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Jaclyn Ferber is the creative mastermind behind the non-toxic, long-lasting, cruelty-free hand and nailcare products of the cult favorite nail care destination and beauty brand, tenoverten. Alongside her co-founders, Nadine Abramcyk and Adair Ilyinsky, they’ve evolved tenoverten into one of the most coveted and conscious personal care and beauty brands. We recently met Jaclyn at the salon to sample her particular colors and talk about the development of the tenoverten brand.
With the help of Jaclyn Ferber’s product development know-how,Ten Over Tenhas become a game-changer in the beauty industry by offering non-toxic hand and nail care products named after the colorful character of everyone’s favorite NYC streets. You can now enjoy some quality me-time at Ten Over Ten salons in Texas and California as well. We met up with Jaclyn at the Los Angeles salon to talk about her particular colors and the growth of the Ten Over Ten brand.
MELISSA: When you opened your first salon, this was at the forefront of a wave of women run businesses. How did you get into the beauty market and how do you see your evolution from then until now?
JACLYN FERBER: My part in Ten Over Ten has been an interesting story particularly because my two partners Nadine and Adair were the ones who conceived of Ten Over Ten originally. They saw a void in the market—there was the corner shop and there was the spa, but there was no place in between where you could have an elevated salon experience that was clean and pretty and pay something in the middle. They actually lived in Tribeca and at the time, and I don’t think it was about being a female-friendly business—it was like, let’s just do something! And I certainly never looked at it as something crazy to think that that was so unique. We were just entrepreneurial women who were driven.
I had been in fashion and product development for years and about a year into the business, they approached me and said, would you come on board, be a founder with us, help with the brand and product development and I said, ‘yeah sure.’ I don’t think I took it lightly, but I didn’t really realize that we were on the cusp of something.
At the time—and it’s much more relevant now—it’s amazing to see how much progress we’ve made in the clean beauty area and how important that’s been to the consumer. At the time, we realized the importance because Adair was pregnant at the salon and Nadine was pregnant at the salon…you know, we were all having children and it became much more than just having an elevated experience. It was about taking an industry that’s notoriously not very good for you and trying to do something better for all of us and our employees. We don’t want them breathing in acrylic powder and we don’t want them using lotions with parabens and that translated into the product.
MELISSA: What was the first product you launched?
JACLYN: Originally, it was just about the nail polish. So it was like, ‘hey Jaclyn, could you help us make some colors and we’ll start with that.’ We had this lab because we had customers and we never picked colors based on trend. We’ve never been a trend company. We don’t do really crazy nail art. We don’t do gel. It was really just about transferring our own aesthetic to our product. I personally mixed 6 colors on a sheet of clear acetate that I had from art school from acrylic paints and found the colors we wanted and took them to the factory and said, ‘these are the colors we want.’ From there, we talked about the formulations and what was not okay for us.
MELISSA: Was that challenging at the time?
JACLYN: It was much more challenging. I think there was much more of a sense from chemists and manufacturers themselves that ‘oh people don’t really care’ or ‘it’s not that big of a deal-just put that in there.’ There was a lot of back and forth and there were some things that became alarmist that we now know are not an issue because there was a learning curve. For example, this idea of everything being all natural can sometimes do you a disservice because you need a safe preservative to maintain the integrity of the product, so it doesn’t go rancid. I think there’s still a lot of education to be had because there’s not really a single place where the consumer can get digestible pieces of information about this. I do think there are companies out there that are doing an amazing job. They’re working on the education and I hope we can be a part of that.
Our company has evolved from this idea of just nails, but in the personal care space, we’re really focused on hand care. It’s more than just the nails on the hand, but also the idea that it’s an eclectic space and the idea of taking care of your skin is important. Our hands and feet are exposed to a lot, so we have more wear and tear there than other parts of the body. So, the product has become a huge initiative for us in that non-toxic space.
MELISSA: How do you decide when to expand into a new market?
JACLYN: You know, we get asked to come to a lot of different places, but right now, we still have opportunity in the markets where we are. You know, in New York, we have four locations, but we don’t have anything on the Upper East Side. So, right now, we’re still focused on where we live and making sure we have that deep presence and the customer in these major markets is really understanding us from an experienced point of view.
