Tough as Nails
Screenwriter Michael Elliot successfully transitioned from the studio tothe salon by opening Hammer & Nails, a fresh take on men’s nail care.
Michael Elliot is nothing short of a Hollywood success story. After selling his first screenplay to 20th Century Fox in 1998 (the cult classic film Brown Sugar starring Taye Diggs), Elliot continued his winning streak, producing films for major Hollywood studios. He also won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture for Just Wright featuring Queen Latifah, in addition to writing a TV movie based on the life of singer Aaliyah. Despite his silver screen success, Elliot had an epiphany that made him realize there was more for him to accomplish—only this time it didn’t involve a movie studio.
“I had been gifted a pedicure, but felt really out of place in the salon,” Elliot says. “I ended up chatting with the only other man who was in there and discovered that he felt the same way. That was when I realized how great it would be if there were a place where men could go and receive hand and foot care without feeling uncomfortable or like they were being judged. I couldn’t find anything like that so I decided to create it.”
Hammer & Nails opened its doors on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, California almost two years ago. With low lighting, oversize leather chairs, personal flat-screen TVs with remotes and the absence of manicure tables, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a nail salon. In addition to launching Hammer & Nails’ product line, which will feature unique scrubs created by manager and “scrub chef” Natasha Ray, another big project on Elliot’s plate is expansion. Ever since the salon was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, the calls have been pouring in from places like Dubai to Germany, with thousands of people interested in opening up franchises across the world. Elliot recently took a break from writing and producing in Hollywood to focus all of his time on franchising, and he expects to open more doors across the country within the year. —Kamala Kirk, West Coast Editor