“RidgeGate Up Close” is our series of interviews with people who make RidgeGate a more vibrant place. Read the unexpected stories of residents, workers and local leaders who live and work here. Know someone who has a unique perspective or life in RidgeGate? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month: Rebecca Gonzalez, Manager of Frenchies Modern Nails and RidgeGate Resident
A cheery and whimsical little spot, Frenchies Modern Nails is one of RidgeGate’s newest places for pampering. Here, manager Rebecca Gonzalez describes her professional journey in the health and wellness sector, the secret behind the scrumptious aromas in Frenchies, and why you’ll never see their staff wearing masks as they work.
#1. My very first observation about Frenchies is that it doesn’t smell like a nail salon…it smells like a spa. Why is that?
Rebecca: “All of our signature and deluxe services include a sugar scrub and lotion application with massage using products from a local company called Spinster Sisters. They’re all sulfate, paraben and alcohol free and come in amazing scents like lavender, oatmeal milk and honey, orange blossom and rose petal, lemongrass and sage, etc. Our scent wall is right next to our front door, and it’s our first stop for our upgraded services so our clients can pick the scent they like best. Every client also gets a warm lavender neck wrap during their service. So yes, Frenchies doesn’t feel or smell like a traditional nail salon. In fact, every manicure and pedicure station has a special ventilation system that
helps keep the air clean. You will never see any of our employees wearing a mask. That’s one of the reasons I was attracted to this job. I wanted to work in a healthy environment.”
#2. Were health and wellness an integral part of your life before you started managing Frenchies?
Rebecca: “I just recently moved back to the States from Nicaragua. I worked at luxury resorts overseeing their wellness programs which included spas, nutrition, yoga, and meditation services. I was also a hairdresser for five years and then I did makeup for fifteen years. One of the reasons I stopped doing hair is because of the harsh chemicals used. I didn’t like ingesting the fumes all day long. I was getting headaches. I love coming to work at Frenchies because it feels clean and healthy.”
#3. If you asked three different people what their definition of a perfect manicure is, you might get three different answers: quick, relaxing or perhaps cheap. How does Frenchies want to define the perfect manicure?
Rebecca: “Clean. In fact, ‘we love clean’ is our tagline. We don’t reuse any of our implements that are porous. We dispose of them or have the client take them home. The State requires that all nail salon implements be soaked in medical grade disinfectant for 10 minutes, but we go a step further. We put ours in an autoclave to achieve complete sterilization. The end result is that they are 100% clean.”
#4. You also went a step further with your pedicure tubs. How are they different from traditional tubs?
Rebecca: “None of our tubs have jets, which often harbor bacteria in the tubing and recycle it back in to the water. After each pedicure we scrub our tubs and then soak with hospital grade disinfectant for 10 minutes.”
#5. Does a “clean” manicure or pedicure help maintain the health of your clients’ nails?
Rebecca: “Our mission is to make your nails as healthy as they can be, so we don’t do acrylics or dips. You won’t see electric drills being used, or staff members wearing masks because of the harsh chemicals in the air. Also, all of our gel polishes are free of either three, five or seven of the harshest chemicals commonly found in polishes. Everything we do is about restoring the integrity of your nails. I’d encourage people who want to maintain their nail health to check out our membership program, which gives you the lowest prices on nail services, and a bunch of other fun perks. We also provide services for men, and children as well.”
#6. What would we find Rebecca Gonzalez doing if she wasn’t in the salon?
Rebecca: “I love hiking the bluffs right behind the salon. I actually live very close to Frenchies – about a three minute walk! Our owners live in Montecito, which is also a part of the RidgeGate neighborhood. Let’s see… my boyfriend and I also love to cook while listening to vinyl records.”
#7. What was the last record you listened to?
Rebecca: “Mumford & Sons!”
#8 …and what is your favorite homemade meal?
Rebecca: “We love to make wild-caught salmon or halibut with veggies and roast potatoes in olive oil and herbs. Then we make a bunch of fun little dipping sauces. It’s healthy, it’s nutritious and it tastes great.”