Nail art started out as a hobby for me. I fell in love with the unique designs I was seeing on celebrities on TV and magazines around 2008. I could not wrap my head around how they were created. I could not find any salons in my city (San Francisco) that offered the kind of designs I liked…I lusted after the interesting patterns, metallic accents and intricate art.
My curiosity led me on a path to finding a nail art stamping kit I had to order from overseas. Once I figured out how to use it, I was hooked—I changed my nails all the time and went on hunts to find nail art supplies. Soon, people started asking me where I got my nails done, and most were surprised when I told them I did them myself!
One day, a colleague at my former employer mentioned she would pay me to do hers, and that is where the lightbulb went off. If someone was willing to pay me for something I love to do and was passionate about, why was I not doing it? I graduated from college with a business degree and a concentration in entrepreneurship a few years prior but had felt lost in terms of what kind of business I wanted to start. Doing nails and focusing on nail art professionally checked all the boxes used to evaluate business ideas: "Is it rare, hard to imitate and [does it] fill a void in [the] marketplace?" Check, check and check.
Long story short, I decided to take the plunge and find a beauty school that offered night classes to get my manicurist license. About a year later, I was licensed, found a tiny studio to rent in a multipurpose business space, and slowly, the clients came knocking. Then once the word got out that a girl was doing cool gel nail art, the knocks got louder and came faster. Two years in, I had enough business to quit my day job—one of the hardest decisions I have ever made because I loved the company I was working for.
Over the course of the last nine years, I have expanded the salon to a bigger space, regularly work on photo shoots and editorials, teach classes and have kind of become an incubator space for aspiring nail artists to launch their careers.