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Rising Stars: Meet Willie Cherry of The Grove

Today we’d like to introduce you to Willie Cherry.

Hi Willie, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
My story is a bit strange, sometimes boring, usually slightly mystical, and, above all, random. I am a creative person who has always enjoyed crafting an experience for others. I find rough magic through the repetition and refinement of small, meticulous tasks.

I have lived many lives and have imbibed music, hospitality, performance art, soap and candle making, sculpture restoration, cosmetology, and I even hosted a cabaret for a few years. I spent several years traveling internationally for work with my partner Nic before relocating to STL in January 2019 with the idea of opening a space to provide thoughtfully-curated, hyper-natural nail services. After everything that has happened over the last couple of years, I was finally able to open The Talon with Nic in March of 2022.

The Talon is a private nail boutique founded on the core principles of the growth, care, maintenance, and artistry of natural nails. My creative background, nomadic lifestyle, and pursuit of the perfect capsule wardrobe are some of the concepts we explored when envisioning and designing The Talon. I was both fortunate and cursed to come of age during the apex of reality TV, obsessed with personality-driven narratives and perspectives, allowing me to mine the innate human search for validation and fame through the development of personal style and adornment.

True to its inspired ethos, The Talon offers greener treatment options and nail care education based on healthy, nourishing principles imbued with conscientious creativity. The Talon crafts many of its natural products in-house with a minimal and intentional list of ingredients. Our aesthetic rests somewhere between tritagonist Lydia Deetz and the film Blade Runner, admittedly fairly niche. Complementing our increasingly visually-driven culture, I have created something that feels like an escape from the everyday that parallels and manifests our digital fantasies into realities.

I have been in the beauty industry for over a decade, and so much has changed. The influences are global, and thanks to the internet, every aspect of the craft is visualized and dissected with a level of scrutiny that obscures the mystery. I choose to focus on the magic, which is the human connection-until robots take over, which I keep waiting for, but until then, I’m sticking with this.

The Talon and I are eternally evolving, and change is inevitable. I’d love to hang out with you there, whether to consider our existence and what it all means or sit in silence and have an ASMR experience.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The Talon was created during a time of global anxiousness and trauma-which is why I chose to have it be a private space with only one guest at a time. Starting a new service-focused business right now is not easy. This is why we’ve decided to use cleaner and greener alternatives to the traditional fare, including considered nail polish lines, pipeless pedicures, and our own line of products, offering guests confidence that the the process will be gentle, natural, and free of synthetic fragrances. The existential uncertainty of life informs my mission, which is to make a person’s life a little less stressful and have them emerge from The Talon happier and a little more grounded.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role you feel it’s played for you?
My path to St Louis dabbled in luck, fate, and shifting narratives along the way. I am always willing to roll with what life offers, and although I wouldn’t say I particularly enjoy change, I transition often. Where my life lies now, all feels like it has slipped into place. Perhaps it’s been made through conscious choices; perhaps it’s luck. I’m not sure, and that’s okay.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
John Harder, Willie Cherry, Nic Cherry

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