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





Ashleigh Barker, Head of Beauty for Lincoln International, on her unique Entreprenista journey

Describe your business in a few words: I am the Head of Beauty for Lincoln International, an investment banking platform that advises brands and management teams on growth capital fundraising and M&A advisory strategies. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m an M&A strategy, advisor and investment professional with both investment…

Cheli Grace of Book to Millions Reflects on 1 Year in The Entreprenista League

Brief description of your business: I offer professional publishing services with business strategy. I help you write, publish and market your non-fiction book that is aligned to your business and brand. We have a 5-phase system that does a lot of the work for you so all you have to do is show up with…

Rosemary Leader, Founder of Connect The Kind, has set out to change the way we gift

Describe your business in a few words: My name is Rosemary Leader, and I started Connect The Kind in December 2020. At Connect The Kind, we have set out to change the way people gift. Our mission has been to create a more meaningful, impactful way to celebrate the good people in your lives. We…

Ashley Reckdenwald, Founder of Working Mom Notes, on her mission as a Mamaprenista

Describe your business in a few words: I am the Founder of Working Mom Notes. My mission is to empower mothers through community and experience, enabling all to prosper in both career and motherhood. I believe in moderating difficult conversations to help women feel seen and heard. What was your background prior to starting your…

Riley Flanagan of Riley’s Rows on starting her own international wine company

Describe your business in a few words: When I was four years old, Dad and I had our first harvest. I came home and knew I wanted to be a winemaker. I have loved growing up in this industry and I started Riley’s Rows as a way to share wines with people. My mission is…

Adriana Robinson, Founder of Reina Skincare, on her “accidental” success as an Entreprenista

Describe your business in a few words: My name is Adriana Robinson. I started this business in 2018. I was suffering from Acne all over my body and the products in store were not working for me. I decided to go the natural route and I accidentally ordered 10 pounds of Shea Butter instead of…

Laura Elliott, Co-Founder of Kula Inc., on taking the leap to launch a podcast

Describe your business in a few words: I am Laura Elliott the co-founder of Kula Inc. Kula is transforming the way moms receive support with a membership-based platform that allows moms to book 1:1 virtual sessions with a network of maternal wellness experts, including sleep consultants, counselors, career coaches, nutritionists, and more. What was your…

Meet Britney Mahoney: Senior Executive Assistant turned Entreprenista

Describe your business in a few words: As an 18-year highly experienced executive assistant with a diverse background in providing support to senior-level officials through in-person and virtual settings. Your business is our business. I believe in making your dreams and goals a reality and my Virtual Assistants know just how to do that. We’re…

Dawn Scott, Host of The Empowered CPA, is educating Entreprenistas with her curated courses

Describe your business in a few words: I am a CPA, podcast host, digital content creator, and co-founder of a blow-dry bar. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I worked for boutique accounting firms, a publicly traded utility and high net worth trust companies. Did you always know you wanted to…

Meet Caley Adams, Founder & Creative Director of Wildes District

Describe your business in a few words: Caley Adams is the Founder & Creative Director of Wildes District, an NYC-based design studio that specializes in emerging women’s and e-commerce brands. Wildes District works closely with founders to build meaningful experiences that span multiple touchpoints — including brand, web, app, print, packaging, and more. Caley has…

Public Relations Leader and Entreprenista, Ronica Cleary, on highlighting important and impactful stories

Describe your business in a few words: I launched Cleary Strategies to provide public relations, media placements, & crisis management to leaders and corporations. I’m a former television journalist who most recently worked as a White House Correspondent and hosted a weekly political talk show for WTTG Fox 5. My goal is to help you…

Brielle Brown, Founder & CEO of Anxiety Cosmetics, on Launching a Beauty Company Mid-Pandemic

Describe your business in a few words: I am the Founder & CEO of Anxiety Cosmetics! We are a Clean Beauty Brand Specializing in CBD Infused Cosmetics. BRAND STORY: The story starts a few years back when I was eating CBD gummies before bed due to my own Anxiety. I would toss and turn at…

Alla Koretsky of HeyLayer is on a mission to make sure women are represented in Web3

Describe your business in a few words: Alla Koretsky is Co-founder and CEO of HeyLayer – the one-stop NFT management solution to help brands transition into web3.Before founding HeyLayer, Alla spent over 15 years working as a buyer in luxury fashion, E-commerce, and subscription business startups, bridging gaps between branding, marketing, and product development. Her…

Ashley Girard of Welly’s Wellness on how her early days shaped the Entreprenista she’d become

Describe your business in a few words: Hi, I’m Ashley Girard — CEO and Founder of Welly’s Wellness. We sell prepackaged snacks, drinks and on-the-go essentials, as well as salads, fresh pressed juice + shots and more! Think of us like a healthy 7-11, but on wheels (and way cuter!). We also launched an MVP…

Donatella Arpaia: Serial Entreprenista, Attorney turned Restaurateur and Head Judge on Iron Chef America

Describe your business in a few words: Donatella Arpaia is a serial entrepreneur, trailblazing attorney turned restaurateur, celebrity chef, cookbook author, motivational speaker, brand ambassador, and mother. Donatella is best known for her recurring role as Head Judge on Iron Chef America. What was your background prior to starting your own business? My background was…