Part of the reason Local Honey exists is because Kate Quintard finally got fed up with the fact that she couldn’t get a good wax in Brooklyn.
“I’ve been waxing for eight years, and I searched high and low for a place in Brooklyn but couldn’t find anything,” she said. “I’ve gone to the city to get good waxing, but there was absolutely nowhere good in Brooklyn.”
Her own need, paired with a vested interest in DIY beauty products and interior design spurred Quintard to found her own nail salon and spa in Bushwick late last year. Called Local Honey, the salon offers waxing, brow bar services, henna by custom appointment, massages, and most of all, manicures and pedicures with a wide variety of levels and customizations, including regular polish, gel, and crystal energy options.
Located right at the corner of Irving and Troutman, Local Honey’s drab exterior immediately gives way to a chic salon that separates itself from the neighborhood’s overarching warehouse-and-factory vibe. Amid the surrounding destroyed commercial spaces, the spa’s soft energy offers sudden respite; blonde wood and white walls are accented with a mix of overtly girly and strangely arcane touches.
A bleached animal skull adorned with faded roses lord over the sleeky, slightly witchy space, gazing out from its perch above a boxy, black couch and a custom raw wood table along the right side. Private waxing rooms lie off in the far right corner, and spa pedicure stations occupy the left half of the room. But the majority of the space is dominated by the horseshoe nail counter in the center, loaded down with polish, gel, nail design books, and vats of red wine or water spiked with slices of grapefruit. It features custom tile that Quintard and her boyfriend laid themselves, and clever cutouts halfway down for convenient, comfortable pedicure painting.
As the space suggests, Quintard has a long history as a student of aesthetics; she graduated from Savannah College Of Art and Design with a degree in Fashion Design and has always fiddled with her own homemade and DIY beauty remedies. After a stint in corporate denim burned out her creative sensibilities, she took an interest in New York’s real estate market, and through an extension of work with agents and landlord, began applying her eye for fashion to interior design. Recently, she founded an interior design firm called Studio Bunny with a friend. After saving and plotting for a few months, it occurred to her that there was not a salon or spa to be found in Bushwick’s otherwise flourishing community of creative professionals.
“I worked a lot and saved up my money, and I noticed there’s no nail salons in Bushwick,” she said. “I kept thinking about how much I would love for something like this to be around, and I’ve always been obsessed with beauty products and the beauty industry myself. So I thought ‘you know what? I’m going to do it.’”
A big part of what keeps customers coming back is Local Honey’s head nail artists Sonia Garcia, a deft, brilliant practitioners of nail art, who is extremely knowledgeable about the latest economic and environmental developments in nail design, and creates custom, seasonal lookbooks for the salon. All the polishes used at Local Honey are five-free, meaning they do not contain the five known carcinogens (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor) that many companies still use as standard practice. Taking that emphasis on green, natural, and local ingredients, Quintard has designed her own line of beauty products for the spa.
“My end goal is to turn this not just into a spa but a beauty brand, and expand this into the cosmetics industry,” she said. “I wanted to stand out from typical nail salons, and the products was something that I really wanted to focus onto be different from people.”
So far, her line includes the all-purpose oil Moon Glo no. 11, Witch Toniq rose water toner,
Sex Pot Sugar Scrub and Sea Mud Body Polish, along with Bath Brews (aka bath bombs) in Desert Rose, Smokey Quartz, and Prism. This is just the beginning of her line, which she currently sells in house, and hopes to expand and sell online as the year progresses.
Clearly, this is only the beginning for Local Honey, and the community’s appetite for a salon like this has been apparent, even over the first few months. Quintard said she is gratified that the neighborhood has been so welcoming and envisions that summer will be their sweet spot.
“It’s been getting busier and busier every month which is super exciting,” she said. “I’ve been thoroughly impressed by how much the community has accepted us. I’m really looking forward to the summer when we’re well-oiled and cranking it out.”