Hands down, some of the best nail art in the nation is created just off Kent-Kangley Road. The talented team of nail artists at EV STUDIO relocated from far and wide to work for owner Evon Yen Vuong, known around the world for her nail creations.
Walking into the chic studio is a vibe unto itself, with a colorful wall of polish options to your left, lush plants on an accent wall and a row of pedicure chairs that are as comfy as they are swanky (hello, gold-glittered foot tub!).
But the real star here is the show-stopping nail art and the talented stylists who design it. Clients book out months in advance at EV STUDIO for a seat with their preferred nail artist. Whether you're seeking a square shape, coffin, ballerina or stiletto in a medium, long, or extra-extra long, with a specific theme, color palette or upcoming event... if you can dream it, they can do it. Or just let the stylist decide. With their training, creativity and penchant for perfectionism, you won't be disappointed.
Who would be her ultimate client? With no hesitation, Vuong said Cardi B. But added with a laugh, "And the Kardashians, of course."
Vuong says one of her personal favorites came from a client who requested pop art. Although she'd never attempted it before, Vuong took a moment to examine the inspiration, then went to work, coming up with this hand-drawn masterpiece:
The inspiration for this Seattle Refined feature on Vuong and her nail empire started in the unlikely setting of a downtown conference room during a weekly staff meeting. My eyes were drawn to the glistening purple nails of the lady next to me and as I got to know Deanna Cruz over the weeks to follow, I was compelled to share the journey her nails have taken from Florida to Kent.
Deanna let me tag along to her next nail appointment at EV STUDIO, where I learned how she discovered Vuong's salon. The allure of nail art started in high school for Deanna. She went from admiring after-school manicures, to now where she only sees highly-skilled stylists. When Deanna recently moved from Florida to Seattle, she asked her trusted nail source for a recommendation and that's where Vuong re-enters our story, as THE destination for nails in the Pacific Northwest (and beyond).
Deanna experienced Vuong's nail art and was referred to stylist Rachel Tram, known for her attention to every last detail. Deanna admits she tried other nail artists in the area, but couldn't find anyone who compared to the quality of Rachel's creativity and expertise. Deanna is not only a repeat customer but schedules future manicures months in advance, to make sure her nails stay on point.
And what does that look like? Something different every time. Deanna says, "If I let her have complete freedom, I absolutely love what she comes up with." Deanna is a loyal fan of the dry manicure and often returns to her favorite color palette and designs, but Rachel continues to surprise her with elevated sequels.
Deanna says her nails are something she will not compromise on. When I asked Deanna to describe what her nails mean to her, she said it's "a feeling of being put together." She feels more expressive to speak with her hands when they are done. And this particular manicure had a special purpose: Birthday Nails!
Our birthday girl Deanna was thrilled with the outcome of medium-length, coffin-shaped, hot purple, neon pink, hand-painted butterflies with rhinestones. And I left with a brand new appreciation for fingernails.
It turns out that Deanna's glitzy nail art that caught my eye during a staff meeting led to a much more meaningful story. When I first arrived at EV STUDIO, owner Evon Yen Vuong patiently sat with me and answered my simple questions about acrylics and gel. She then explained the difference with her salon is in the quality of products that she personally creates and manufactures in her own factory in Texas, like the rhinestone adhesive for Deanna's nails that never, ever budges.
Vuong went on to explain that her passion for nails has evolved into a passion for training and uplifting future nail artists. She said Rachel (Deanna's favorite stylist), drove from Texas to Washington just for a chance to interview with Vuong. That tenacity paid off and Rachel has been under Vuong's wing ever since. And it's not just Rachel. Vuong now mentors thousands in the Vietnamese community through online nail courses and inspires millions through her social channels.
Aside from her personal success as a salon owner and nail art idol, Vuong says the best part of her job is that "I can help people find their passion" and improve the nail industry with the quality of her work and products.
Her mentorship is also changing lives. Vuong saw an opportunity near her salon for a new restaurant and is helping some of her team realize their dream with opening "XO Pot & Bowl," serving Asian fusion and hot pot dishes.
Vuong's heart for her team glistens as much as the bling on your next manicure. Just remember to book well in advance!
- Learn more about EV STUDIO or call: 253-993-1502
- Follow EV STUDIO on Instagram
- Follow Evon Yen Vuong on Instagram
- Follow Rachel Tram on Instagram