Firmly at the forefront of the green revolution, Australian-born, NYC-based Kim D’Amato is the proud owner of Priti, the first all-organic nail spa in NYC. What started as a personal mission to lead a healthier lifestyle during pregnancy has now turned into a huge business with a growing line of polishes and a celeb fan base that includes A-listers such as Lady Gaga, Stella McCartney and Natalie Portman. Kim shares her story and advice on going green.
Tell us how Priti NYC came about . . . When I was pregnant with my daughter, I realised that there was no place to go to beautify myself that was not laden with chemicals. I had started eating organically and, like every new mother, became aware of a new life inside of me and was worried for the health of my unborn child. I frequented a nail salon which was so chemical, I thought why can we not beautify ourselves without all this. So I set about doing so. In 2004 I started New York's first organic spa, Priti. I built the spa sustainably and as green as I knew how to at the time. We used local builders and found materials to create the custom-built furniture. We had handmade wooden bowls as pedicure bowls and we used biodegradable slippers and green cleaning products. We basically tried to keep it as green as we could.
Keep reading . . .How did the now-cult nail line come about? Finding polish was a problem so I decided to create my own line. And voilà Priti NYC polish was born. We have no toluene, no dbp, no camphor and no dbp, all of which are linked to many health problems. All of our products are packaged in apothecary-style recyclable bottles and we also set up a recycling program with Chemwise, where you just send your old bottles off to be recycled.
Tell us about the famous soy nail polish remover. As the spa succeeded, the demand for the polish grew. I had heard about soy being a new source of remover and worked with a lab to create what we now have, which is our sixth creation — the cleanest and greenest. We have just turned them into wipes that are biodegradable as well, and the remover carries the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stamp of approval, making it the first of its kind to do so.
What celeb fans have you picked up along the way? Fans include Natalie Portman, Alicia Keys, Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga and many of the supermodels. We sponsor Fashion Week here in NYC and Paris and last season custom-mixed for 22 designers, such as Stella McCartney, Tommy Hilfiger, Thakoon and Proenza Schouler. So we're constantly adding to the line and creating new colours.
What do you say to people wanting to go green? I often tell my clients, when you finish what you use just try a greener alternative. It's now only a few dollars difference because the demand and the availability of greener, cleaner and healthier choices.