Around Town

A first-generation immigrant is opening a Villa Heights nail salon with an aim to empower women

Photo by TJ Nguyen
Trang Tran, owner of Mimosas Nail Bar
Photo by TJ Nguyen Trang Tran, owner of Mimosas Nail Bar

Trang Tran, a first-generation immigrant, put herself through school by working in nail salons. A current candidate for a doctorate in dentistry from UNC Chapel Hill, Tran chose the nail salon industry to develop her bedside manner, as well as hand skills that would transfer over into difficult dental procedures. But she noticed a disconnect between the sterility of a dental office and that of a nail bar.

“While working at different nail salons, I noticed that the nail salon business just didn’t understand what the modern client wants and deserves,” Tran said. “Customers don’t want smells of acrylics, long waits, fluorescent lighting, poor customer service and questionable hygiene to welcome them when they enter a nail salon. I thought to myself, there has to be a better way.”

Cue Mimosas Nail Bar, Tran’s nail salon that will blend her passion for premier service with a mission to empower women in Charlotte and beyond. Its slogan says it all: “Strong is the New Pretty.”

“Where I was from, no matter how hard I would work, you just can’t get ahead due to the economy and gender-bias, which is why I want to give back to the community that has given me a chance at freedom,” Tran said. 

Mimosas Nail Bar will be located in the Villa Heights neighborhood on North Davidson Street. It will host a business and leadership development program to create a nail salon that Tran hopes will “[empower] women on both sides of the manicure bar.”

“For my employees, I not only want to provide a fun and healthy environment to work but also a place for them to learn and grow within our organization,” Tran said. “I’m hoping I can empower our staff to be able to follow their dreams and not settle — in an organization where anything is possible — because I want our nail designers, receptionists and managers to become owners and have a stake in our organization.”

Photo by TJ Nguyen<br>Mimosas Nail Bar

Outside of Mimosas Nail Bar, Tran will give back to the community by donating to local charities on a monthly basis.

“I have found through my time in serving underserved communities in North Carolina and recently from a month long service trip to Uganda that there are few things more rewarding in life than seeing someone smile,” she said.

During the grand opening weekend — set for mid-September — Mimosas Nail Bar will partner with Dress for Success Charlotte, an organization dedicated to empowering women to achieve economic independence through support and professional attire. The nail bar will offer free manicure gift cards for guests who bring clothing, shoes or accessories to donate to help women enter the workforce.

“Growing up in a third world country was difficult, but when I look back on those struggles, I realize that those are the things that made me who I am today,” Tran said. “Supporting women in my business to become leaders and supporting women in the community is my way of saying thank you to Charlotte for giving me my freedom and the ability to follow my dreams.”

Tran’s experience in the medical industry inspired her to provide a nail salon environment devoid of the typical harsh chemicals. Instead, Mimosas Nail Bar will use eco-friendly, non-toxic and cruelty-free products.

“We are committed to our client’s health and protecting the Earth,” Tran said. “Utilizing practices from the medical and dental industry, we saw a clear opportunity to provide nail services that encompass an elevated, honest and non-toxic experience throughout every facet of nail care, waxing and lashes.”

Photo by TJ Nguyen<br>Mimosas Nail Bar

In curating a unique, upscale experience for her customers, Tran referenced her “Four Pillars,” which will weave into the nail salon experience. 

Simplicity: Customers can quickly book appointments on the app or website to avoid waiting. Expect a fresh drink upon arrival (Chardonnay, Merlot, champagne, beer, mimosas, French-press coffee, organic tea, soft drinks or water). Members will have an additional selection of a signature mimosas or cold brew coffee with caramel, vanilla or hazelnut syrup.

Excellence: All technicians will receive extensive training, and products are vegan and cruelty-free.

Fun: Aside from deluxe salon chairs and bar seating, immersive details like Hollywood-style-bathrooms, a magazine cover photo booth and a sign that says “Call for Mimosas” will decorate the space. Customers can even show off their fresh manicure in the “selfie room.” 

Philanthropy: The nail salon plans to leave its mark on the industry by encouraging women to invest in their beauty at Mimosas Nail Bar, which will contribute to the wellness of others in Charlotte. 

Photo by TJ Nguyen<br>Construction at Mimosas Nail Bar

Upon opening in mid-September, expect to see 26 custom pedicure stations, bar seating for 18 and comfort seating for 15 in the 3,000 sq. ft. space.

Tran chose the NoDa area for the location’s personal importance. She was first introduced to the area by her husband, Don, when they strolled the streets taking goofy selfies by the murals, enjoying a dinner at Crepe Cellar and macarons and Amelie’s French Bakery.

“That night, I fell head over heels for the art, 24/7 macarons and my amazing future husband,” Tran shared. “When we were considering where to open our salon, I knew NoDa was the perfect spot because it was where our story first began. I hope to add to the already wonderful community by creating a better nail salon experience while giving back.”

Mimosas Nail Bar

2320 N. Davidson St., Suite 2. 

Instagram: @TheMimosasNailBar

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the salon is located in the Villa Heights neighborhood, adjacent to NoDa. A previous version was incorrect.