In the heart of Brentwood, California, over 50 entrepreneurs, educators, students and influencers gathered at the stunning Baltaire Restaurant; an elegant dining room and intimate outdoor patio that set the stage for cocktails and networking. The sophisticated setting was adorned by candlelight, laughter, and Prosecco. Secrets of Successful Women Entrepreneurs, founded by the Stiletto Gal, Hillary Gadsby, is a monthly gathering of women in the Los Angeles community who have the desire to inspire, be inspired and connect through their mutual successes and trials. This month, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Côte founders and full-time moms, Leah Yari and Mary Lennon.
What is Côte?
Côte is the brand changing the mani pedi game and creating a unique experience through “clean” nail care. Their mission? To take the toxins out of the nail care experience and to create luxury through transparency. Their passion comes from having to endure an experience that did not satisfy. Yari and Lennon both wondered why having their nails done felt heavy and daunting. This inspired the desire for a more organic and natural approach.
Côte Polish vs. Everyone Else
“The misconception is that the nail bed is a barrier; the nail bed is made of keratin just like your hair. When you put nail polish on it, it goes to your bloodstream and you are exposed to toxins and allergens,” Lennon said. The chemical makeup of your average nail polish is filled with formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor, formaldehyde resin, TPHP, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens and gluten. These 10 chemicals are well known to have direct links to illness. According to The Daily Mail in 2015, “researchers have identified toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate – nicknamed the ‘toxic trio’ because of their serious health impacts – as three chemicals of high concern.” Their goal was to create a polish that promoted wellness and indulgence. Not only is their chip-free and long-wearing polish bad-vibe free, it is also vegan, cruelty-free and hand poured in the USA.
You Say I Dream Too Big; I Say You Dream Too Small
Yari and Lennon said their largest hurdle was educating themselves in the beauty and nail industry. Mutually, they had no business background and were coming into this adventure blind. However, their motivation through inspiration caused a fire that could not be put out. They were not afraid to ask questions, surround themselves with the right people and always remain confident in their goal and themselves. Their line features over 100 unique cruelty-free colors that are sure to create an impact. From soft nudes to high-power pinks, there is a shade for every woman. They also named their front of shop, the Bungalow, filled with gift sets, and artisan products as a perfect touch to the atmosphere. The biggest challenge to date? Leah says it is staying within budget and picking colors that they love.
Top Notch Quality with Understated Luxury
The experience at Côte is unlike your typical nail salon. In fact, they prefer to not be considered a salon, but a shop. They wanted to go against the stereotypical grain and create a private and intimate experience that makes you feel both comfortable and relaxed. Their welcoming retail area in the front descends into their beautiful ‘beautique’ in the back. They strived to create a relationship between the client and the technician where your relaxation and satisfaction is their sole focus. The signature difference between Côte and everyone else is their unmatched packaging. Leah emphasized that their focus as a company is the idea that when you receive a beautifully boxed Côte polish, you are getting a gift.
MomBoss: You Can Do It All
Being a mom is hard enough as it is. Being a working mom with a flourishing business is even more arduous, but these moms seem to have found the key to managing it all. Yari said the key to her success is that she has immense family support and loves her ability to lean on her friends, family and Mary to vent, find solutions and proceed.
For Lennon, she said her biggest tool is her phone! She jested that it’s her “home away from office away from home.” Yari added that she wants her daughters to know that anything is possible if you are determined and that having kids doesn’t mean the journey is over, it just adds to the adventure. I am sure all working moms can relate! Their favorite part of Côte is their ability to share the experience with their kids. While they both admit that they don’t always slow down and enjoy the little victories, they do remember the legacy that they want to leave behind for their children.
The next step for Côte is to open more stores, stock more products and educate the masses on how bad it is to put toxin-filled polish on your nails. Healthier nails equals a healthier body, and a healthier body equals a healthier life. While Yari and Lennon are well on their way to being the most successful natural nail brand they leave us with these words of wisdom and inspiration, “It is possible to run a business, be a loving wife and a nurturing mother.”