Courtesy of Belava
Co-founder and COO of Belava Natalie Zolotnik shares her passion for the industry.
- What inspired you to join the professional nail industry?
“The professional nail industry was just beginning to bloom, and it was obvious there was a need for better quality equipment, supplies and furniture. We were excited to bring our ideas to fruition. Our entire company worked hard to build our brand and bring new products to the industry.”
- When and how did you get started in your career?
“After the 2000 mycobacteria outbreak, the national CDC tested 30 footbaths in 18 nail salons from five California counties and found mycobacteria in 97% of them. As a result, state and federal regulators and health officials started adopting stricter regulations on nail salon sanitation practices to protect customers from dirty whirlpool footbaths that can harbor dangerous bacteria. We knew we could offer the industry a safer, cleaner way to perform pedicures.”
- As a female leader/professional, what are some obstacles you experienced, and how did you overcome them? Have you confronted gender-related roadblocks in your career?
“When the industry started, men held the highest positions on the leaderboard. There were only a handful of women who held a position of leadership within their companies. Women began to challenge the industry standards and themselves, which led more women to leadership and influence in our industry.”
- How can women support other women in this industry?
“It is important to have a mentor, be a mentor and network. We all gain by sharing our ideas and through mutual support.”
- Tell me about another woman who has inspired you.
“Deborah Carver was a strong leader who held the highest ranks as a promoter of the nail industry growth, pioneer of the nail show competitions and publisher of numerous salon-specific publications.”
- What is one thing you know now you wish you would have known when you started in this business?
“Nothing moves as quickly as expected. It takes a lot of patience to make a better product.”
- What other key learnings and practices do you wish to share with other professionals?
“Always ask your client what they want before you speak about your products or services. Then be honest and helpful with them and everyone you meet. Be attentive to industry trends and new regulations. Keep learning through continued education, industry media channels, publications, trade shows, conferences and networking.”