Our mothers were our first teachers and quite often our best teachers.
Our mothers were our first teachers and quite often our best teachers. And whether they worked inside the home, they helped forge our attitudes about money, relationships, career, family, and community. In this month that we honor Mom, we asked nail techs to tells us what they learned about how to succeed in business from their mothers.
Vicki Lee Gattis, Hair N’ Nails, Columbia, S.C.: My mom was at home until I was in high school, then she took a factory job. She would show up for work no matter what. Her work ethics were great. Every boss she ever had would say they wished there were a hundred of her. My family jokes that will be at work even if I’m on my death bed. So I got that part from mom, and I feel if you don’t have that kind of dedication, you’ve lost the first battle in succeeding.
Tammy Policz, Salon Nail Policx, Waynesburg, Pa.: My mom was a stay-home mom, thank God. I think i learned something more valuable from her than any working mom - i learned how to multi-task. I can do at least four things at once. She also taught me if you want it done right do it yourself, and of course, don’t accept anything less than perfect. Thanks Mom!
Carolyn Fritz, Nail Designs, Ashland, Mass.: The most important things my mother instilled in me for life as well as business success were: 1) always be on time and be courteous to other, 2) customer service is a must, and 3) phone manner is essential. That is, after all, where you make your first impression in business.
Glenda Stephenson, Hair Magic, Inc., Winter Haven, Fla.: My mother was a big influence in my being successful. When I was 12 years old, I worked in my parents’ clothing store. I learned how to market, keep books, wrap presents at Christmas, and cater to customer. My mother’s goal was customer satisfaction - no matter what it took.
When I was ready to open my own salon, my mother took me out and bought everything I needed to get started. She spared no expense, knowing this would help entice people to come. Plus she knew over half the people in the town where I lived. Mother also sold Avon at the time and at every house she went to she told them what a wonderful hairdresser her daughter was. She was so proud. She built my clientele within six months.
I lost my mother on July 27, 2003, and I miss her terribly, but I am so thankful for the legacy she left behind. Mother taught me to be strong and independent and encourage me to take chance. To date, I have owned three salons and all were very successful. I only have one now, but we have a good name and reputation, and of course, catering to customers is definitely a big part of what we do.
I now have two of my sons working with me. They saw how much fun it was and decided to join in. We also compete in hair and nails together around our state. I hope to someday leave the salon to them to run.
April Frank, Digits Professional Nailcare, Rockford, Ill.: My mother had six children and was a wonderful homemaker. She was always busy caring for us and doing odd jobs to make extra money. “Busy hands are good hands,” she always said i think hearing that often helped to make me a hard worker and believe that is one ingredient to a successful and abundant business and life.
Earleen Bennett, Polish Nail Salon, Ashville N.C.: I lost my mother to cancer at the age of 17, a year before I started beauty college. Now at 41, not a day goes by that I do not thank her quietly in my mind for the lessons on life. She knew she would not be there to help me and guide, me so she taught me early to work hard. We grew up on a farm in central California. I learned i could do anything if I set my mind to it and i have. I have had my ups and downs in business, owning four salons in three states over the years and working in countless others. I’ve walked away from each experience having learned from my mistakes, not dwelling on any failures. She taught me to teach others and you will always learn yourself, so i have mentored many nail techs over the years. I am still learning from her wisdom every day as I think, “What would she have done?” Someday i may be as wise as this woman was. If i am very lucky.
Nancy Soltani (left) and her daughter Amber
Nancy Soltani (center) and her mother Bettina (left)
Nanci Soltani, Fandango, Santa Rosa, Calif.: My encourage me to follow my heart into a career and the money would follow. I always got the impression that the important thing was actually my daughter, Amber, who led me into nail profession. Amber knew at a very young age that she wanted to be in the beauty business doing hair. It was after she became a cosmetologist that she encourage me to get my manicurist license. I have definitely followed my heart into a wonderful and exciting career.
Janice Reams, Nails, please! Houston: My mom was a struggling single mom for the most of my years growing up, but she never lacked for employment. She taught me that determination and perseverance can be every bit as important as skill. Mom was big on manners, and so to this day, I even tell my clients “thank you” when they stop in for a nail repair, which is free of charge. I an grateful that they come to me, and I make sure to let them know.
Diana Ahern, InSpa, Seattle: I learned many things from my mother:
1) I come from a very large family and organization was always important.
2) Put needs of others before your own. This is so vital in dealing with clients. It is a message that is felt long before it is heard.
3) Be the bst at what you do. My mother encouraged all of us to be leaders and to try and excel at everything we tackle.
4) Smile! This is a universal greeting and is most welcome by everyone.
Michele Baker and her mom Bonnie Vowell (right)
Michele L. Baker, Cumming, Ga.: When i was in high school we had a cosmetology program that prepared you to take the state board exam by the time you graduated high school. My mother, a salon owner, wanted me to take the program and I responded that I would never work in a salon. Her reply. “Never say never. There is more here than you see.”
When I eventually went to school to get my nail license 15 years later, I still wasn’t sure about working in a salon. Was it for me? Would I succeed? Is there more there really?
Michele Baker (right) and Bonnie Vowell
After 14 years in the industry, I have spread my wings in all direction with accomplishments in competition and runner-up finishes for Nail tech of the Year. I’ve known the joy of having great clients and employers, and working with fellow nail technicians who are friends, supporters, and cheerleaders. I have learned that three is os much more to working in a salon than most people see.
Being a nail tech allows so much creativity and it is more than just doing nails. I am currently attending school to get my instructor’s license, i am a manufacturer;s educator, and I love all that this industry has given to me.
If I would have stuck with the “never” attitude, I would probably be stuck in some boring cubicle, stagnating and dreading what I had chosen as my life’s profession, instead, each day I get up and i am motivated to see what else there is and can’t wait to share I have learned.
My mother knew this industry would bring so much into my life and i thank her for planting the seed that there’s more than meets the eye.