Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
When entrepreneurial stars like Jessica Biel and Reese Witherspoon are in the mood for public prettification, they head to luxe LA nail salon Bellacures. The stylish beauty chain was founded by Cali-bred Samira Far, who grew up in Calabasas and earned her degree at USC's Marshall School of Business. Before graduating, the beauty buff was offered a consultant position at big-name accounting firm KPMG, LLC, where she worked for ten months until deciding her dream job was still out there.
"I had all of these things that I wanted to do 'When I'm older,'" Far says,"but I realized I'm never going to feel like I have enough experience or enough money." A lifelong lacquer addict, Far set her her sights on the nail salon industry and with the help of a major loan from her parents (and a handful of maxed-out credit cards), she opened the first Bellacures location in Beverly Hills. Within three months, the loan was fully paid off; today, the Lucky-faved franchise offers eight beauty spots, including one in Dallas.
Now in its ninth year of business, Bellacures will soon roll out new-and-improved mani and pedi chairs. "There are knock-off versions of our chairs," says Far, so she plans to keep copycats on their toes by upgrading the salon's super-comfy signature seating. They're slated to hit one of the Westside locations within the next six to eight weeks, she says.
We caught up with the young businesswoman at Beverly Hills Juice Club, where she dished on her favorite megamall mogul, her favorite nail polish color, who's on the guest list to her fantasy celebrity slumber party, and more.
What are you drinking today?
The mixed greens with the Banana Manna shake. I'm not a big fan of fruit; my favorite fruit is banana. I love that it has all the greens and you can taste the bitterness of the greens but it has consistency of the almonds and bananas, which is my favorite mixture. I feel like I’m getting a lot of nutrients with a little bit of a sweet kick.
If you didn't start Bellacures, what was Business Plan B?
One of the other ideas was a women’s collared shirt line...Now there’s a brand for that, Anne Fontaine. I’m so happy I didn’t get into clothing. I love my business, I love being in the service industry.I don’t know that I would’ve liked manufacturing and carrying inventory.
What are your predictions for the next big nail thing?
If I had to guess, it would be a gel-nail polish hybrid to cater to the people who are hesitant to wearing gels on their nails for health reasons. But I'm not a manicurist nor a chemist.
Business-wise, who's your idol?
Rick Caruso. He developed The Commons in Calabasas; I saw the whole thing come up and I was so inspired by it. He does an amazing job at bringing life to something so simple and really thinking of the human experience in his shopping centers. I noticed that at a very young age. I was always passionate about bringing life to something super typical, and I think that's what we do with Bellacures.
A light cucumber gin gimlet with a little jalapeño.
Food guilt pleasure?
Either truffled french fries or pizza. I've been known to order a pizza from Stella Barra and eat the whole thing myself.
Hidden talent that you wish you had?
I wish that I could rap alongside Missy Elliott or Outkast. They're my two favorite rapping styles. Forget about rapping with them, I wish I could rap to them in karaoke.
And what are your go-to karaoke songs?
I like Shaggy's "Boombastic" and Divinyl's "I Touch Myself." And I also love Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." You can change your tone throughout the song and get really animated.
The three celebrities you'd invite to a slumber party would be...
Isla Fisher, Emma Stone, and Scarlett Johansson.