When IRMA discovered Hortūs, a little nail salon tucked away just around the corner of Houston Street in busy downtown Manhattan, she had finally had found something she had been missing for a long time. A nail and sugaring salon so perfectly natural run that she could truly relax while her hands and feet were taken care of and she enjoyed a chat with Jane MacColla, the founder of this oasis.
IRMA: You used to work in fashion as a PR representative for Jil Sander. Tell me how you came up with the idea to open a nail salon in Tribeca?
Jane MacColla: I just really wanted to create a space that I wanted to be in with the quality of service I wanted for myself. I found that what I was looking for didn’t really exist.
IRMA: What makes this place special, unique and different from the usual nail salon?
Jane MacColla: At Hortūs guests can relax and enjoy and don’t have to worry about the quality of work delivered. It is a place where clients look forward to returning. Today it’s such a luxury to be able to set aside personal time and I wanted that experience at Hortūs to be a pampering and self-indulgent one so it has to be worthwhile. We really work hard to try and get the details right. I think this is an industry of great skill and precision and we should not forget that. Also we are only using natural ingredients except the nail polish.
IRMA: Tell me about all the natural products you are using, for example from the McEvoy Ranch in California.
Jane MacColla: We love McEvoy Ranch’s ‘80 acres’ body care. The line incorporates organic olive oil and has a very high content of organic ingredients. Their products are simple yet effective and our clients really respond well to it. Another line we use is BELIEVE Organics. They handcraft a lot of the products we use, incorporating food grade, organic ingredients whenever possible and are always non-GMO. Each product is made to order and it’s an amazing line. We really try to provide our clients with skin care products that are healing, nourishing and non-toxic.
IRMA: What is most important about a beauty treatment nowadays?
Jane MacColla: I think it is so important to make sure that the products used in treatments are that of the highest quality and don’t contain toxic chemicals, especially on the skin, whenever possible. Our skin is the biggest organ we have and it absorbs everything you put on it. People need to be just as conscientious about what they put onto their bodies as what they put into it. It’s also one of the reasons why we offer sugaring services rather than waxing. We use a certified organic, food grade product that is safer, much more effective, better for the skin without risk of harm such as burns. It’s biodegradable and generates much less waste than waxing, creating less impact on the environment.
IRMA: What is the best care for nails when you are not wearing any lacquer?
Jane MacColla: Keep them clean and hydrated. It’s as simple as using a nail brush regularly to remove all the dry skin and debris. This also allows for better absorption of nourishing oils and moisturizers which will keep your cuticles and nails healthy. Don’t forget to have a nail file handy to keep your nails even and neat. You can do the same for toes.
IRMA: What do you advise from a nutrition point of view to make your nails beautiful from inside?
Jane MacColla: It’s simple. Drink plenty of water and practice a healthy and balanced diet. The clean, high-quality, whole foods that will nourish your body inside out will also keep your hair and nails healthy.
IRMA: The interior of your nail Salon is very calming, covered with plants and wooden chairs, it feels so warm and cosy. Tell me more about the idea behind that concept.
Jane MacColla: The idea was to create a space that is a total escape from the concrete and noise outside. A place where guests can shut off for a little while and steal some time away for themselves. We are also tucked away on a little known street in downtown Manhattan and when people find us, they get excited! Like a little secret they just discovered. In terms of space, I wanted the design to be simple, timeless and nurturing with a bit of green, like a secret garden. It was also important to keep it all local and sustainable. The fixtures and lighting were custom designed and handmade locally. The tables, chairs and shelves were made using mostly reclaimed wood and I really love the simplicity of their design as well as the history they hold.
IRMA: What are your plans for the future?
Jane MacColla: The plans are to definitely expand into more locations down the line. I look at Hortūs as a brand with limitless possibilities.