Beyoncé's Manicurist Talks Hustling Amid the Pandemic and Supporting Black-Owned Salons
Lisa Logan is a celebrity manicurist and owner of Harlem-based nail salon The Nail Suite. She's sharing exactly what went into building her career in the beauty industry from the ground up and what Black business owners really need right now. This story was told to Jessica Harrington and edited for length and clarity.
I have been in the beauty industry for 25 years as a manicurist. My daughter was 6 months old when I started doing nails, so I thought, If I'm going to be good at this, I have to be really good because now I'm raising a daughter. I was 22 and young. I hadn't gone to college, but I knew I had to figure out how to create something for me and my daughter.
My sister introduced me to a salon owner based in Harlem and I took a job there. Throughout my experience, I've only ever worked in salons that were in Harlem that were Black-owned. So, when people talk about working at shops that don't care about them — that was never my experience. Coming from a Black-owned salon, you always, always, always have to do extra to be good because you don't want to ever be thought of as not being a good service or not having good products.
During that time, I stumbled into the music industry by way of friends when one got a record deal. They were like: "Hey, by the way, DMX just got signed. He also needs his nails done." That kicked me off into the beauty industry, which led me to the amazing people like JAY-Z and Beyoncé, where I had opportunities to be on sets, travel the world, and encounter and work with all types of celebrities.
Seven or eight years ago, I decided to open my own salon in Harlem because I didn't know how much Beyoncé was going to be doing music anymore after she gave birth to Blue. First, in a small space that was 250 square feet before I got the opportunity to expand into another space in my building that is also Black-owned. The owner of the building still comes downstairs to get their nails done. It's a perfect cycle of what support looks like. I'm in a thriving Black neighborhood — I'm in a thriving neighborhood. It's not just Black, it's thriving.
I remember when I first opened my salon, one of my friends said, "Lisa, this just always feels like an extension of your living room." Because if you know me, then you know me as a person who cares. I just extend myself the best that I can. As long as I'm in the room, you're going to feel like you're at home or at my home.
Harlem is about camaraderie. My landlords have been so gracious to me that even when the pandemic came, they told me that if I couldn't pay rent they would understand. I went from thriving to zero — it's a shock to your system, your mind, your heart, your spirit. Fortunately, I was still able to take care of my rent.