Temple St. Salon Nails Spa Market

Markeshia Ricks Photo Pat Hall Jaynes has a knack for starting businesses. She’s started two and has been a partner in a third.

Now she’s hoping her new venture, a nail salon near Yale University’s campus, will be her next success story.

“I am first and foremost an entrepreneur,” Jaynes said. “I love starting businesses.”

Nearly a year ago, Jaynes transformed the commercial space on the second floor of the three-story, Temple Street brownstone that she owns with her husband into a full-service salon called The Nail Spa that caters to Yale students.

Slowly but surely, non-Yalies are being drawn into the spa-like experience that Jaynes has created and plans to expand in a year or two.

The idea for the nail salon came to her after previous tenants, including a real estate agency and a psychologist’s practice, had moved on from the space. When they left, she began using as a New Haven office for her own business, but it was too much space for her.

For the last 22 years, Jaynes has been the CEO of a Maryland-based human resources staffing and consulting firm called The HR Source that she started as her answer to the question: What would I do if I got downsized or laid off?

Back then she was working in the human resources department of what was then Bell Atlantic (now Verizon), and that’s exactly what the company was doing. She was never laid off. But after 18 months of working for herself and holding down her day job, she said, she took a leap of faith that led her to be in business for herself full time.

She started making the trip back and forth to New Haven after she met her husband, Gerald, a professor of economics and African American studies at Yale. Jaynes said when she first started coming to New Haven she was not impressed but as the city has changed and grown, so has her feelings about it.

“It is one of my favorite little cities,” she said, noting how she and her husband enjoy going to dinner and shows.

The nail salon idea occurred to her because of her own history as part owner of a hair salon and spa. It solidified after she discovered that the city doesn’t have a lot of nail salons and that many of them had closed over poor business practices such as failing to pay taxes and minimum wage.

With her business acumen and a location with an almost instant customer base — the brownstone at 413 Temple is across from Yale’s Helen Hadley Hall and practically next door to Yale’s Office of International Students & Scholars — Jaynes concluded the city could support another nail salon.

She wanted to make The Nail Spa distinct, a place where customers could relax with soft music, snacks, and fruit-infused water.

“We’re not going to be rushing you in or rushing you out,” Jaynes said. “If you want to get in and out we will do that for you but we also wanted to have a very relaxing ambiance and people who are able to have a conversation with you. It’s nice, it’s relaxing and the ambiance is exactly what I was going for.”

Jaynes, who remains active in her business in Maryland, employs two nail technicians, Jasmin Cameron and Fredina Mendez, who also serves as the spa manager.

“We have an awesome team of ladies here who keep it together and really allow me to go back and forth like I do,” she said. “They are amazing.”

College students get 10 percent off when they show their university ID. Starting in late September, The Nail Spa will add an eyelash application to the regular rotation of services it offers beyond its vegan manicures and pedicures. On Sept. 24 you can get $10 mini-manis and pedis as part of a special event to kick off the new eyelash business.

Currently, tenants live on the third floor of the brownstone. When they move out in a year or two, Jaynes plans to move the nail salon upstairs and make it bigger, while also expanding the spa part of the business to include a blow dry bar and massage therapy.

“I’m really excited about the blow bar concept,” she said. “I think that with being right on the Yale campus and all that hair running around here, I think that will be a great opportunity for us. Before I started the nail salon I did some research to find out what was happening in New Haven, what was coming and what they have planned is incredible. I think the growth has been slower than anticipated, but I can see it coming just from the time that I was introduced to New Haven to now.”

