Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson Nail it with The TEN

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By In Her Shoes Contributor: Brianna Arps

What happens when two girlfriends, both with “goal digger” mindsets, leave their Midwest hometown and years later, decide to return and create the city’s hottest nail bar? The TEN is born. Grab a cup of tea, a comfy seat, and get the inside deets on Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson’s new beauty biz and why it needs to be at the top of your Detroit must-do list:

In Her Shoes: Aside from a visit to one’s favorite beautician, nail salons are widely known as key places where women relax and socialize. Was that fact a contributing factor in your decision to open The TEN Nail Bar?

The TEN: Our desire to open The TEN was about providing an elevated experience within the city of Detroit where demand is high and quality personal service is lacking. With this goal in mind, we definitely took a holistic approach as we built the business. Everything is by design and has been crafted to provide a haven for guests seeking both quality workmanship and comfort. Being a place for social interaction and relaxation is in the fabric of the brand.

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In Her Shoes: I’m interested in learning more about the joint-decision to relocate and help in the re-building and strengthening of your hometown community, Detroit. Why was it important? Why was it important at this time?

The TEN: Detroit is experiencing rapid growth and redevelopment – especially in the downtown area and immediate surrounding communities. We did not want to sit on the sidelines, but rather be a part of the burgeoning downtown experience. Not only are there emotional ties to the city we love and a desire to be a part of its resurgence, but immense business opportunity for entrepreneurs.  There are very few major metropolitan cities where one can build a formidable brand without the worry of saturation and excessive competition. One can take a proven concept and develop it within the city.  Our timing was aligned.  We’ve know each other for years and both wanted to move back, contribute to redevelopment, partner to apply our complementary skills, and give Detroiters the type of experience they deserve.

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In Her Shoes: Was a nail bar your first priority or the winning contender among other potential business opportunities?

The TEN: We reviewed several business concepts and developed preliminary plans. Ultimately, we wanted to start a business that we both would be happy and eager to develop while also filling a huge void.  We essentially wanted to bring ‘water to the desert.’ Our timing couldn’t be more perfect with the increase in both residential and business occupants in the area; in addition to the ‘blue ocean’ business climate. Lastly but importantly, we entered this business for its potential to scale and expand.  We are both of enterprising mind and could see the potential in this concept with the right foundation, strategy, and capital.

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In Her Shoes: Describe the feedback you and Anika as Fly Female Entrepreneurs have received since opening in September.

The TEN: We are overwhelmed by the positive response and support we’ve received. People from all over the country have reached out to express how proud they are, how much they appreciate our business and our leadership.  We’ve been humbled and so grateful by friends and strangers alike who have been cheering for us. It really is a testament that genuine love, appreciation, and admiration still exists.  Those messages, notes, the support of our business etc. keep us going more than one can realize … this is no easy feat! LOL

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In Her Shoes: What is a day like in Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson’s shoes?

The TEN: We are the multitasking mavens! Anika runs a very successful real estate holdings company in the city and manages a huge portfolio. Kelli is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and speaker – in addition to her most important role as mom. We do our absolute best with time management, division of tasks, delegation, and building strong teams. We both are dedicated to what we’ve committed to both personally and professionally and try to remember to look at all that’s on our plate as a privilege and not a burden.  We definitely support one another (and pray that one is prepared to talk the other off the ledge when necessary and we aren’t ready to jump together lol) and not only strive for excellence ourselves, but set that standard for those working with us. We try to do all of this while prioritizing self-care, personal relationships, and looking FLY! Sometimes getting up in the morning and putting yourself together nicely is the added fuel a woman needs.

In Her Shoes: From luxury fixtures to furniture, The TEN can be considered super trendy, modern and unique. Tell us about your approach and reasoning as far as design aesthetics are concerned.

The TEN: We wanted just that, a chic, modern, comfortable haven for guests to enjoy quality service. We are not in the business of nail care, but in the business of unmatched experience with nail care as the catalyst.  The design, aesthetic, cleanliness, and comfort of our space is critical in providing that experience. Everything in The TEN is by design and is a vision that will be duplicated and perfected as we grow.

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In Her Shoes: Being a newly established, Black woman-owned business in a monopolized industry, what would you both consider to be the greatest unanticipated challenge The TEN has had to overcome thus far?

The TEN: One of the greatest challenges is overcoming the stereotype of the typical nail salon that most people have come to know in different cities across the country.  It is sometimes to easier to show people than tell them. So working to continuously breakthrough that stereotype and encouraging guests to experience The TEN Nail Bar is what’s actually challenging but also the greatest reward when accomplished.

In Her Shoes: How do you plan on expanding in the future? Would a second location possibly be in the works, perhaps?

The TEN: We are striving for multiple locations across metro Detroit and the country.  We entered this business with an enterprising mindset and really it’s the only way we think.  The TEN experience is one that is lacking in a lot of metros and we are convinced that many potential locations would appreciate our brand presence. Wish us luck!

To learn more about The TEN visit thetendetroit.com or follow the brand on social media @thetendetroit.

As a New York City beauty PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.