Steve Nguyen spent years asking customers what they wanted out of a nail salon. And then, like some sort of nail-oriented fairy godparents, he and his wife Lulu made their wishes a reality by opening the new Gossip & Co. Nail Spa, a certified manicure mansion.
"People work all day, and when they come here I want them to relax," Steve Nguyen says. "What's the one place where people feel the most relaxed? At home, right? That's why we've tried to make this place just as comfortable as if you were at home."
Gossip & Co. opened in mid-August in a strip center at the intersection of Eldridge Parkway and Louetta. Just based on the numbers, it's impressive. The salon is 8,500 square feet and has over 70 spa pedicure chair stations and as many as 100 employees working at a time. There's a man cave, two bars, a children's room, multiple wax rooms, private rooms for parties and plenty of nooks that offer a bit more privacy and less noise without removing the jaw-dropping view of the entrance hall, which is flanked by a double arched staircase and an enormous chandelier.
The sheer size and spectacle—and an offer of free manicures for the first 200 customers—meant customers queued up immediately once the grand opening was underway. Walking in around 10 a.m. on a Saturday, I was prepared for a wait, but ended up beating the crowd that showed up en masse around 11:30.
Upon entering the salon, you cross over an honest-to-goodness koi pond, and to the left, is an endless array of nail color options. They stopped counting the number of nail polish bottles on site when they hit 2,000—you could spend hours choosing if you wanted. To the right is a children's pedicure room, with Frozen and other Disney-themed pedicure chairs that are just the right size.
The Nguyens really did think of everyone. Anything that is done upstairs can be done downstairs, so older clients or people with mobility issues don't have to trek up the grand staircase. In the back of the salon is a full bar, where drinks are complimentary. The second bar is located in the middle of the Man Cave, a massive room featuring walls plastered with team logos and TVs playing sports. Nguyen says he built the bar specifically so if a man walks in and wants to lean against the bar and smack his hand down on the counter, he can have his manicure done right there. (Alternating hands to hold his craft beer, obviously.)
The owners say this might be the biggest nail salon in Houston, possibly the United States. I'm not sure if that's true. I do know I have never seen anything like it—and my mani-pedi turned out pretty good, too.