Clean vs. clean

I am a huge fan of words…. Not just the meaning themselves, but the spelling, the spacing, the inflection.  All of it can mean so much more than letters grouped together.  When Lindsay, Suzanne, and I were working on our business concept, we really had a hard time finding the right words for what we were setting out to do.  We wanted our business pitch to be simple, explanatory, and accurate. Initially we threw around cliché words like green and non-toxic and eco-friendly.  But none of these seemed to perfectly describe our intentions without being misleading. Let’s be honest. Hardly anything in the beauty industry, or any industry for that matter, is completely non-toxic.  We kept coming back to a word we really liked…. clean. Its traditional and trendy usage both fit our model. If I told my 87-year old grandmother that I was opening a clean nail salon, she would be so proud, envisioning sparkling floors and spotless shelves.  But if I told my yoga instructor, she would imagine a well-appointed sanctuary adorned with plants and essential oils.  So, we decided to differentiate the two meanings simply by a capitalization.  And so, our “big C” Clean and “little c” clean concept was born.


One of the reasons the three of us set out on this journey was somewhat of a selfish one. We wanted a great place to treat and pamper ourselves! It had been months since we had stepped into a traditional nail salon, partly because of the lack of confidence we had that our available venues were not cesspools for MRSA or worse. The jets in the pedicure bowls were one thing. There is no way on earth to get those things bacteria free. But the bigger fear was of blood-borne pathogens. Who hasn’t been nicked by a cuticle trimmer or scraped by a foot file? I sure have! And if you haven’t, then get enough pedicures and you will. I don’t have the exact statistics, and doubt there are any out there to back me up, but common sense would tell you that a steam sterile implement should be standard in the industry. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most states, including our home state of Georgia. And let us not look over the hand/hand and hand/foot contact required of our industry. Having three small children, I know what germs lurk under fingernails and between toes. For the protection of the client and the technician, it seems reasonable to think gloves would be a good idea. We made a decision to take “little c” clean to a whole other level by making jet-less soaking tubs, autoclave sterilization, and technician glove requirements as standard protocol in our company.


So, what possibly could “big C” Clean encompass you ask? This word is popping up a lot in regards to diet and cosmetics mainly due to the new wave of knowledge about the lack of regulation in how our foods and beauty products are manufactured and marketed. This new world of organics and non-gmo labels has everyone wondering, “what the heck have we been buying all these years?” As our nation gets sicker with diseases like cancer, autoimmunities, and even behavioral disorders, it is no wonder that the market of health-conscious consumers is growing rapidly.  While we are fully aware that the likelihood of getting cancer from manicures is slim, we feel that health is an accumulation of all aspects of how you live your life.  That’s why we made it our mission to use the safest, most effective nail products available and to educate our clients on their choices. We realize that everyone’s wants or needs are different. For the client that just beat cancer, a bare bones maintenance may be what she feels confident in. That’s where our simple sugar comes in. Its free of polish, yet still gives a manicured look.  But for those of our clients that still love the look and wear of a traditional or gel polish, we have the Cleanest, most durable product we could find within our 7-free standard offered in our pinch/cup and divinity services.


You see, there is no perfect word to describe what we are doing or where we are going with this industry, but one thing is certain, we are moving forward. Our goal is that the level of service we are striving for becomes standard for our industry, for the sake of not only the patrons but of the providers. Our hope is that when you are getting you next nail treatment, that you look around, observe, and smell the air. If you think back to this blog post and get a tad bit uneasy, maybe it’s time to change things up a bit.

-Christy Harpring, co-owner Sea Salt & Sugar