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posted by: mcg2000 on September 6, 2017  4:40pm

As someone who lives and works in New Haven and goes to nail salons, I’m surprised I found out about this place just last month. Is it because I’m not part of the target Yale audience? That indicates the marketing isn’t what it should be. Or if I wasn’t targeted because I’m not a Yalie, that also doesn’t sit well with me. Plenty of non Yalie people around town go to nail salons. Has Ms. Jayne considered promoting her business on Groupon, Living Social, etc.?

posted by: Hill Resident on September 6, 2017  5:39pm

I work right across the street from this business and never knew it was here!!! Well, I will be sure to patronize it ...a pedicure during my lunch hour sounds wonderful!!!! And I will share it’s location with my many co-workers!  Good luck - but better advertising might bring more business!!!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 6, 2017  7:41pm

posted by: mcg2000 on September 6, 2017 5:40pm

As someone who lives and works in New Haven and goes to nail salons, I’m surprised I found out about this place just last month. Is it because I’m not part of the target Yale audience? That indicates the marketing isn’t what it should be. Or if I wasn’t targeted because I’m not a Yalie, that also doesn’t sit well with me. Plenty of non Yalie people around town go to nail salons. Has Ms. Jayne considered promoting her business on Groupon, Living Social, etc.?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news: but you and others are not special anymore..This is what happens when Gentrification start taking over.

I started the nail salon I did some research to find out what was happening in New Haven, what was coming and what they have planned is incredible. I think the growth has been slower than anticipated, but I can see it coming just from the time that I was introduced to New Haven to now.”

I have been see it coming.It is call Gentrification.

posted by: mcg2000 on September 6, 2017  8:51pm

Three Fifths, how does gentrification hurt a nail salon’s business? If anything, shouldn’t an influx of luxury housing help a luxury business like a nail salon?
And gentrication or not, nail salons could attract workers in the area who don’t necessarily live in New Haven who get their nails done during their lunch hour. Alluding to my earlier comments regarding the mayoral debates, a second floor walk up business obviously can’t accommodate disabled people who can’t use stairs, but I think the real reason growth is slow is lack of advertising especially outside the Yale community and competition from nearby Fashion Nails, which has been around for years.

posted by: GroveStreet on September 7, 2017  6:33am

Wish your business well and that most people realize that because they don’t know about it in its first year does not mean that you don’t want their business. The only thing more foolish than that would be to suggest that downtown New Haven has become so elite that new businesses don’t want broad support. Maybe when people aren’t begging while pissing on a tree in broad daylight in the town square, we can begin to think our city has become elite.

Welcome to New Haven.

posted by: mcg2000 on September 7, 2017  7:33am

Grove Street - The article was replete with references to Yale including 10 percent student discounts (which could go to students from other colleges like Gateway Community College)  with scant mention of how to attract other clients including those who work in nearby workplaces like the courthouses and banks. Not to mention some Yalies may not need the 10 percent discount as much as non Yale student locals.  I feel that if someone doesn’t market their business to me, either they have enough business that they don’t need mine or they’re aiming for a different type of clientele. By contrast, when I-Brow studio, who provides manicures and pedicures, opened over two years ago on Church Street, they were all over Groupon. I think when I finally learned about this business last month, I think I saw that this business had Sunday hours. If I were Ms. Jayne, I’d highlight the Sunday hours which sets her business apart from Fashion Nails and consider going on Groupon and Living Social.

posted by: GroveStreet on September 7, 2017  8:15am

But you aren’t Ms. Jaynes and no one knows of your business acumen. She seems to be succeeding and now you know about it. There is no requirement to do Groupon. Just stay with your provider then and don’t make accusations about others.

posted by: mcg2000 on September 7, 2017  8:53am

No, Grove Street, I am not Ms. Jayne. However, she is the one who is said her business is growing slower than anticipated, not me, meaning she’s seeking new customers. I was merely suggesting ideas to promote the business, which she is free to ignore. I am looking for a nail place open on Sundays so it may be worth giving her a shot.

posted by: 1644 on September 7, 2017  11:48am

mcg:  The article explains why the owner targeted Yalies:  she is smack in the middle of the campus, directly across the street from a a graduate student dorm.  Yes, the next circle of potential customers would be courthouse and bank workers.  My wife enjoys Living Social and Groupon, but they are expensive for the businesses, who generally get only half of the already reduced price users pay.

35’s. I am amused that you see gentrification when a African American woman is highly successful selling a service associated with the lower and middle class women, not gentry.

posted by: Markeshia Ricks on September 7, 2017  1:23pm

A clarification: Mrs. Jaynes is not referencing a slow growth in her business anywhere in this article. She was speaking about the city’s planned growth and the reality of that growth. Hope that helps.