Photo Credit: Andrico Thompson
Andrico Thompson: The Man Behind Charlotte's First Black Male-Owned Nail Spa
Andrico Thompson, a Shelby, North Carolina native and former songwriter and producer, opened Manny’s Nail Spa of Charlotte in November 2021 with the full intention of creating a nail spa with a unique vibe and heightened level of customer service.
The salon features a neo-soul and 90s R&B playlist, luxury pedicures that include fresh fruit and flowers.
The spa’s motto is ‘we are truly Kings and Queens providing exemplary services for other Kings and Queens.’ We had the chance to chat with Andrico Thompson to learn more about his Charlotte nail spa.
Travel Noire: What sparked your interest in opening a nail spa?
Andrico: I had no interest in nails. It started off with my partner seeing a pedicure chair at a salon for free. She asked me to pick it up and bring it to the garage, and I did as she asked. A friend of mine came over, and we were talking in the garage, which led to questions about the pedicure chair randomly sitting in the garage.
I told him it was for her, and he said it would be crazy if someone who looks like us were to do women’s nails. It was funny at first, but then there was a long pause as I stared at the chair. A light bulb went off, and I hopped online and enrolled into the first school I saw, the Academy of Nails and Aesthetics.
TN: How has this experience changed your personal self-care habits?
Andrico: I pretty much still do the same manly things. I really don’t bother my own feet as often as I should, but I try to encourage more men to take care of them as well. It’s not as bad as it seems to get your hands and feet done minus polish of course but for the purpose of removing dead skin sure, why not? I will say it made me more gentle and patient. Women go through a lot of work to look good for us, and doing nails takes a lot of time.
TN: What is the most challenging aspect of being a Black man in the beauty industry?
Andrico: Just being accepted. Nothing from the nail world says Black man! Nothing at all. I can’t fit at the manicure tables, the tools used for nails are too small for a 6 foot 4, 220 pound man. My coordination was not good at first. No one really takes you seriously. My first time going into a nail supply store, I was turned away. My first time asking for a job at a salon, I was told they only hire people who look like them. I mean verbatim, those were the actual words used. It’s been quite a journey, but I am still here.
TN: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Black man in the beauty industry?
Andrico: Breaking down stereotypes and bringing in more guys to follow my lead. We can do this type of work as well. I love having fun conversations with customers and listening to good music and having a good time while I give a great service. Getting your nails done or pampering yourself should not feel like work. It should be fun and relaxing, and I would like to provide that atmosphere along with helping to create jobs.
TN: What advice would you give to those looking to start their own small business?
Andrico: Do your research! Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and also understand that success does not come easy. Money may not come within the first two years, so be prepared. Don’t cut any corners. Do what you can do for free, as well as get your LLC and your EIN number. If you fail, get up and try again. Failure equals success with the right mind set.
You can learn more about Andrico Thompson and Manny’s Nail Spa here.