Say hello to vegan-friendly nails at Goodbye Lulu in Pittsburgh
Victoria Rose spent years searching for a way to turn her artistic talent into a career, but the answer was always right at her fingertips.
Unfulfilled by college courses in interior design and architecture, she got a job in a salon. She learned how to do manicures and pedicures. She later went to cosmetology school in Louisiana, ditching hairdos to focus on nail design.
The salon’s products are chemical-free and vegan-friendly. Rose rejects mainstream polishes that use animal byproducts, such as insect pigments and fish scales, and harsh chemicals like formaldehyde and toluene. The business reflects her personal values — she has been a vegan since the age of 11.
The product line of choice at her Warrington Avenue shop is The GelBottle, a British maker of nail products that are 100% vegan. Rose makes the soap scrubs, lotions and oils on site. Customers soak their pre-pedicure feet in copper bowls that have no drains or jets where bacteria can hide. Tools are cleaned after-hours with hospital-grade disinfectants.
Her services range from manicures and pedicures to polygel fills, which utilize a substance more flexible than acrylic, but stronger than gel. Patrons can opt for solid colors or intricate designs. Many men stop by to get a top coat applied and their cuticles cleaned up.
Everybody, Rose says, deserves a little pampering.
She researched the market extensively before opening Goodbye Lulu, which is named for a song by the folk-punk band Days N’ Daze.
It seems to be a good fit for Allentown, a neighborhood with which Rose and her tattoo-artist husband are well acquainted. The couple frequent the neighborhood’s Black Forge Coffee House and Onion Maiden, a punk- and heavy-metal themed restaurant specializing in vegetable-based Asian and American comfort food.
She says there’s a real sense of community on the hilltop. She hopes to hire three nail technicians in early 2020.
“My focus is on building relationships with my clients,” Rose says. “You’re sitting face-to-face with them and are in constant contact with their hand or foot. It’s an intimate situation. I want people to feel comfortable.”