As part of the Birchbox Womens Empowerment series, we spoke to the founders of Tenoverten, a cult-favorite sustainable, clean nail-and-hand-care company. In this interview, founders Nadine Abramcyk, Adair Ilyinsky and Jaclyn Ferber share the story of how they founded their first salon, how they practice conscious beauty, and how certain forms of self-care can actually lead to burn-out. When asked how to succeed in entrepreneurship, they share, Stay curious. Always ask questions as a tool to push you toward innovation and away from stagnation.
Read on for more wisdom.
Do you find beauty empowering? If so, how?
Beauty is empowering as it gives us each a chance to express our individuality in unique ways. We are constantly in awe of how beauty can be such a mood lifter. It's as simple as a swipe of lipstick or a fresh coat of nail polish that can enhance your general disposition and hopefully enable someone to go on to live their days with vibrancy and purpose.
Predictions: What trends are you seeing in your industry? What do you think women (and men) can expect from this space in the coming years?
People are becoming increasingly more careful about the potentially harmful chemical exposure in their beauty routines. This attention started with skincare, then body and onto hair, but now there is a bigger focus on safer nail products. We couldn't be happier with this shift and expect to see brands continuing to remove toxins from hand care products. We also expect to see a push toward more sustainable packaging and less one-time-use products in the manicure experience, hence less waste. We are here for all those changes and support them wholeheartedly!
What advice do you have for other women aspiring towards entrepreneurship, whether theyre entering the beauty space or another industry?
Stay curious. Always ask questions as a tool to push you toward innovation and away from stagnation.
Any future plans youd like to share with us?
We are so motivated to make clean nail products accessible for everyone that we are going to soon be expanding even deeper into helping you care more safely for your feet and those often overlooked toes. Your feet deserve as much love as your hands, they hold you up day in and day out.
What was your inspiration and journey to creating your first unique, inviting nail salon in NYC?
As residents of NYC we frequented nail salons almost weekly and were underwhelmed by the experiences we were having. We had a running list of things we would change. Topping that list was removing the airborne toxins from the salon environment so that employees weren't so drastically overexposed to carcinogens such as formaldehyde which is so commonly found in nail products. With that as the driving mission and approaching a business model from a purely consumer view, rather than a manicurist's view, we opened our first salon. We treated the salon experience as you would any other special outing in NY. Why not consider the salon space the same way you would when creating an inviting restaurant or exercise studio? We tried to turn the salon experience upside down and are so happy to see others following suit with so many non-toxic salons popping up throughout the country.
What is conscious beauty to you, and how can we practice it?
Conscious beauty is a way of approaching your beauty regimen. Simply having the awareness that what you put on your body has an effect on your health is the first step and letting that inform your buying decisions should then follow suit. It feels really grounding to approach beauty from a space that isn't all about vanity, but rather about seeking out better-for-you ingredients that still function and aren't as harmful to our planet. It just feels good once you make it a habit.
Nail products are often toxic, both for our bodies and for the environment. How is Tenoverten changing that?
Tenoverten strips harmful chemicals from products where we are able to and makes 100% natural products when possible. We stay very close to formulation, always analyzing whether we should remove an ingredient and if so assessing whether the replacement is a safer option through testing and a lot of research. We are cautious in bringing new products to market as we are only going to create products that are an improvement over what already exists out there. We always maintain an eye toward sustainability. We are moving toward a 50% PCR inclusion in all our packaging, none of our products are single use, we use glass whenever possible and all of our paper packaging is FSC certified while using soy ink. We feel if we do our part at our own expense and other companies do as well in their respective industries, then we are generally better off all together.
Throughout the pandemic, many people havent been able to go to a salon for their regular manicure. What tips do you have for hand care at home?
Carve out some time to do a couple of simple things for your hands each day. The skin is the largest organ of your body and needs care. Think of your hand skincare similar to how you consider your face, apply moisturizer multiple times a day and carry a cuticle oil around in your bag to rehydrate your nail beds. Consider the seasons and if you live in a very sunny environment apply a sun protection SPF hand cream daily which will help keep your hands looking the best version of themselves throughout the years. Also hydrate from the inside out by drinking loads of water daily which is just the #1 beauty tip of all!
Your philosophy for nail care involves the idea that less is more. Do you feel this applies to wellness more broadly? If so, how?
The less is more approach can certainly be applied broadly across wellness. If you take on too much "self-care" you will experience burnout or stress from those practices and that's the antithesis of what they should be providing. Consistency is so much more important. So pick a few things that make you feel your best and consistently practice them. Over time you will reap the benefits of sticking with it.
Remember, for every product you purchase in Marchincluding our selection of Tenovertena portion of the proceeds will be donated to Movemeant, a non-profit that celebrates physical movement to unlock values like self-confidence, resilience, commitment, balance and community. Head to our Female-Founded shop to support women and look amazing.
While a self-described social butterfly, I find empowerment in my independence. Taking myself on a spur of the moment solo vacation, dinner dates to new restaurants or parts of the city where my company is solely the characters in the book I bring, visiting the local bar and getting to know the bartenders over a glass of wine… or 3. I find that intimate moments with myself leave me feeling brave, confident, and empowered to take on the world without depending on anything else as a buffer. It also gives me time to reflect, plan, journal and explore new places at my own pace.