By Zach Osowski The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
The first thing you'll notice walking into the Pedi Lounge is that it doesn't smell like most nail salons. The odor most people associate with nail polish or salons is absent.
That's by design. Pedi Lounge, run by the mother-daughter duo of Melissa and Shelby Mroz, is a green, eco-friendly nail salon where customers can come and enjoy a manicure or pedicure without having to worry about the chemicals associated with some salons.
"I know with some places the smell can be overpowering," Shelby Mroz said. "I couldn't stand it when we were going through school. It gave me a constant headache."
Melissa Mroz said lots of polish companies are starting to offer environmentally friendly products, which are the only items offered at the Pedi Lounge.
More people are becoming aware of how bad some products are for them at the nail salon. The U.S. Department of Labor lists several harmful chemicals such as acetone, ethyl acetate and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which are found in common nail polishes and nail polish remover. Long exposure to these can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea and irritation.
Melissa said they offer only DBP-free polishes and use the nail polish remover as sparingly as possible.
The lounge opened in June, and Melissa said business has been great so far. Located on Meridian Street next to the Cabbage Rose Eatery, she said they have been thrilled with the downtown location. About half of their business comes from walk-in customers.
Their goal is to provide a relaxing experience, and the green products and attitude is a part of that.
"The experience itself isn't relaxing at other salons I've been to," Shelby said. "They try to get you in and out as quickly as possible. You can't take your time."
A full pedicure at the lounge will take at least an hour, Melissa said. Customers can soak their feet in one of the five machines in the lounge, drink some coffee or even sip on a glass of wine while the work gets done.
Both of the women said a desire to help people is what led to this first business venture for both of them. Melissa previously worked in the long-term elderly care for 30 years and said she noticed working on feet drastically improved people's moods.
She knew she wanted to turn that idea into a business plan, which is what led them to open their own salon where they could do what they wanted
Keeping with the theme of eco-friendly, the Pedi Lounge features glass nail files and foot scrubs that come with a lifetime warranty. Shelby said after every use they are cleaned and thoroughly sanitized before being reused. They also have flip-flops customers can take home with them, instead of throwing away the sandals after a customer uses them. Most of the items in the store have been chosen with the goal of lowering the lounge's environmental footprint.
The Pedi Lounge touts itself as the first eco-friendly nail salon in Anderson, and Melissa said they believe they might be the first one in the state.