By Victor Ochieng
Award-winning screenwriter Michael Elliot is respected for his great works such as “Just Wright” and “Brown Sugar,” which are two great African-American romance films.
However, in 2013, Elliot transitioned from screenwriter to business owner when he founded Hammer & Nails, a men only nail salon widely regarded as the first in Los Angeles, and maybe the first worldwide.
That business, however uncommon, picked up pretty well and saw many business minds invest in it, with the launch earning a feature in The L.A. Times.
With that launch, the business was on the right track for growth.
Just recently news went out that the business is set and ready to franchise across 40 of the U.S. states, setting the pace for revolutionizing the male pedicure industry.
Chandra Thomas Whitfield, an NBCBLK contributor, recently had a chat with Elliot about his business life. Regarding how he ended up in the nail industry, Elliot said the idea of a men only nail salon came to him two years ago when he simply wanted to get a pedicure. A female friend came in handy to offer the service one of the Sundays. However, when he went into a salon, he instantly felt like he didn’t belong. He recalled that there were around 50 women, and the salon’s walls done in “womanly” colors.
The experience gave him a longing for “a place for a man to go and feel comfortable.” And that marked the beginning of his journey in the nail industry.
Elliot says that in the design of his salon, he wanted to ensure that he creates an environment that resonates with men. He got a 17-foot “AUTO” sign. The nail techs in the salon are all females, soft music is played, there is low lighting, and no spa chairs. Clients get personal TV, a remote control, and quality headphones so they can have a good time.
He explains that 30% of his clientele are as a result of gift cards, with women basically bringing their men for the services. Not many men really care about their nails. He asserts that, while women mainly do pedicure for cosmetic reasons, men actually do it as a matter of health, but it’s that part of the body that most men don’t even think about.
The salon offers diverse treatments that have amazing health benefits.
Now, Hammer & Nails is a name to reckon with, and the stage is set for its franchising. The business has registered interest in different places, including San Antonio, Atlanta, New York City, and more. The interest has also been registered outside the country in places such as Berlin, Uruguay, Austria, India, and Mexico.
In the first year, the company is looking forward to awarding five licenses.