Unwrapping with Michelle Foss

Michelle Foss, Founder and CEO of Archer Nail Bar 

As the founder and CEO of Archer Nail Bar, Michelle is dedicated to helping people look and feel their best. She created Archer, named for Michelle’s twin Sagittarius sons, to be the perfect place to relax and unwind. Michelle turned her dream into a reality with the support of her husband and children when she opened Archer’s first location on Union Street in San Francisco, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes getting a manicure the best experience possible.  

Read on to learn more about Michelle and Archer Nail Bar.

At Poppy Gifting, we are inspired my entrepreneurial women and appreciate learning about their stories. We want to share more stories of founders who want to bring convenience and thoughtfulness to their customers! Would you mind sharing what brought you to start Archer? 

It's actually a little embarrassing! I was pretty obsessed with Soul Cycle and how easy it made working out-- easy to book and pay, formulaic class format and really great people. I thought about what else in my life could be made easier by a little ingenuity and I immediately thought of my bi-weekly nail salon visits. So I set out to make an effortless, enjoyable nail experience for everyone.

I'm sure starting a business at the beginning of the pandemic wasn't intentional (we can certainly relate!)-- how has the experience of opening and running Archer through the challenges that the pandemic presented evolved you as a business owner? 

I did notice we share a business birthday. It was eye-opening for sure. And full of ups and downs. But it definitely taught me a new level of patience and understanding. We had to pivot several times and be flexible throughout. The team has been incredible through the past 2 years and I'm so grateful to have been able to have them by my side every step of the way. 


Opening a second location is such a milestone! How do you measure success when it comes to your salons, customers and personally?

Thank you!! We are measuring success with every new and repeat customer, every nice review and every happy nail artist. With all the twists and turns of this pandemic we're just thrilled with every little step forward. 

You wear many hats-- from motherhood to business owner, how do you find balance in your day? 

There are a few things that are nonnegotiable for me; family dinners at least 5 days a week, walking the dogs with my husband and reading before bed.

The foundation of Archer is "Turning a have to do into a love to do." How does that ethos and optimistic mindset impact the way you run your business and engage with customers?

We are dedicated to making the experience of getting your nails done empowering, effortless and feel-good. So that means we use our technology to make scheduling and payment frictionless, we welcome everyone in as if they're family, use products that we're proud of and would use on ourselves and we give back to the community every chance we get (and with every service!).

The sentiment of our brands is very similar. We are dedicated to brightening someone's day and making our customers feel special-- with ease. How does Archer prioritize this while solving a problem in the market?   

I know how I felt every time I would go to my local nail salon. I would be worried about the wait because there was no way to make an appointment, I was always wondering what products they were using and I had to worry about having enough cash on me to tip. I really wanted to take that guesswork out of the experience. Most importantly we prioritize taking care of the team by offering subsidized healthcare, above market wages and other great perks!

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, how do you plan to show those that mean the most to you how much you appreciate them?  

Honestly, I have really tried in the last few years to do that more on a regular basis. And really appreciate and recognize the people around be for the small things and the bigger things.

The Poppy Wrap-Up

What's your gifting ethos? For a friend or family member, what's your approach to finding the perfect gift?

Gifting is my love language- so I guess my ethos is go big or go home! I love giving gifts and I really like to think about things that people like and find something unique to them that they will love opening. And it's not always something material- it's an experience or a song or a poem or a meal cooked with them in mind.  

What is a gifting moment, whether giving or receiving, that has been especially meaningful in your life? 

A few years ago we surprised our twin boys with a birthday trip to Disney. We didn't tell them we were going and they really had no idea until we pulled into the hotel. Seeing their faces when they realized is one of the best things I've experienced. So much pure joy and excitement! 

Join Poppy Gifting and Archer for our Get Smitten pop-up this Friday! Your one stop shop for self care, sipping, browsing and catching up. Click here to purchase your ticket!