Moving to LA and getting settled in put a lot of stress on my nails and I could see them growing more unkempt and dirty. Eager to get them taken care of but anxious to find a quality salon, I held out for as long as I could. I read review after review on Yelp and Google and scoured the internet for prices and descriptions of services. After a week’s worth of searching, I found Dime Nails LA on Yelp and was very impressed with their website and messaging so I went ahead and booked an appointment for a pedicure.
When I arrived, I was greeted by Ami, the manager and was offered a glass of prosecco. You can feel the electric energy coursing throughout the salon as soon as you step foot inside. Another thing you immediately notice is the lack of a chemical smell in the space. From the art they have displayed in the window and throughout the salon to the music they were playing, I felt comfortable and welcomed. There’s a vibrant purple color scheme that really sets the tone and vibe of the salon. I later learned that the purple was inspired by Grace Jones and Prince. The whole space and vibe felt unapologetic, proud and androgynous and I loved every bit of it. What really got me was the customized Dime Nails Nikes on display at the front of the store and Amy Herald’s portrait of Michelle Obama on the wall. This salon was a place after my own heart.The pedicure was TO DIE FOR and Julia Kang, my nail tech, was very thoughtful and caring with my toes. Beyond impressed with Dime Nails LA as a whole, I set up an interview with Kristin Gyimah, the owner and founder of Dime Nails, to learn a bit more about her and how Dime Nails came to be.
Kristin was a corporate queen turned entrepreneur. When she became tired and weary from corporate life, Kristin thought about what brought her joy and how she could possibly do it for a living. She always had a love and interest for nails and found joy in painting other’s nails. Upon further research about the industry, Kristin realized there wasn’t enough quality customer service and lack of quality environments for nail technicians.
“Every other beauty industry is rooted in time and value. You want the time spent on you because that’s what makes you feel transformed or enjoy the beauty experience. Nail services weren’t like that. When I go and get my hair cut, I would never go to someone, not speak to them at all, not collaborate on a look and then literally have them rush me out of the chair.”
Kristin saw a space that needed to be filled within the nail and beauty industry and so, Dime Nails LA was born. She focused on creating a space for technicians to be artists that clients would also enjoy.
“It doesn’t take that much more effort for a nail salon owner to make choices that are for the betterment of both the client and the nail technicians.”
One of the things that stuck out to me about the salon was how happy everyone seemed to be. Getting my nails done didn’t feel like a chore or a rush, but was truly an experience that was catered to me, my wants and needs. Dime Nails LA felt like an environment where nail artists could learn and grow while inspiring and wowing their clients with nail art and technique.
“They can paint murals on tiny, tiny canvases that we call nail beds. There aren’t enough nail salons in LA that allow artists to thrive to their fullest.”
Dime Nails LA focuses on the continued growth of their staff, encouraging them to further their education as well as planning to invite in visiting artists to share their craft with. Currently, some of their nail techs are taking classes on acrylic nails and they just had a drill company come in and teach everyone how to do Russian manicures.
“We’re all artists here and the moment you put shackles on artist, they stop being creative. Give them more of the tools to provide what they need to be creative and they will love it and not want to leave. I hope to provide a place and a space where they want to stay and build with Dime.”
Beyond the shop and the daily responsibilities of operating a salon, Kristin shared a bit about her experience of being an entrepreneur with me.
“As an entrepreneur, you have no idea what you’re doing and you’re blazing your own trails. So it’s stressful.”
There are certain core values that Kristin tries to adhere to throughout her entrepreneurial journey. She wants to utilize Dime Nails as a platform and gateway to uplift and connect other women. “Wherever I can give women money, I’m going to give it to them.” However, she quickly found that sometimes women just aren’t getting the same exposure as their male counterparts. “If you’re specifically focused on women’s issues and female empowerment and that’s what you want to embody on your path, that was my complication. I couldn’t find the people I wanted to give my money to and embrace and that was frustrating.” One way Dime Nails is able to support women is by featuring local female artists’ work every 3 months. You can see their work decorated in the front window as well as throughout the store. Some artists they’ve featured have been Savage Muse and Birch & Bone. Currently being showcased in the store is Niki Pilkington.
If you’re interested in checking out Dime Nails, Kristin recommends you get the gel manicure (Feelin’ Myself) with nail art and a spa pedicure (Extra Brand New). Fun fact, all of Dime’s services are named after songs by female r&b and rap artists.
For the first time in a long time, I’ve found my dream nail home. Everything, and I mean everything…from the interior design to the way Dime’s nail technicians work have been carefully thought out and executed. Kristin has truly done an amazing job confronting the status quo of what your typical nail salon experience should be like by uplifting and creating an inclusive space for nail techs and customers. Her work ethic and passion to lift up others shines through all aspects of Dime Nails.“It’s very easy to say you have it (integrity), but you kind of have to live it. You don’t just get to say it and have good policies and that’s it. It goes beyond that.”
I get excited to get my nails done because it’s so much more than a beauty service. It’s a time for self care. It’s a time to appreciate nail art. It’s a time to be around thoughtful and creative individuals who not only make my nails look good but pamper and refresh my spirit. The people are friendly, the work is top notch and I’m excited to be supporting local female entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a new place to call your nail home, give Dime Nails a call and set up an appointment to experience the Dime Nail vibes for yourself.