Richmond-based LeChat honored for export award; may open another city facility


A Richmond-based supplier of nail products for salons and spas throughout the world was honored with a city proclamation Tuesday after winning a U.S. Department of Commerce award for exports.

LeChat Nail Care Products, owned by Newton H. Luu, who employs nearly 50 people at three Richmond manufacturing facilities, earned the Presidential “E”Award for Export Service Success at a May ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The company, founded 23 years ago, exports nail products to more than 40 countries and was one of 123 U.S. companies to receive the award, which honors contributors toward U.S. export expansion.

Richmond councilman Nat Bates called Luu an asset to Richmond.

Luu was grateful for the proclamation and thanked his “hardworking” employees and his wife and two daughters for their support. He also credited a positive relationship with the city over the years for his company’s success.

He said he was 14 when he came to the U.S. with his family. He eventually got a job  delivering newspapers, where he “learned ethics and commitment,” he said.

He then opened a nail supplies store where he went door to door, refusing to leave unless he sold at least 25-cents worth of product. In 1993, Luu developed the history making Powder Gel® nail system and created the first color gel polish the following year, the city said.

In 1997, he won a contract to paint the nails of horses for the Ringling Bros. Circus. He used $40,000 he earned from that work to purchase his first Richmond facility to produce nail products. He later opened two more properties in the city to increase production capacity and also has a site in Hercules.

“We are proud to make our product in Richmond and ship to all over the world,” Luu said. “I hope that Richmond will be my home for a long time.”