoming vacation, Coca convinced me to go for a hot pink (Strawberry Margarita by OPI, to be exact) instead of a nude. So, when Stormy encouraged me to live a little and go long, I decided to go with that, too. I was pleased with the outcome and even more pleased with the Aaliyah-/Beyoncé-/Ashanti-laden playlist flowing from the speakers during the experience. I surely mouthed every word of "Case of the Ex" by Mya, and I was not alone.
“Don't let me get in my zone, I'm definitely in my zone."
- Kanye West
I can certainly recommend Junie Bee Nails for anyone in Harlem interested in trying something new. My parting words upon leaving the salon? "I'll be back."