Runner-Up: Salon With 9+ Nail Technicians
Location: W. Dundee, III
Owner: Shari Finger
Years in business: 8
Staff size: 8 (8 nail technicians)
Teamwork Is Salon Motto
Years ago, little did Shari Finger know that what she thought was a “piece of cake” job as receptionist in a nails-only salon would develop into a rewarding career as a nail technician/salon owner.
Touting professionalism as its trademark, the staff at Finger's wears lab coats as well as safety glasses. Picutred here (left to right) are Ruth Wilson, Chris Jacson, Kristi Brown, Peggy Brach, Dawn Boudreaux, and owner Shari Finger.
Prior to her stint as a receptionist, Finger was serious computer graphics troubleshooter and thought it would be a lifelong career. “I was on-call 24 hours a day,” says Finger. “When I had my first child, I didn’t want him to grow up in day care so I quit my job.” After three months of not working, Finger got antsy and went to work as a receptionist in a nails-only salon, where she fell in love with nails.
“Ten years ago the only nail class I could find was offered at a local distributor,” says Finger. “There wasn’t even a nails-only school around [Illinois was not licensing nail technicians at that time], so I learned how to do nails by watching the technicians at the salon, then going home to practice on family and friends.”
It only took Finger a year and a half of doing nails until she was ready to open her own business, which she has had for eight years. “I worked in a couple of salons before I opened my own and I saw lots of turmoil and competition among nail technicians,” says Finger.
With its warm, relaxed decor, Finger's Nail Studio provides a homey atmosphere for clients. Here, barstools and nail dryers await newly polished nails.
It’s ironic, then, that the reason Finger nominated her W. Dundee, III., salon in the Nail Salon of the year with 8+ Nail Technicians category is because of the magnificent teamwork of her employees.
“It took me a while to finally build a great team of nail technicians. I’ve learned that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch,” says Finger. “We believe that we’re stronger as a group than we are as individuals. We’ve won a lot of individual awards and now this award is for my staff, recognizing what they do every day.
“Becoming a finalist was an honor, but at the same time I was completely baffled,” says Finger. “I felt like we were such an underdog going in since we’re not a glamorous salon in a glamorous town like Beverly Hills. We’re a cozy salon in a small town.” Which just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s what’s inside that counts.