Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Caruso.
Lauren, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I moved to LA from the East Coast in 2011 to pursue my dream of working for Disney. I had always admired the company, the strength of their brand, their attention to detail and their commitment to guest service. For five years, I worked on strategy and business development projects for Disney Theme Parks. It was a pretty awesome job that allowed me to travel to cities like Hong Kong and Paris, surrounded by incredibly smart coworkers, passionate about making people happy. In late 2015, however, I began to get antsy. Working at such a large, well-respected company had its perks but I was feeling the urge to make more of an immediate impact.
Meanwhile, I had grown incredibly frustrated with my experiences visiting nail salons. The nail industry provided a stark contrast to my millennial life: it’s technologically unsophisticated, lacks consistent health and safety standards, service and skill levels vary widely and there’s no single trusted brand. Beyond all this, despite being a part of the beauty world — and a big part of it — the overall industry aesthetic is dingy and dated.
So in May of 2016, I left my corporate job with the goal of bringing a Disney-level experience to an industry that sorely needed a makeover. It took about a year to get everything up and running and on June 22, 2017 we opened our doors to our first customers.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The struggles are real and constant, but that’s part of what makes it so fun. Securing capital was our first major obstacle. I had to develop a pretty thick skin hearing “no” over and over. It took about 8 months of persistent networking, cold calls and email blasts to raise what we needed. More recently, our biggest challenge has been finding nail artists. We currently have 10 artists on staff, but our customer waitlist—especially on weekends—is huge and growing. We’ve opted to hire smartly, albeit slowly, to maintain quality and ensure we’re delivering the best possible experience to our customers every time.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Color Camp – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Color Camp is changing the way we get our nails done for the better. We’re a modern manicure bar at the cross-section of beauty, design, and technology with a laser focus on cleanliness, a thoughtful approach to health, and an extensive, customizable nail art menu. We’re committed to improving the nail industry, not just for our customers but also for our employees.
Since we opened in June, we’ve gained a large and loyal following. Our primary differentiator is our specialization: we do one thing and that one thing very well (manicures). Additionally, our customers tell us they love being able to choose from our curated nail art menu, something they can’t do anywhere else. Finally, we use only the highest quality professional products, meaning our gel manicures last longer and are less damaging than most.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We’re approached nearly daily on social media with requests for expansion to new markets. People see that Color Camp is doing things differently and they want to experience it for themselves. While we would love to open shops immediately across the US, we know how challenging (and capital intensive) that would be, not to mention the fact that we still have lots of kinks to work out in our operational model before we go big. That said, we’re beginning to think creatively about how we can tap into this demand and reach consumers in new markets very quickly. At the same time, we’re focused on expanding more locally to grow our presence right here in LA.
- Polish: $20
- Gel: $40
- Super Gel: $50
- Nail Art: $2 – $4 per nail; $15 – $30 for all ten
- Address: 7607 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
- Website: www.color-camp.com
- Phone: 323-424-3534
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/color_camp/
Tana Gandhi, Jennifer Chong, Ken Tisuthiwongse