Enjoying a professional manicure is supposed to be a relaxing and luxurious way to treat yourself. But if the experience at your local salon leaves a bit to be desired, perhaps you should try indulging in a trip to Bellacures! As founder of the Bellacures brand (which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary), Samira Far has made it her mission to tweak the nature of the traditional nail salon. Read on for Samira’s thoughts on mentorship and brand building—and to see how her commitment to quality has put the world at her fingertips.
First things first—tell us about the progression of your business background.
The progression was quick, because after I graduated from the University of Southern California in 2004, I started working with KPMG in the summer. I was antsy to start working. I quickly realized that I could not stay at the job; my soul was expiring there. I quit after 10 months and decided to pursue an idea that I’d had in college—to provide a better option in the fragmented nail salon industry, where the only factor of competition was price. It was clear to me that someone needed to do a better job. I elected myself for the position without knowing what I was doing, and I learned along the way.
What moment or event prompted the idea for Bellacures? And how did you take that idea from dream to reality?
I have been getting my nails done every two weeks since I was 12 years old. I always wanted the result of a perfect manicure, but I could not stand the experience. I always wanted to get out of the salon as fast as possible. One specific time, I sat there thinking, “Why isn’t there somewhere I can go that matches my personal style and standard so at least I can feel like I belong in the space for 30 minutes to an hour?” From there the idea was born, and the seed was planted in my mind. I was about 18 or 19 years old at the time. I thought I would wait until I was older and had “enough” money and experience, but I quickly realized that “enough” was an insatiable requirement that would only keep me from action. I dropped that thought and started working on my idea step by step, constantly revising my game plan to get successful results.
You value career mentorship. Why?
It is important to have more than one career mentor. As the saying goes, it takes a village. Every good businessperson needs a good team of experts and mentors. My advice is to always have a diverse group of people who are old, young, male, female, familiar with your industry, only familiar with their industry, etc.
Spill! What are your three favorite places to eat in Los Angeles? What about your three favorite places to shop?
My No. 1 spot to eat in L.A. is Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart. I love it there—and now they know me, so I’m in a committed relationship that I cannot move on from. Next is Cecconi’s, then Hinoki & the Bird. My favorite places to shop are J.Crew, Barneys and Intermix.
How would you describe your own personal style?
No bullshit. I am very practical. I always want to be comfortable and dress for my body type. I would say that I’m J.Crew-meets-Helmut-Lang, with a sprinkle of Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Anthropologie and Marissa Webb.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your own business?
To allow people to earn their way into their positions, and to pick and choose your battles.
Your loyal clients can include anyone from “the girl next door” to more recognizable names like Reese Witherspoon or Cameron Diaz. What do you think are the main reasons that your clients keep coming back for more?
Our clients and celebrity clients keep coming back because we do good work in an enjoyable environment. Period. We’re not about fancy, impractical offerings that make no sense. We understand that our clients want a great manicure in a timely manner, as well as to be able to rely on us. We try very hard to simply meet their demands.
What’s the best way to end your day?
With a loved one; doing whatever, honestly—dinner, nothing, a movie, a walk or something creative and adventurous.
Where do you see yourself, and the company, in five years?
Doing high-quality work with an excellent team that is continuously doing high-quality work; all of us enjoying the process and focusing on being better every day.
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