Michelle Penfold Hartford — Absolutely Fabulous!


Coco Chanel once said that a woman should be classy and fabulous. So true, but the greatest gift in life is friendship.This is not only a post to talk about Michelle Penfold Hartford from Carleton Place and her new business, but also about the 13- year-old-friendship between her and Dee Ward from Appleton. Together, they reminded me of the AbFab duo Edina and Patsy– they are that animated together.

Dee was getting her nails done the day I interviewed Michelle, and so were her twin daughters. I could discuss the technical aspects of her DNA Nail Spa UK business, but I’ll leave that up to Michelle if you visit her her salon in Almonte. After taking one step inside there was no doubt where Michelle was originally from. As I sat there mesmerized, hiding my well worn hands and nails in embarrassment, I would call Michelle nothing but a magician. To be a nail technician these days you have to know all sorts of tricks to keep up with the trends.


Michele has many stories about her life in the Bahamas and America. She was originally a nanny for a year in Georgia like Mary Poppins. While she was living there she also took a nail technician course, and when she went back to the UK she was in high demand as she had been trained in America.

Michelle and her husband immigrated to Canada as they loved the positive vibes of our country. Her husband was a Bobby and easily found work on the Ottawa Police force. Michelle however stayed at home and put her family first until she got the itch to get back into being creative again.

After missing Michelle, Dee and her family came to visit them from the UK and fell in love with Canada. Even though they were separated by miles, Dee and Michelle kept up their friendship.Their fascination and love of our cold Canadian winter baffled me as I heard them talk about it.

Michelle had worked at Mahogany Salon and Spa in Carleton Place and decided she wanted to open her shop. She said as soon as she walked into the empty location at the Heritage Mall she knew it was right. The same warm feeling came over her when she had her shop in Britain for 10 years. Quality products are important to her, and you won’t find any nail polish from China at DNA. She uses Kiara Sky nail-polish and also has some amazing coloured polishes to choose from including: Reaction Gel Polish that changes colour before your eyes.  Everything she uses on feet and hands is tried and tested, and she devotes herself to every customer like she does to her friend Dee.


After a few stories on her work history, Michelle and Dee began began to giggle over a scenario that happened years ago in England. One day a lady came into her shop and asked to have “the works”. At that time no deposits were required. When the time of payment came the woman produced a credit card that kept being declined. Throughout the days procedures she had insisted that her boyfriend was Mel Gibson, and as Michelle said, that should have been warning number 1. Michelle offered all sorts of payment solutions, but the woman insisted she would leave her briefcase and be back with the cash. They opened the briefcase after she left, and it was empty. Michelle thought that was the last she would hear of the woman.  A few hours later the woman showed up with wads of cash to pay for everything, plus gave each technician a 100 pound tip. Was she really Mel Gibson’s girlfriend?  Did a Cadillac pull up on some corner to give this woman hard cash? No one will ever know.

Because of the excellent reputation she has, she was able to sell her salon quickly in the UK before moving to Canada. Michelle wants to open a training academy for nails at her shop and offers the most amazing packages I have ever seen. When I was there high tea was being served with the tiniest scones made fresh from Bob’s Bakery.

micheDee loves Michelle because she is fun, devoted and easy to get along with. She says they will always be lifelong friends and both their husbands share a bromance. Michele loves Dee because she is easy going and joked that Dee knows how to party. The act of building genuine friendships and building a successful business aren’t that different from one another. The goal of friendship is to create a lifetime bond, similar to those with your clients. Michelle treats her business and work like her friendship with Dee. When your business is human, it creates a trust with your customers. And from what I saw, you can count on Michelle to make you happy. After all, one loyal friend and a bunch of great customers are worth ten thousand relatives.


Gel/Acrylic/Shellac Nail Extensions or Natural Manicures and Pedicures in our new Nail Studio in Almonte!

Come and visit DNA and experience professional products and service in a safe and comfortable environment
4 Mill Street, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0

(613) 461-0092




About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. Wow! What a great story for her and for Almonte……again a business that will bring people into Almonte because it is different and entrepreneurial!!!!


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