Sarah Gibson Tuttle on Leaving a Corporate Job Behind to Build a Mani-Pedi Empire

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Sarah Gibson Tuttle, ​Founder and CEO of Olive & June
Courtesy of Sarah Gibson Tuttle

Sign up for dot.LA's daily newsletter for the latest news on Southern California's tech, startup and venture capital scene.

Sarah Gibson Tuttle never thought she’d become an entrepreneur.

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Tuttle talks about ditching her corporate job to become the founder and CEO of an at-home nail care business.

Tuttle founded her company, Olive & June, in 2013, wanting to bring salon quality “mani-pedis” to people at home. The idea came to her when discovering the accessibility of Drybar, a California-based chain of hair salons. Instead of hair, she wanted to do nails.



“I fell in love with Drybar, but I've always been a mani–you know, nail obsess-y. And so I thought I should do some nails. And that's really [when] it really took a life of its own,” said Tuttle.

She took the leap from a decade-long job working in equity sales trading at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan, even though she had little experience in nails. That has people think she was crazy, Tuttle said.

Tuttle felt like she was stagnating at her finance job. She realized she had no intention of running a group or joining management. Eventually, she said, she looked towards Los Angeles.

“I think I was ready for a change. And I had big, bright-eyed ambitions of what L.A. was like… And I think a lot of them came true,” said Tuttle.

She took her life savings and opened her first flagship store.

In Los Angeles, Tuttle found a community that gravitated towards Olive & June as an affordable but luxury brand. She compared her business to L.A. food hotspots like Umami Burger and Ürth Cafe–what she calls ‘elevated’ casual.

Early on, one investor advised her to find local L.A. investors whose wives love Olive & June. She said she didn’t appreciate the suggestions at the time, but later, she saw it come true as she found her investors' wives regularly used the product.

“They might have thought it was a crazy concept,” she said. “But the most important person in their life said, ‘It's amazing. She's amazing, we should do it.’”

Tuttle said Olive & June has so far raised three rounds of funding. She plans to raise prices at her establishments annually, saying she intends for Olive & June to become the gold standard for nail treatment. Observing other brands like Flower Beauty, she said part of that price hike will be to provide more accessibility and higher-quality treatment.

“The point is to be available everywhere,” she said. “So people can be wearing the best quality nails, whether it be polish or press ons for a price that they can afford.”

Tuttle added that seeing people post photos of their manicures made Tuttle realize that her brand now has gone beyond her.

“I am not the fire, the community is the fire,” she said.

Hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA Audience Engagement Fellow Joshua Letona contributed to this post.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Office Hours: Former Lawyer Turned CEO Diankha Linear on Cultivating Community

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

​Diankha Linear
Diankha Linear

On this episode of Office Hours, Community CEO Diankha Linear joins host Spencer Rascoff to discuss her foray into the startup world and the strategic approaching to scaling up.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/spencerrascoff
https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencerrascoff/
admin@dot.la

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Dreamscape, LinQuest and PetDX Gain New CEOs

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Dreamscape, LinQuest and PetDX Gain New CEOs

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

***

Read moreShow less

This Week in ‘Raises’: ADARx Pharmaceuticals Lands $46M, PLAI Labs Scores $32M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: ADARx Pharmaceuticals Lands $46M, PLAI Labs Scores $32M
This Week in ‘Raises’: ContractSafe Inks $27.5M, Deal Box Collects $125M

A local RNA base-editing platform raised fresh funding to advance its drug development pipeline, while a local Web3 company founded by former MySpace and Jam City founders Chris DeWolfe and Aber Whitcomb scored funding to build out an artificial intelligence backed by generative AI that allows users to create and upload their own digital assets to the game.

***

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending