Tenoverten is coming back for more.
The 11-year-old nail care and service brand relaunched on Wednesday, after permanently closing four of its six locations in 2020. With the relaunch, Tenoverten aims to be a product-focused brand rather than a services-oriented company. This includes launching 14 new products for a total of 25 items, new packaging, a revamped e-commerce website and updated branding. Tenoverten initially launched nail polish in 2012, before expanding to over 800 Target doors in 2019, as well as Violet Grey and Net-a-Porter. Part of the pivot was informed by the 151% sales growth that Tenoverten experienced in its DTC e-commerce in 2020, said Adair Ilyinsky, Tenoverten co-founder and head of operations. Although Tenoverten nail polishes were sold through retail and its own locations, product sales accounted for only 10% of the business in 2018, according to Glossy’s previous reporting.
“We realized [in 2020] that we could scale our product line and that there was a huge appetite for it — not just during the pandemic, but also after [lockdown]. Doing your nails has become an activity like baking, where people realized they could do it themselves at home,” said Ilyinsky. “When people come to our existing salons, it’s as a respite or special treat. In between salon services, people are doing a lot more maintenance at home.”
Tenoverten’s relaunch comes as the larger beauty industry finds the space and time to rethink brand positioning and business strategies after confronting how Covid-19 changed the beauty landscape. Millions of people adopted simplified grooming, dressing and beauty routines, and casualwear and natural makeup looks have demonstrated lasting power. According to a February report from Mintel, 34% of U.S. adults who did their nails at home during lockdown plan to continue doing their nails at home even though salons have reopened, due to a desire to save money. As a result, Mintel estimated that the U.S. nail color and care market is expected to reach nearly $2.2 billion in 2020 retail sales, an increase of 19% from 2019.
Nail care brands like Olive + June, Nails Inc. and Butter London all saw dramatic increases in DTC e-commerce sales and overall sales, as customers sought DIY beauty routines throughout 2020. These brands benefited from selling through essential retailers like Walmart and CVS. In addition to the trials-and-tribulations that Tenoverten experienced on the salon and product side, the business faced accusations last year that its managerial team and customers were racist toward staff. Two subsequent lawsuits were mediated and settled prior to 2020. By Sept. 2020, Tenoverten issued a public apology on Instagram acknowledging the issues, but it can no longer be viewed.
Though Tenoverten plans to predominantly focus on its DTC e-commerce, it will maintain existing relationships with Violet Grey, Target and Goop. It will also expand its wholesale distribution, including to Amazon through a storefront operated by Carbon Beauty.
Its new products include a cuticle trimmer, a cleaning tool that doubles as a cuticle pusher, hand cream and a hand exfoliator, among others. Working with creative agency The Outset, Tenoverten aimed to create sophisticated items using a warm, earthy and neutral palette. Tools come in matte black and nail polishes are held in frosted glass bottles, for example.
But its nail salons are not disappearing in their entirety. In November, Tenoverten will open an expanded salon at the new Thompson Central Park hotel. It will feature eyebrow waxes and facials, a private space for group appointments, and a clean beauty retail space. Additionally, the existing location in the Financial District remains intact, and Tenoverten will test new salon and pop-ups concepts in 2022.
“Salons have become the launchpad and a focus group for us to know, on the product side, what is the need, and where is the demand. The [salons and products] marry each other in a beautiful way,” said Jaclyn Ferber, Tenoverten co-founder and head of product.
The accompanying website relaunch will make shopping easier, as previous shopping features were rudimentary. The prior website lacked storytelling around the brand’s “8-free” promise to avoid eight harmful ingredients sometimes found in nail polishes. The new website features elevated lifestyle imagery inclusive of genders and skin tones, as well as videos. Meanwhile, the brand’s Instagram had been wiped and replaced with nine photos posted on October 19 that form a composite image of a freshly manicured black-and-white hand. Ferber said that Tenoverten hired a new marketing manager, an e-commerce director and a social media manager ahead of the relaunch.
“This is about making [at-home manicures] an elevated experience,” said Nadine Abramcyk, Tenoverten co-founder and head of brand. “We were focused on this being genderless and inclusive. We want our products to be something that you enjoy looking at while sitting at your vanity.”