During the 1990s, Bronx native Lenny Alize Jones was an enterprising record label executive who managed artists and created music for those in the hip-hop world. Today, he’s the founder of the successful beauty salon Nails & Tips by Laila London, which enjoyed its grand opening in late September.
Nails & Tips by Laila London’s mission is one that is not only unique but goes up and beyond the standard of excellent customer service. “Our mission is to create a customer service friendly business that is family-oriented and welcoming to both sexes, male and female,” says Lenny. “In the customer service area, we provide transportation for those who live within a one-mile radius of the business if one makes a deposit of 15% towards the cost of receiving a manicure or pedicure.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, Lenny’s journey in serving the community and its people began during his youth, starting with his work with the New York City Housing Authority. While working for one of NYC’s largest and most demanding departments, Lenny met up with a girlfriend who worked for hip hop legend and Bronx native KRS-ONE and started working with the rapper/educator with his business. From there, other music business friends came to him for help, which led to his rise in the industry to becoming a label executive with Arista Records.
Lenny credits his work within the recording industry for helping him further establish the salon. “When I launched the salon, I resourced the skills I developed on the business side of the recording/music industry for Nails & Tips by Laila London. Being in the entertainment industry, I was able to utilize the relationships I have with folks in music, sports, film and television to help support what I’m doing by getting the word out regarding the salon business to those who follow them via social media and other platforms.”
Nails & Tips by Laila London offers a variety of manicures and pedicures, as well as nail enhancements – all with high standards one can find in more expensive salons but affordable for the community they serve. And that area has shown its support for Lenny and the company. “The goal is to provide the nearby community with access to services that would only be granted to those more fortunate,” says Lenny. “As a Black-owned business, it’s our goal to understand the plight of those in the surrounding community and provide a quality service our customers deserve.”
With much of the nation still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and its after-affects, Nails & Tips by Laila London came ready with what is required now to be in the cosmetology business. “We are up to date in regards to the standard safety requirements mandated by the New York State Department of Health & Human Services in regards to COVID-19 restrictions. All stations within the salon are glass-partitioned and within six feet of each other to maintain social distancing. We have temperature monitors set up for both clients and employees. Disinfectants and PPE are well stocked and used regularly. We sanitize the areas constantly. Appointments are appreciated, yes, and we do take walk-ins but make sure the flow of customers is spaced out with social distancing being strictly maintained. Opening the salon a month ago was to our advantage because we were able to set up the business under the social distancing and protective guidelines during the actual construction, whereas salons that were already in business had to shut down and go through reconstruction. This helped because when we did open a month ago, folks saw that we had the social distancing layout already in place, and it didn’t look like a makeshift job. Folks can come in, relax and know they are getting the best manicure/pedicure in the world within a safe environment.”
With Nails & Tips by Laila London now in business, Lenny looks ahead to a great future. “The best feeling I have with the beauty salon is being able to offer a service to the consumer. We’re giving back to the community that has given much to help our business. It’s a great feeling to be able to show my neighbors, friends, and family that having a business and serving the community in the area is not an impossible dream but an absolute reality. There are a lot of folks out there who are facing challenges with finding work and paying the bills. I want to be that person they can come to for jobs and services.”