We had the good fortune of connecting with Monique Magnaye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monique, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
I would say one of the values that reign the most important to me and that have really stuck, is to have passion in what you do. I’ve been reflecting on this recently, and I remember this moment from my first real job out of college, setting up a trade show booth for a client that was showcasing their denim line. At the time I was an intern, and this senior merchandiser was showing me how to display the jeans, give it a special cuff at the bottom, make sure it hangs properly, but still effortlessly cool on these vintage hooks we got, etc. As she was showing me all these little details and tricks, she made it a point to express “Every little thing you do, make sure you do it with love because it shows. Even with the jeans, the passion and love you put in matters”. Even though I was really young at the time and kind of secretly rolled my eyes thinking it was a little corny, I still appreciated the sentiment and clearly still do––those words have really stuck! I’ve learned that passion and showing that you care towards business, relationships, community ––these are the things that make the experience and what people remember, especially in business. Passion is what’s going to drive you to give it your all, to make sacrifices, to wake up at 5am with no alarm clock, so excited for the day because you are doing what you love. I’m still working on the 5am no alarm clock thing, but I can genuinely say that my passion for my business has given me the gift of being happy to share what I love with my team and the community we’re building every day.
What should our readers know about your business?
Mano is a nail art salon and boutique hybrid inspired by things done by hand. We are mainly known for our non-toxic nail art services, specializing in a Japanese, vegan soft gel system that promotes and supports healthy natural nails. Our commitment to using high quality, non-toxic, 10-free products is based on our belief that hands deserve the best for all the work that they do. Whether you are a creative, an accountant, a farmer, whatever it may be, if you are fortunate to have working hands it’s safe to say that they are a part of us that we heavily depend on daily! The concept of our space is to have guests treat their hands to a nail art manicure without the harsh chemicals and then explore our retail section of handmade goods that is curated to inspire more creative, purposeful hand use. Our signature Mano nail art collection consists of designs made with a strong play on color theory (we carry over 200 non-toxic Japanese gel polishes) and mixing in unique items like crushed mother of pearl shells, delicate studs and organic shapes. I like to think our collection holds a design for every style. We also just launched our new Mano Collab Collection, which consists of 8 different nail art sets inspired by 8 Black owned businesses. We wanted to launch this collection in an effort to amplify the voices of Black businesses and showcase some of the incredible talent within the community through our craft of nail art. Our talented nail artists can also create any custom look based on your vision and preferences!
The journey of getting to where I am today is definitely composed of many moments of trial and error, crushing goals and of course disappointment, but I believe all of these things are so necessary! My background is in interior design and branding, and while I have worked in several different fields, my gut always told me to stay in the creative realm and find a way to mix in my love for building community and connecting others. After working for a few different small to medium sized companies and always pouring my all into building the brand, the bottom line was that it would never really fulfill me because it wasn’t my own company. Then in the Spring of 2019, everything changed for me after a trip to Cuba and I decided to just invest in myself and learn how to make this idea that had been brewing in the back of my mind a reality. Throughout all the jobs I’ve had in my career, I realized that it was all lead with using my hands, and that I was actually the happiest when I was creating with my hands. That’s really where the idea for Mano was born, and I knew I needed to create a space that celebrated purposeful hand use.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ooh, I’m still learning myself since I’ve only been here for less than a year (I’m originally from NYC) and well, building Mano and then Covid have gotten in the way of really exploring, but I love this question! My favorite days are spent with a picnic at the beach paired with some fixings from my fridge, but recently I’ve been trying to support small and local more than ever, as much as possible. Luckily these small places have honestly become the food I actually rave about in my new home. My go-to’s for take out are empanadas from @empanadas_caliway (DM on Instagram to order), El Bajareque near Midtown, or the freshest tuna tataki from Fish Market MIA. For dinner I love Salumeria104, Michael’s Genuine and Mandolin. For drinks we’d go to Lagniappe, Broken Shaker or the Faena. For a self-care day (so needed right now!) I love Sana for a facial and clean beauty goods, shopping at Boho Hunter and Simonett, and of course a fun manicure at Mano J A spa day at The Standard is always a solid choice too. A night cap on my balcony with some sweets is always nice –– Liger’s cookies, the guava and cheese pastry from Enriquetta’s, and the cookies & cream dulce de leche macaron sandwich from Dbaker‘s Sweet Studio are all insane.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
While I’ve had some amazing mentors in different fields of my career, the two people I will forever give credit to are my parents. I am a product of immigration and of parents who have led with love and toughness in all the right ways. My work ethic, love for culture, travel and understanding is 100% from their example, and the outcome of the sacrifices they made for my brother and me. My family and I are originally from the Philippines, and in our culture it is so common for many parents to heavily push their children to be a nurse, teacher, engineer, something “stable and safe”, almost frightened at the idea of something “creative”. While there is of course nothing wrong with these admirable professions and everyone has different circumstances, I really admire my parents for giving us the space to try different things and work hard towards a career/life that aligns with our passion; always listening and trusting the hundreds of crazy ideas I throw at them.
Nominate someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.