The Pretty Behind The Polish: Polish Bar Brooklyn’s Tricia Lee Chats With Coco+Creme


Brooklyn, New York’s first nail bar, Polish Bar Brooklyn is celebrating five fab years of helping women get pretty– and polished. Owner Tricia Lee Riley, opened Polish Bar after working for MAC Cosmetics for eight years ending up in store management and retail operations, a skill that would come in handy.

Tricia Lee was kind enough to chat with Coco+Creme about her signature nail color, favorite nail tips and nail trends that she can’t get enough of for fall. Oh, and guess what? We’re giving away a $50 gift certificate to Polish Bar Brooklyn to celebrate this fab 5 anniversary!

Coco+Creme: What led you to open a nail salon?

Tricia Lee Riley: In my last two years at MAC, I was in a position that really allowed me to assist with the massive store openings. After getting into the process of it, I saw that I had a talent for opening businesses, getting them off the ground and getting them set up. I kept my Polish Bar ideas written down in a notebook. I’d made up a menu and wrote concept ideas.

C+C: What makes Polish Bar different?

TL: I think the one thing that makes it very different is I came from the number one beauty brand in the country. I was with them at a very influential time. When I started with them my checks were hand-signed by the president of the company and when I left the company it was a household name. There wasn’t anything that I didn’t learn during that time doing retail operations and expansions at MAC. I think that has really helped me with certain skills that I bring to the business and it shows. It shows in the way that the store looks and the experience clients get in the store. I mean, everyone loves going into a MAC store and the experience it creates in addition to purchasing your products. That’s the culture that I come from. It’s definitely infused in everything that I do, because it’s almost the way I was raised, you know?

Also, the connection of the salons to the neighborhood is important from being a chic hangout out for the neighborhood people to the artwork in the bar. The organizations that we work with and co-brand with have a really strong presence in the neighborhood of the store. We’re definitely where beauty meets trendy in Brooklyn. Our bar is a place that people can walk into and be proud to bring their girlfriend who is visiting New York and run into someone you know: a beauty editor or local celebrity.

C+C: What services does Polish Bar offer?

TL: We have a small service menu. We do natural nails, waxing, our famous brow shaping and lashes and makeup application. I would say we have become known for our ‘trend manicures.’ Nails have become such a big part of fashion in the last few years. It’s something that we have always represented but it’s just nice that the fashion industry have given nails their place. There’s a nail section in every magazine now. When I first started, I had a Lookbook of nail looks and I used to have to cut the hands off of the models in the fashion spread and try to blow the images up. Now, I can just pull full nail articles. Nails are a huge part of your own personal look, an extension of your personality and style.


(Continue reading the fabulous interview at Coco & Creme…)

Tags: brooklyn