This week's Nails of New York spotlights Lisa Chu, co-founder of Team Epiphany, a branding agency specializing in strategy, event production, social media, and public relations. Starting the brand with her husband Coltrane Curtis, she has revolutionized advertising by focusing on influencer campaigns, extremely creative events, and high-engagement tactics to build a brand. With clients like Nike, Google, and HBO, they are at the forefront of all things cool.
With all of her career success, the most special part of Lisa's story is her devotion to her five-year-old son Ellington, who is known around NYC and Brooklyn for his street style (think rare Jordans and Saint Laurent jackets). Both Lisa and Coltrane's most important thing in their life is their family– Lisa wears a locket with photos of her mother and has her son's artwork all around her office. Read more to learn about how a mani helps her feel relaxed and more professional and how she often bonds with Ellington over nails.
Can you tell us a little bit about Team Epiphany?
Team Epiphany is an award-winning, full-service consumer marketing agency specializing in strategy, event production, social media, and public relations. We're known for our innovative approaches to millennial, multicultural, and influencer engagement. I oversee the operations and experiential departments, and some of my favorite clients include Nike, Google, and HBO.
The best part of the job is working with my friends and family. My business parter is also my husband (co-founder Coltrane Curtis) and our vice president of new business is my cousin (Valerie Chiam). I love coming to work because of the people here. Every job has its ups and downs, but it's the people who help you through them!
What is it like working with your husband?
Working with Coltrane is great! We are opposites in terms of our roles at the agency, so while we are technically working together, we don't work on them at the same time. He starts the plan, and I finish it.
When do you get your best ideas?
They are typically random and usually when I'm not even focused on that specific project. I'll tell my team to pitch that idea to our client, and usually they look at me like I'm crazy. But, a few weeks later, someone will want to revisit that idea, and we end up making it happen!
In one word how does a mani make you feel?
When did your son Ellington start painting his nails black?
He started biting his nails when he was four years old. He would always ask if he could get his nails done, so I said we could paint them black if he stopped biting them. It worked immediately. It has turned out to be a great way for us to bond, as my husband also paints his nails with us from time to time.
What is your most embarrassing nail memory?
I had to go to a fancy event and forgot to do my nails beforehand. I had this dark polish that was starting to chip. On the way to the event, I made my husband make a pit stop at Duane Reade so I could run in and get remover to clean up my nails. I smelled like polish remover for the entirety of the night.
How do you choose your designs?
It needs to be something I can live with for at least three weeks. I really cannot stand seeing polish grow out, so I usually pick a design with negative space–that way no one notices when I'm being a little lazy!