Rachel Apfel Glass of GLOSSLAB on modernizing the nail salon experience with a membership-focused model

Rachel Apfel Glass_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

I founded GLOSSLAB in 2018 with a mission to modernize the nail salon experience with my hygiene-first, membership-focused concept. Currently, we have 3 locations in NYC with 2 additional locations opening in the next few months. 

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I worked in hedge fund fundraising for 10 years.  I was always in search of a quick, clean manicure as part of my busy work schedule and then as part of my even busier lifestyle as a working mom. I always felt like manicures were errands; a very joyless and inefficient experience. I talked about recreating the nail space for years. After having my second daughter and ultimately leaving the world of finance, I worked with a team of experts to open and then scale Glosslab.  

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I went to Columbia Business School and then worked in hedge fund fundraising for ten years.  I always enjoyed having an entrepreneurial role within companies but ultimately knew it was time to start my own business. 

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

That was never my initial plan, but every week I would go to get a manicure, I would look for the “least gross” place and I knew something had to change! That’s why I founded Glosslab on five key pillars including: Hygiene, Efficiency, Innovation, Expertise and Empowerment. I thought about giving up all the time — everyone in my life told me I was crazy to leave the finance world to take this leap and I would often believe them myself. It has been my inner passion to pursue this journey that has kept me going and really doing work on myself along the way.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I self-funded Glosslab and we had no budget for marketing. So in the beginning it was all referrals from customers/members!

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Raising capital for our latest round of fundraising was definitely challenging. We had to practice time management – we had our heads down focused on operations and expansion but had to balance that with the time necessary to complete the fundraising process.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Being a mom is #1.  Then opening Glosslab and finding the great team we have now.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the early stages of the pandemic, we cared most about the safety and security of our Glosslab employees.  At Glosslab, my core principle is empowerment – starting from within our company. We have a true career path for our employees and technicians where they have many growth and learning opportunities within our company. I started Glosslab with hygiene as a #1 priority. I did lots of research – our services, including pedicures, are completely waterless due to the germs and bacteria that live in pedicure bowls, even when they are cleaned. Our tools are one-time use only or otherwise cleaned in a hospital-grade sterilizer. When we re-opened in July, we did not have to pivot our store model beyond adding Covid safety measures – temperature checks, plexi dividers for services, masks and health checks. We also launched our mani “emergency” kits during the pandemic as well as our gel eraser kit – for gel removal at home or on the go.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We are opening 5+ locations in NYC. I am so thrilled to be a part of the re-growth that NYC needs right now.  We are also launching our full line of products later this year, including nail polish, hand and foot care. Additionally, we are planning to expand to other cities across the country, including Los Angeles.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

I learned to be more present and it’s been super impactful. Having the chance to slow down from running place to place was a true silver lining for me.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

It has taken me a long time to learn this, but you can truly create your own happiness. I am running this business and living this crazy entrepreneur life of working 100 hours a week so that I don’t have to work 40 hours a week. This makes me truly happy and fulfilled.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I take time for myself (or try to!) everyday. It’s SO important to take this time and it’s not selfish- it makes me a much better (nicer!) mom, wife and person. For me, this time is spent doing yoga or a sweaty workout, practicing meditation and/or just spending time alone or with friends.  

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I am mom to two little girls who are my inspiration – I love that, especially being home so much right now, they get to see this work side of what I do all day. Juggling is always the hardest question because I never feel that I’m truly managing the juggle. And yet, somehow, I am! I have never worked harder in my life, including when I was traveling to several cities each month raising money for hedge funds. They say entrepreneurs are the crazy people who work 100 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours – so true! However, my time is my own now and I’m able to spend real time with my kids everyday. I believe that my kids are happiest when I’m happiest, and I’m so lucky to love what I do!  

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Action expresses priorities… just start! You have the power to create your own happiness. 

