By Corilyn Shropshire Chicago Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Two former business school pals have teamed up to create a beauty business with a unique business model.
In 2016, while students at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, Ale Breuer and Kim Marsh teamed up to launch Ezza Nails, a pop-up nail salon aimed at keeping busy professional women looking polished by offering a membership-based manicure experience with the option to book and choose their colors online.
The duo won $75,000 in the school's New Venture Challenge in 2017 and opened their salon in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. Breuer, Ezza's 32-year-old CEO, says a good manicure is an essential part of a woman's professional uniform.
Q: What sets Ezza Nails apart from the run-of-the-mill nail salon or a fancy spa?
A: We realized that a woman has two options for nails. She can either go to the local neighborhood place, where you never know what you're going to get, or she can go to the luxury spa, but it's super time-consuming and very expensive. For modern-day professional women who invest in manicures as a part of their professional uniform, these two options are just not good enough. We believe there needs to be a new option in nails.
Q: How does your nail salon model work?
A: We are completely cashless, have a 15 percent baseline tip included in the prices, and offer membership options and convenient hours. You can choose your polish color during your online booking.
Q: What's your favorite color?
A: Don't Bossa Nova Me Around, by OPI.
Q: What did you do before you launched Ezza?
A: Kim and I were teachers in Teach For America and met while we were in business school at Booth.
Q: What is your morning routine?
A: What's a morning routine? Every day is so different at Ezza it's hard to say that I have one.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: Women inspire me everyday. Our guests, our members are all tough as nails. Not to mention our mani specialist squad, they are incredibly tough as nails. So to have the opportunity to work with them daily is incredibly inspiring.
Q: What does Ezza mean?
A: Ezza comes from the Italian word "essato" meaning exact. We want to get it exactly right for our customer. Not only with their manicure but in their experience too.