Rate The Start-Up: Fish Pedicures

July 22, 2008 by

Here’s your chance to be judgmental without the guilt. Rate this start-up idea: a salon in the Washington DC area is offering its customers a new kind of pedicure. A, er, fish pedicure. Because of health concerns and state regulator’s scrutiny regarding the use of razors to exfoliate (translation: scrape dead skin off customer’s feet), entrepreneur John Ho decided to branch out his pedicure business. He’d heard of fish that eat dead skin—garra rufa, or the doctor fish—that are popular in Asian countries and brought them in to exfoliate client’s feet, sans razor blades.

Having a hard time imaginging it? Here’s how it works: customers dip their feet in large vats holding more than 1,000 of the tiny, guppy-sized fish. That’s when the (toothless) fish get to work nibbling on women’s feet. No word yet on what health officials have to say about that, though.

The real kicker is that while it sounds supremely weird and frankly gross, it apparently works. One woman interviewed by MSNBC said that it was “the best pedicure I ever had,” while others raved as well. 15 minutes with the fish costs $35, and a half hour will set you back $50.

Here’s our question: what do you think of these novelty-type businesses? Certainly like any other start-up, they’re launched in response to demand and a problem in the market (state regulators’ issue with razors in this case)—so are they any less legit? And do they really work long term (anyone had Dippin’ Dots recently)? More importantly, what’s your take on this company’s concept?

Ours? Ew.


4 thoughts on “Rate The Start-Up: Fish Pedicures”

  1. There are so many things I could do with $35. Dipping my feet into a vat of little fish will not be one of them, fabulous pedicure or not. While I’m all for novelty businesses, this particular one makes me throw up in my mouth a little while thinking about it.

  2. First of all, I will not be paying $35 for any fish — or anything for that matter — to eat my dead skin cells. Nasty.

    Second of all, the lady in the middle of this picture is enough to make me not want to get one of these. She looks like she is terrified of what she is witnessing.

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