We often hear stories from techs who credit their spouse for carrying the financial burden while they built their nail business. But what if that’s not an option?
Building a successful business requires tenacity, focus, hard work, and long hours. Add to that the responsibility of being a single parent, and the likelihood of success may seem impossible. We heard from techs who played the odds — and won. We hope their stories inspire you as much as they did us.
Lisa Marie Santos
iRock Nails, Crestview, Fla.
I had a dream to do hair and makeup, but it required me to go to school full time. I was a single mom with kids who were 10, 11, and an infant, so I wasn’t able to just quit work. One day my mom told me about a nails-only certification program I could complete in 240 hours. I saw it as a way toward my dream, so I signed up. I worked my retail job during the day, and mom watched the kids while I went to school at night.
When I graduated, I was still working full-time, plus I began doing nails part-time. I eventually left the salon, but stayed in the business by teaching the certification class at the vocational school. I realized I missed the salon and wanted to do nails full time. However, I wasn’t getting child support, and I didn’t have the money to pay for what I needed, plus pay all my bills. So I approached my parents. I said, “God has given me a talent, and I want to use it.” They agreed to help me.
I moved into an empty home they owned, which spared me a mortgage. Then, I worked hard to build my business. My parents helped cover my personal bills, bought products for me when I didn’t have enough money, watched my kids, even paid for me to go to shows. Many times I doubted myself. My girls said I worked too much, and I wondered if I was making the right sacrifices for my family. Eventually, I made a name for myself in my community by offering services clients can’t get at other salons, like rock star nails and embedding. Plus, I provide services that improve the health of the nail.
We struggled, and at times food was scarce, but I knew this was something I wanted to do. It was hard work, and I couldn’t have done it without my parents, but it’s been worth the struggle.
Perfectly Polished, Tuscan, Ariz.
My mom had been a nail tech, so it was natural I would choose a career in nails. I attended school in 1985, but quickly dropped out because I was bored. I had learned more from my mom than they were teaching at school! Life went on; I found a job outside the industry, got married, and had a son. When my son was three, my husband and I divorced, and I moved in with my mom. In 1996, my dad passed away. The money I received as an inheritance was enough to pay for school, plus cover my personal expenses so I could attend full time. I was done with school in only six weeks. When I graduated, I went right to work. I started off in a small salon, but quickly moved to a larger one with walk-in business. I built my clientele there, but the salon was mismanaged and it closed a year and a half after I started. Today, I rent a room in a salon with an esthetician and a masseuse.
It was really hard to build a successful business as a single parent while trying to pay all the bills. I am very thankful that my family was there to help … especially my mom. Though I didn’t get child support, I am grateful I did have help. I was able to get state assistance to cover childcare during the day, then either my mom or my uncle would watch my son in the evening so I could build my clientele. I would tell anyone in my position to make sure they have a really good support network. Plus, work in a salon with good walk-in clientele so you build your business faster, because building a clientele does not happen overnight!