"People don't normally follow their dreams," said Victor Thompson, owner of Green Toes, an eco-friendly, organic and vegan mani-pedi studio and day spa.
But that's what he and his wife, Christina Rossetti Thompson, did - literally.
The business was born after a dream Rossetti Thompson had one night while she slept. "I dreamt that I needed to slow down," she says on her website. "I needed to create a place where I and others could find our calm."
She said the entire concept, from the name of the studio to the practices the business employs, was portrayed in that dream.
The studio opened in October in a renovated house that was built in 1905.
The studio boasts of being eco-friendly and uses only vegan and organic products. The smell and atmosphere of the studio are clean, chemical free and relaxing.
"What initially attracted me to them (Green Toes) is that they are, as the name suggests, 'green,' " said Judy Hollingsworth, a client. "They use all organic products."
SpaRitual is Green Toes' polish of choice. It's a vegan nail lacquer that is described as free of DBP, toluene, formaldehyde and formaldehyde resin.
Green Toes does not use traditional nail polishes, even if a client brings her own. Thompson said Green Toes holds firm to the policy of using only vegan products and does not want to subject clients to the harsh chemical smells of other polishes.
The nail-polish remover used most by Green Toes is acetone- free. It is made of essential oils and sugar-derived solvents. Only when a client comes in already wearing traditional nail polish is acetone remover used. Even so, Thompson said, it's mostly made of vitamin E oil and doesn't have a chemical smell.
Denese Bottrell, a health counselor who moved to Tucson from California about a year and a half ago, said she had been looking for a place to get her toes done.
"I do yoga a lot, and I teach yoga," Bottrell said. "So, my toes are kind of in everyone's face. I wanted them to be pretty, but I want it to be a treat and kind of a luxury."
She said Green Toes was exactly what she was looking for. "Everything from the minute you walk in to the girls doing your nails … you just feel like it's your space."
Green Toes' proximity to the University of Arizona helps bring in clients.
"The biggest draw from the university is the teachers," Thompson said. "When one finds out about us, they talk. They like that we're organic and use vegan products."
Rossetti Thompson has since become ill with multiple sclerosis and is unable to work in the studio. So it's been up to her husband to keep it going.
"I try to keep to the vision she had, since it's such a great idea," Thompson said. "I saw the potential, and the clients … enjoy coming in here."
He said he plans to expand. The goal is to have a pool, spa or sauna, while keeping the studio style and feeling. "I want it to be a place where people come in and it's comfortable and quiet," he said. "Something people can feel good about going to."
If you go
Green Toes is at 529 N. Sixth Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4137.