Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson will bring their nail salon — with waxing, Champagne and chick flicks — to Woodward Avenue. It will be the first full-service nail salon in New Center.
By Stephanie Steinberg
Featured photo by Justin Milhouse
Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson dream of turning The TEN Nail Bar into the “Drybar” of nail care. But for now, they’re polishing The TEN experience — and bringing it to more Detroiters.
This spring, The TEN II is opening in New Center at 6541 Woodward Ave. It will be the second location of The TEN that won the hearts of Detroit residents and workers when it became the first full-service nail salon to open downtown in 2016.
The TEN II will be double the size at 2,500 square feet. The co-founders say guests can expect the same experience “they know and love” — including complimentary wine and Champagne and chick flicks — “with some awesome enhancements.” For instance, The TEN II will offer full body waxing services as well as areas for hosting parties (think bachelorette or bridal parties) or gathering with friends.
“People love to come and hang out in groups together,” Coleman says of their Capitol Park location that books about 1,500 appointments a month. “And it’s really turning into this place for connection and community.”
The TEN II will be the first full-service nail salon to open in New Center. Sitting at the glossy white nail bar in Capitol Park, where Beyonce and Rihanna tracks pump through the speakers, longtime friends Coleman and Jackson say it was important to stay in Detroit.
“It was our vision to really serve what we feel is in an unjustly underserved market, and New Center is really like what Capitol Park was when we first got here,” says Coleman, explaining there were few businesses in the area when they opened, and now it’s booming with restaurants and retail. “We’re proud to say that we’ve become an anchor for the area. We wanted to continue to meet that unmet demand in the city, so now we’re hoping to not only capture more people from Midtown and New Center, but maybe it will be easier for some of the neighborhoods to experience us as well.”
Coleman of Birmingham and Jackson of Detroit, both 34, have known each other since they were roommates freshman year at Spelman College in Atlanta.
“Our relationship starts as a friendship, as a sisterhood,” says Jackson, who’s also vice president of Jackson Asset Management. “Just that respect level and love for one another is a great basis for us to work from.”
The women entrepreneurs also have great respect for the 25 employees they plan to grow to 50 or more. The majority are women of color and single moms who are the breadwinners in their families.
“That’s another really important reason why we wanted to continue in Detroit,” Coleman says. “We’re really offering not just a job, but they have a sustainable career.”
Besides running The TEN, Coleman is executive producer of The Word Network’s “Ask Anything With Desi” and founder of the women’s empowerment initiative She Who Dares. “I’m all about collaboration over competition,” she says. “That’s been my theme.”
Laura Horwath, owner of Ferne Boutique that’s a few doors down from The TEN II, says Coleman is a woman who “does it all.”
“She’s a really good example of someone who’s like, ‘I’m not giving up. I’m going to do this.’ She’s all in,” says Horwath, 32, of Detroit. “It’s exciting to have someone like that right by.”
Horwath adds The TEN II will be the fifth women-owned business on the developing block that includes the home decor shop Urbanum, forthcoming hair spa Textures By Nefertiti and culinary school Cooking with Que.
“It’s cool to have a lot of women powerhouse business owners who are taking over this neighborhood,” Horwath says.
While they’ve had requests to open in Birmingham or Royal Oak, Jackson says they picked New Center because of the similarities in development to Capitol Park. “But also to prove, once again, that Detroit is capable of creating service-based businesses, and there’s a demand for it,” Jackson says. “I think people have really just underestimated how well these types of businesses could do, especially in an elevated way.”
As for the residents, well, they can’t wait for a second TEN location.
“They have changed the game,” says Kate Lazarski, 26, who lives in Midtown. “I don’t have to drive to the suburbs to do my nails every couple weeks.”
Lazarski adds The TEN is unlike any other salon. “I feel like I’m family when I go there,” she says.
It all goes back to why it’s called The TEN Nail Bar. “Bars have that connotation of a communal environment,” says Jackson, adding they built the long bar to encourage conversations with the person next to you getting a mani.
One day, the founders hope The TEN becomes a household name in nail care — like Drybar is for hair care.
As Jackson explains, “there’s no nail concept that you can go to nationally or internationally where you just know you’re going to get the consistent experience.”
And if Drybar founder Ali Webb is reading, Coleman has one message: “We’re ready to join you!”
The TEN Nail Bar
1215 Griswold St., Detroit