Once upon a time, Lucy Dang swore she’d never operate a nail salon. Though her family had been in the industry for over 20 years, Dang had her sights set on fashion.
So she got her degree, hopped a plane to New York City and worked her way up the fashion chain, ultimately launching an eponymous eveningwear collection that won her a slew of industry awards.
She was on the fast track to full-fledged fashion star, but she craved more.
“I became Stanley Korshak’s premier in-house bridal designer at one point,” says Dang. “But the superficiality and stress got to me. I couldn’t fake-smile anymore. I wanted to create something real that was of value to the world.”
So with baby Ollie in tow, she launched Pink Pedi in North Oak Cliff with her husband of four years, Brandon, last spring.
Unlike traditional nail salons, Pink Pedi is eco-friendly and fume- and toxin-free—a Dallas first. Confection-like bath and body products line the hipster-chic space, all made in-house, by hand. Dang’s carrying on the family tradition after all, it seems—with a very modern twist.
Why did you decide to leave fashion?
It got to a point where I felt like it wasn’t my life’s calling. It didn’t have a high enough purpose. And then I had a baby, and that changed everything. I wanted to be with my family more.
When did the idea for Pink Pedi start brewing?
When Ollie was born, I’d visit my mom or aunt or cousin’s salon to hang out and think, Oh my gosh … all these fumes. It just clicked. I thought, I’m going to change that; let’s do something toxin-free. I wanted all my favorite things in one place: pretty toenails, a glass of wine, essential oils and a foot rub.
Does your mom still own a salon?
My parents sold their businesses and fully invested into Pink Pedi. In the beginning, they were hesitant about a toxin-free nail salon. We’ve since been able to prove that the market needs something like Pink Pedi.
Did your family’s background give you an edge?
The whole time I was pursuing fashion, it was like I was a small guppy in a huge sea, running away from my background. I didn’t realize growing up in the nail industry made me a shark in that pond. Right off the bat, we were able to take all we knew about brand creation and marketing and put it in to building Pink Pedi.
What have you learned over the past year?
That owning a business with your partner and having a family is a lot of negotiation.
How do you guys balance day-to-day?
I guess when I say it’s been easy, it’s because I have a lot of help. It takes a village. My husband’s mom is an identical twin, so we basically have two grandmothers on his side. I also have my mom, my godmother, who is [Ollie’s] nanny and my stepmother.
What’s it like working together?
We do clash, but we’ve learned to compromise and respect each other.
Did you always wants kids?
I didn’t want to have kids. I thought I was going be a career woman. But then you meet the right person and you’re like, Oh yes, I want to have a baby.
What’s surprised you about being a mom?
How easy it is.
Really? I’ve never heard that before?
It’s easy because it feels natural. Maybe we’re just lucky. Some people say the first child is the golden child.
How has having Ollie changed the dymanic between you and Brandon?
We see each other as a family unit now. It’s not just about me and my spouse.
How do you and Brandon spend time together when it’s not about work?
It’s always about work. We try to carve out moments. You just have to pencil it in. We also made a firm rule this year not to talk business after 10pm.
How do you like to unwind and de-stress?
Getting a pedicure. Having a massage. Just getting pampered, which is why I made a place I can go to.
What’s next for the salon?
We’re officially launching a full product line this month, and eight more Pink Pedi locations are in the works.
What will the line be called?
Purpose. Pink Pedi is about “pampering with purpose.” Each ingredient has a reason to be there.
How did you learn to make bath bombs and body butters?
I’ve always tinkered with mixing things. And I’m a researcher. Pinterest is like a black hole.
When did a greener way of living become important to you?
I just fell into it. I had Ollie and wanted better for him. It led to me making a change in my lifestyle.
Do you think you’ll ever venture back into fashion?
Not my original line. It will be something different, something with more purpose.
How do you describe your personal style?
What about your parenting style?
I let him play in the dirt and be.
What kind of change would you like to make in the world?
I don’t know. I’m just going to take care of my employees and build my little niche in the world with products that don’t harm people. Just do good.
What other creative outlets do you have?
Painting, cooking … any of that. I read Julia Child’s cookbooks back to back for fun reading.
Who do you lean on for parenting advice?
Definitely the grandmas.
What’s the best advice they’ve given you?
Just love him and let him be.