(Jenessa Davis, owner of FANESS)
The 1980s and ’90s saw many innovations in Black fashion. From hair to accessories and clothing, this time period serves as a renaissance for African American expression. Nail designs became another facet of Black fashion. As time surges forward, nails remain a large part of African American fashion and it does not seem it will fade out. One local nail technician is opening up a new nail gallery and bringing a touch of “FANESS” with her.
Jenessa Davis began her nail journey in 2020. With a career as a cosmetology instructor, Davis created an avenue to become a traveling editorial nail artist in New York before returning to Detroit where she began work as a solo artist with her own salon. Working with each client, Davis is able to create one-of-a-kind nail designs with the help of her patrons.
“The creative process starts with each client sitting down and I kind of just dig deeper into finding out their style, what kind of patterns, colors, things they don’t like, what they’re inspired by — because I really want to pull out their own characteristics and their way that they express art and then I go and add that finesse to it,” said Davis.
Now, Davis has plans to grow her field even more. Combining nails with art, Davis has launched her nail gallery, Faness. More than a nail salon, Faness will infuse aspects of the art world from local, national, and international artists and provide them a platform to showcase their works.
“I wanted to create more of an immersive experience between the client and the artists. I want to really bridge that gap between the nail world and the art world,” said Davis. “I want to bring actual art residencies into the salon with actual artists.”
With “Faness” Davis plans to give clients a unique nail experience while introducing them to a new realm of culture. Though nail art will serve as the base, Davis empowers patrons to be artistically free through their designs.
“We look into the dreams and desires to paint personal and unique nail designs. We are creating an immersive space and experience where both client and customers can feel inspired and creative,” said Davis. “I want to make sure people know how to express themselves by letting their nails be their canvas.”
In addition to growing art culture around Detroit, Davis intends to use Faness as a launching ground for her team. With plans to keep her team small, not extending beyond six nail artists, Faness will also provide nail technicians with the opportunity to learn and grow into their own lanes.
“I feel great about teaching and educating my employees to be profitable and sustainable. Giving them the tools they need to grow and become independent on their own. I think oftentimes we think about a turnover rate, but I think about my growth rate,” said Davis. “It feels good that they are growing fast and if they’re learning it lets me know that I’m doing my job well and walking in purpose, which is to improve, build and inspire, exceed and succeed. It is everything I would ever hope someone would do for me.”
More than a nail gallery, Faness will serve as a female sanctuary. Davis will also use the gallery to educate patrons on nail care and exercise expert customer service through communication.
“There’s no education around health, that’s the most important part, getting people into healthcare with their nails and creating an experience also,” said Davis. “
The Faness nail gallery is located in the heart of Detroit’s Old Redford neighborhood at 22000 Grand River Avenue. Strategically choosing the location, Davis wants to embrace the Black experience and local business owners for allowing her into the space.
“I was really looking for an area that was all women, Black women, of course. I wanted to see my people. I wanted it to be placed in that culture,” said Davis. “I want it to be community-based and I wanted to make sure that the people that were letting me lease the building actually cared about me.”