Additionally, for entrepreneurs, some advice I live by includes:         

  • Be you!         
  • Take the first step – it’s often those little things in the beginning to push an idea forward that seem small but can get it going.         
  • Ask for help. No one can do everything – don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Truly, creating my own happiness.  Taking control of my week and everyday to build Glosslab and push forward each day.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Natalie Ramirez Designs Impactful Spaces With Her Architecture Firm

Hi, Natalie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business. Natalie Soledad Ramírez is the Founder and Principal Architect of Natalie Ramirez Architecture + Impact Collaborative. She has worked in architecture for over 14 years. She believes that the built environment can act as a catalyst for positive change and has devoted much…

Massage Therapist Gabby Garduno Promotes Self-Care and Mental Wellness

Hi, Gabby! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hola, I’m Gabby, a Los Angeles mobile massage therapist providing massage for self care and mental wellness. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? Definitely being in a community with ladies who want to help build each other up! What made…

How Leslie Roberson Became a Leader in Inclusive Beauty Retail

“I became hyper detailed on the processes and how the business should run. Any good business, this should be the baseline. Nothing else, like this is it. How does your business run without you? My team understands that everyone’s on board, so they just move through the system systematically. And so if they have any…

How Renee Parsons Innovated Golf Apparel in a Male-Dominated Industry

“Just surround yourself with people that are not necessarily better than you, but that bring something to the table you don’t—and [don’t] be intimidated by that or threatened by that. I love collaborating and I love having people on my team that bring something to the table and can teach me, and I feel like…

Laurie Arron on Her Coaching Biz for C-Suite Execs and Chiefs of Staff

Hi, Laurie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Laurie. I’m a trusted advisor and executive coach to C-Suite leaders and Chiefs of Staff. I’m also the founder of ChiefSpace Boardroom, a group coaching mastermind for Chiefs of Staff. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am…

Take a Look Inside Our Founders Weekend VIP Gift Bags

We’re still thinking about the VIP gift bags from Founders Weekend! The gift bags were filled with such innovative, useful (and luxurious!) products. Amplifying women-owned businesses is what we’re all about and we want to be sure all of the founders that featured products in our VIP Founders Weekend gift bags are discovered by all…

Dalana Lara Turned Her Passion for Baking Into a Cookie Biz

Hi, Dalana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Dalana, founder of The Cookie Mania. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, I moved to the U.S. in 2015. My lifelong passion for baking was always a part of me, even though I went to college and graduated as an accountant. Beyond balancing…

Ariana Olive Helps People Reach Their Financial Goals Through Planning

Hi, Ariana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: With over fifteen years of experience in finance and business management, Ariana is a performance-driven professional who provides strategic guidance to help individuals, families, and small-business owners reach their financial goals through comprehensive financial planning. She focuses on four key areas: tax planning,…

How Marina Khidekel Made Her Business a Household Name Through Networking

“Everybody has an unfair advantage. Use it. It could be an expertise that you have, that could be contacts you have in an industry that’s adjacent to the industry of your startup or can help your startup—use that. When Marina Khidekel started her search for a solution to her nighttime anxiety, she turned to weighted…

Elsi Pacheco on Her Brand Development and Digital Design Agency

Hi, Elsi! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Elsi. I am the creative force behind Link Up Level Up, bringing over 20 years of experience in marketing, design, and website development to the digital space for business owners. I was born and raised in the vibrant hustle of New York,…

How Tisha Thompson Launched the First Black-Owned Clean Makeup Brand at Sephora

“There’s a lot of things that come with being able to support a retailer like that… If you’re not ready for those things, then go DTC first because you also have to have: Is your product merchandisable? Do you have unit cartons? Do you have UPCs? All of these kinds of operational tactical things that…

Shulamit Ber Levtov Supports Woman Entrepreneurs’ Mental Health & Well-Being

Hi, Shulamit! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, CCTP, aka The Entrepreneurs’ Therapist. I’m passionate about mitigating the entrepreneurial mental health crisis and transforming the entrepreneurial ecosystem to include the whole human in business. I do that through speaking, teaching, and consulting, as well as…

5 Tips for Planning a Seamless Event

Founders Weekend was a month ago, and we still can’t get over the impact the event made for our community. Seeing our members, in person, connecting and collaborating with each other was what it was all about.  The content that was captured truly reflects the feeling of our Founders Weekend event and we can’t wait…

Gina Caracci Does it All: Trainer, Podcaster, and Charity Founder

Hi, Gina! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Gina aka GinaMarieFit. I’m a NASM personal trainer, business owner, podcaster, and charity organization founder. When I set out to become a personal trainer and online business owner, my goal was to provide more than just workouts and macros. I wanted to…

Building a 50,000+ Community While Navigating Postpartum Challenges

“I really care about people and I really care to see people thrive in communities where they feel welcomed.” Amanda Smith is the Founder & CEO of Dallas Girl Gang, a 50,000 plus global community of engaged women connecting in career, business, and life. Amanda, a former elementary music teacher, has grown Dallas Girl Gang…