Rebecca Maret Sawhney

Five years out of BC Law finds me in the most obvious post-law school position: at a nail salon! Yes, it’s a natural segue. But it wasn’t always so obvious to me.

Step One: After graduating from BC Law, I eagerly joined a firm in NYC as a litigation associate, became a member of both New York and New Jersey bars (firm-required), and practiced law for a year and a half. I loved the intellectual aspect of my work (I miss it, everyday!) but craved the creativity unique to entrepreneurship. Inspired by several new businesses in and around the beauty industry seeking to overturn old models and make them new, I started poking around the nail industry out of personal curiosity. As it turns out, nail care comprises an $8.5 billion/year industry nationwide, arising out of thousands of corner shops across the country filled with toxic dust, exploitative labor practices, and questionable sanitation standards. I felt like I had found my niche.

Step Two: My husband and I decided to move from NYC to the San Francisco Bay Area so that I could start Marlowe–a new beauty startup endeavoring to reinvent nail care for the better. I was going to change lives! But I couldn’t get a single national retail leasing office to take my calls. Nail salon? No thanks. I learned quickly that success in this industry would require a great deal of reeducation as part and parcel of marketing.

Step Three: I finally cornered an unsuspecting Los Angeles-based leasing office overseeing the development and construction of a brand new, outdoor shopping paseo in Berkeley, Calif., and sold them on the mani/pedi dream. In October 2017, we opened our doors to our first Marlowe store, sandwiched between Lululemon and SoulCycle, which couldn’t be a more perfect fit. We share customer demographics with our retail neighbors, and our clients love our backbone of fair labor standards (health insurance and 401Ks, for starters) and our obsession with clean practices (all disposable tools and hospital-grade sterilization processes). We’ve been open for eight months, already have a team of 15 employees, and struggle to keep up with demand. And low and behold, I’ve had over a dozen calls from leasing offices across California with offers for new spaces.

I miss practicing law. I miss working with other lawyers. But I’ve imported from my experiences at BC Law and private practice a passion for obsessive research, insane attention to detail, and a love for clear and efficient communication.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our reunion this fall, and I would love to see some familiar faces if any BC Law alumni find themselves in the Bay Area!

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