For many years the co-founders of Tenoverten, Adair Ilyinsky and Nadine Ferber, lived their well-designed New York City lives, hopping from fabulous jobs to beautiful restaurants, yet often found themselves meeting at the least glamorous spots of them all–the hole in the wall nail salons we all know so well–on a very regular basis. “We had a laundry list of things that we would change about the experience — a focus on hygiene, uniforms for the manicurists, a gorgeous space, a better polish selection — it was a long list,” says Ilyinsky. “One night, over a glass of wine, we decided that we should go for it and open a nail salon that tried to address all of our frustrations as customers.”
And that they did. After working on the concept of Tenoverten for a year, Ilyinsky and Ferber opened up the doors to New York’s chicest nail salon in December of 2010 in Tribeca, and have since expanded to Soho and Midtown. “While owning my own business always appealed to me, I never dreamt I would own a nail salon, much less three!” says Ilyinsky, a former financial analyst for Coach.
Now pregnant with her second child (another girl!), Ilyinsky chats with us all about the best small ways to pamper yourself, her favorite natural deodorant and the one lesson she hopes to teach her daughters.
How has being a mother influenced you as an entrepreneur?
Being a mother has made me appreciate my job even more. Nadine and I set our own schedules, so while we work extremely hard, I have the flexibility to go to my daughter Esme’s classes or meet her and the sitter for lunch. Striking the right balance between being a mom and working can be hard, and I am reassessing that balance on a daily basis, but I feel so lucky that I don’t have to sacrifice either.
Why is green beauty so important to you?
I have always been eco-conscious but when I became a mom, the importance of using natural beauty products was really heightened for me. The first thing to go was my drugstore deodorant because I was concerned about its toxicity for the baby while breastfeeding (try Soapwalla’s natural deodorant, it’s amazing). I think we are exposed to so many environmental toxins living in Manhattan that whatever we can do to limit our exposure, like using all natural beauty products, helps offset the exposure we can’t control. All of our products in the tenoverten line are 5-free (no Toluene, DBP, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor), cruelty free and vegan, which our customers who are moms especially appreciate.
Why is pampering as a mom so important?
I think getting a manicure and pedicure is the perfect pampering treat. It’s not too time-consuming, but it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of life, and I always feel so much more pulled together after a fresh manicure. I’m actually not someone who does a lot of pampering. I always have the intention of getting a massage or a facial, but then the week seems to just slip by. I am a firm believer in small ways to pamper yourself though — a new candle on the bedside table, fresh tulips for the kitchen, carving out the time to read a magazine. For me it’s really about the little pleasures.
How does NYC influence your work/life flow?
I really appreciate the convenience of New York. While sometimes it can be a hassle shlepping bags around and trudging on the subway, I love that I have everything at my fingertips. There is a Whole Foods in our building which is the ultimate luxury, and there are so many children’s activities available — my husband and I are enjoying revisiting places like the Natural History Museum and discovering places we didn’t even know about like the Children’s Art Museum in the West Village. I live a few blocks from our Tribeca flagship, so my commute to work can’t be beat either.
What life lessons do you hope to pass on to your daughters?
I guess it’s pretty basic, but just emphasizing how important it is to be kind to people. I will feel 100% satisfied if I raise the kind of girls who befriend the child who doesn’t have anyone to play with at recess or later in life, the kind of women who strike up a conversation with the person at a party who doesn’t know anyone. I hope I can instill in them a gratitude for how fortunate we are and a feeling of responsibility to pay that back somehow.
What has surprised you about your pregnancy?
Both times I have been surprised by how much I enjoy being pregnant. Even on a challenging day, there is something so uplifting about having a little life inside of you. When I wake up in the morning and my thoughts turn to the baby (which they immediately do now that I’m nine months…OOF), I feel a rush of excited anticipation. I also don’t mind the changes to my body. I’ve found that the parts of my body that have always been my hangups look so much smaller in comparison to a huge belly, ha!
How has your style changed since becoming pregnant?
My style has pretty much stayed the same except that I typically love everything high-waisted and tucked in which I’ve had to abandon for the most part. Wearing things lower slung has forced me to try out a more casual look, which I’ve come to like and might incorporate more post-pregnancy.
Any brands (maternity or non) that you feel are working for you?
I love Hatch for maternity clothes, especially for slightly dressier pieces. I bought a few dresses from them for my first pregnancy that I wore between pregnancies — their whole line transitions so well from pregnancy to post-pregnancy.
Photography by Lindsey Belle Photography