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Frenchies has celebrities at its feet


Kayla Bramlet, Frenchies training director, at the London West Hollywood helping to land stars.

From Kesha to Idina Menzel, Rachel Brosnahan to Daniela Vega, Frenchies Modern Nail Salon’s Ryan McEnaney has pulled a few strings to land the fledgling nail franchise valuable celebrity endorsements both on and off the Hollywood red carpet.

With a modest budget but a well-connected address book from his previous career in the California beauty scene, McEnaney, franchisee and corporate communications manager, started working his phone to line up celebrity connections and raise the profile of the four-unit franchise, while also providing priceless junkets for employees elated to be jetted out West for some celebrity face time.

“We started with the Golden Globes and ended up working with Rachel Brosnahan who was nominated and won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy,” he said of the recent awards season push. “For our first appearance to be with a winner and a film nominee was pretty incredible.”

After the Globes, Frenchies continued its celebrity tie-ups by doing nails for film star Lesley Manville, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Phantom Thread,” and Chilean actress Daniela Vega who made Oscar history as the first openly transgender woman to present at the Academy Awards.

“That was really, really great to be a part of and help her feel beautiful walking out onto the world stage for the first time,” McEnaney said. “This was her first acting role, her first time at the Oscars and having such a monumental moment where she was the first trans person ever to be on that stage was really sort of otherworldly to be a part of.”

Attracting limelight has been a keystone of the Frenchies marketing plan from the get-go. In his early days as one of its first franchisees, one of his technicians did the nails of famed singer, songwriter and actress Kesha, which was the brand’s first big fish.

McEnaney said it’s been particularly meaningful for him as the brand’s communications expert and a franchisee to extend opportunities to employees at his two salons in the Twin Cities. Aside from the PR boost from celebrity endorsements and tagged Instagram posts, involving staff members in the process is a major part of the appeal for a brand seeking to elevate the status of the nail care industry.

Rachel Brosnahan

Rachel Brosnahan received a Frenchies once-over, then won a Golden Globe.

Authentic media mentions provide soft benefits to the brand and its individual locations, but big-name connections also resonate with the brand’s customers—especially from the staff members who’ve worked directly with celebrities.

“I was in the studio the day after Natalie worked with Kesha for the first time,” McEnaney said of one of his first employees. “I was bragging to everyone about her, and they’re like, ‘Oh my god, you saw Kesha and now you’re doing my nails?’ They’re telling all their friends, so there’s definitely those benefits to the brand as well that help the studio’s growth.”

Back in the Midwest, McEnaney’s third role is his actual full-time job managing PR for his family nursery business. For whatever concept he’s repping in a jam-packed schedule, he has fostered relationships with local radio, TV and magazine personalities to attract earned media appearances and first-person stories.

Asked how other brands can leverage their own star power, he said getting support of the franchisor is the key.“That is the big thing,” he said. “We now have the opportunity to show people with only four units open that we truly are changing what it means to be a nail technician in this country.”

McEnaney said building and maintaining contacts with celebrities and media personalities is simply the result of an “intentional” mindset where you do whatever it takes to be genuine and stay in touch with previous contacts—not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“If it doesn’t come naturally, then it can be as simple as setting a reminder in your Outlook for three months down the road” to keep the relationship alive, he said. “Be tactical about it, but still personalized, because that’s what’s going to grow the relationship.”

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