Savvy Salon: Sparkle San Francisco

Owner Mia Rubie welcomes NAILPRO to Sparkle San Francisco located in San Francisco, California.

Courtesy oF SPARKLE SAN FRANCISCO
Courtesy oF SPARKLE SAN FRANCISCO

The Backstory

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.

Continue reading about Sparkle San Francisco's unique aesthetic, signature services and more in the September/October 2021 issue of our digital magazine. 

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