MELISSA: Is there anything in terms of interiors when you’re looking for or planning your spaces that you feel is a must-have and who makes these decisions?
JACLYN: We are three co-founders and we’re largely involved in everything, which is wonderful and also exhausting! The formula for the salons is we really try to fit into the landscape around us. We don’t have an out-of-the-box product that pops up and looks the same wherever we go. One salon will have a little bit more of a mid-century, modern, clean vibe, whereas when you go to Soho in New York, there’s a garden patio and it’s a little deconstructed compared to this. The strings of continuity lie in the services and the customer service. We do the same setup with the mani and pedi stations, so the furniture has a similar aesthetic. You can always feel that there’s a simple, unisex, and non-fussy sensibility in all of them. We don’t really have a set product we deliver in all salons. I think this makes it feel special. I think people want to feel like something is specific to their community. Community is so valuable always, especially in this time.
MELISSA: Tell me about how you name the polishes and when do you come up with new colors?
JACLYN: Aside from collaborations, the polishes had always been named after New York streets. We just did an amazing collaboration with Hatch, so we used names like ‘feisty mama’ and ‘poolside mama.’ We take the sensibility of the color and the street name together—so Church is a deep blood red. Every once in a while, we push to find a street that has a name that we have some connection to, but it doesn’t always work. We launch two to three collections a year and this depends on how many collaborations we have. This year, we did two collections for Ten Over Ten because we already have two collaborations. We’re never going to be doing neons that have formaldehyde or really sparkly glitters because it’s just not our sensibility. We do the colors based on ‘oh I saw this amazing color the other day and I would totally wear that, so it should be in our next collection.’ And when we’re in our salon and we see there’s a color constantly being used and it’s not ours, we’ll say ‘oh, there’s probably a need for that.’
I’m a red girl. This is what I have on. We have some really good collab reds—the Hatch and Daphne Red.
MELISSA: Have you noticed that after people get pedicures, they have a shoe of choice? Does it differ from the East Coast to the West?
JACLYN: I have to be honest—I’m not in the New York salons that much, but I think the big difference is the weather. In New York, walking on the street is potentially bad for their feet, but here people will walk around in a paper flip flop and go to lunch. It’s much more casual!
MELISSA: What are some of your favorite accessories that show off your hands and feet?
JACLYN: I love big rings. I’m a real ring girl. If I could wear my rings all the time, I would. I always wear my wedding and engagement rings (except when I’m working out). I always wear this Spinelli that my husband got me for my birthday last year. I also wear my bangles.
MELISSA: What’s your nail polish color of choice right now?
JACLYN: I’m a red girl. This is what I have on. We have some really good collab reds—the Hatch and Daphne Red. The LA Salon color is a coral red (like orange) which I think is great for the summer. I’m not that experimental with color for myself. We have a color called Watts—it’s a very sheer pink, which is ethereal and gives your nails a healthy pink glow, which is my go-to when I want to be more subtle.
MELISSA: Do you always match your fingernails with your toes?
JACLYN: Never. I’m like, whatever feels right. It’s been summer so I haven’t done it, but during the Fall, I’m a big fan of a pure black pedi. I think it’s really chic and sharp. I sort of mix and match. I even mix and match reds. I don’t have a rule about that.
MELISSA: Do you have any tips or tricks for the best nail care that you wish people knew about?
JACLYN: I think nail prep goes a long way, so whether you’re in a salon or at home, if there’s any residue of oil—which can be naturally producing—if you aren’t cleaning it properly, you have big issues with chipping. So, I always tell people, when at the salon, you should make sure they paint the free edge of the nail to seal it in. You can also do this at home. When polishing at home, just reapply the topcoat to seal it in. Also—hydration. We have a cuticle oil that we make. It’s completely natural and when you hydrate from the cuticle, the nail grows stronger. If you don’t have it, you can also use coconut oil.
MELISSA: Have you noticed any particular accessory trends on customers coming into the salon?
JACLYN: There’s a lot of layering of necklaces going on. Sometimes it’s a lot. Sometimes it works out! And I feel like hats are having a day. I think I was born in the wrong time and would wear hats everyday if I could. But I like seeing people wear hats more casually rather than just at the beach. Everyone wants to wear a bolero, which is the one hat that looks terrible on me!