All the Single Ladies

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?


Liz Ashley

Ashley Alwin Hair & Nail Salon, Grayslake, Ill.

I found out I was pregnant while I was attending nail school. I was 22 years old, working part time at Victoria’s Secret and living with my then-boyfriend and father of my child. I finished nail school in four months and started working at one of the top nail salon/day spas in town. I was six-and-a-half months pregnant and starting my career. I booked my clientele in record speed, had top retail sales in the salon, and was promoted to assistant nail manager of 12 nail techs. Then I gave birth to my daughter, and my life really changed. I went back to a 40-hour workweek when my daughter was only three weeks old. I had a lot of help from my parents and my sister. When she was 7 months, my boyfriend and I split up, and I moved in with my parents for three months before I was able to get my own place. My mom would pick up my daughter and watch her until I got out of work. To this day, my daughter goes with my parents after school on Friday and stays with them overnight and all day Saturday so I can accommodate clients.

After a lot of hard work, I am now a co-owner of my own salon. The road was bumpy, but I can proudly say we run the only green salon in Lake County, Ill. We have been open for over three years and are still growing. Now that I am an owner, I finally have the luxury of adjusting my schedule so I can pick up my daughter from school to spend more time with her. I could not have continued my career if it were not for my family. My relationship with my daughter would not be the same if I had her in daycare all the time. My family has been a huge help since she was born.


Bri McCloud

Cloud Nine Nails, Athens, Tenn.

I was married for six years to a man who never supported my choice to work as a nail tech. We split when my son was 5 months old, and I moved in with my parents until I could get into public housing. I knew I had to find a way to support myself, and since I had been told I couldn’t make any money doing nails, I believed it, so I got a job at the Dollar Store. This was a terrible time in my life. I was in public housing, working at the Dollar Store; I couldn’t make ends meet, and I ended up losing my car. My ex called me and said now that I have a “real” job, maybe we could try again. I don’t know what happened at that moment, but that was when I decided I was going to be successful at doing nails. I called the salon where I had worked and they took me back. I went back to the salon during prom season, which is big around here, and I was able to work 40-50 hours a week. I saved money like crazy until I could get a two-bedroom apartment that wasn’t much better than the projects, but it was better. Then I kept saving. Eventually, I was able to move into an even better place. I kept working and saving and two years ago, I was able to open my own business in my own space.

One thing that helped me grow my business was offering something new and different. I didn’t have money for classes, but I would learn techniques on YouTube and offer them to my clients. My life is different now; I’m remarried and I run a successful business. It was hard, but I had a lot of support. My mom and my in-laws helped me a lot, not just with my son, but with food and with money. The salon where I worked was very helpful and accommodating to me. There are so many people who helped me. Without their support, I couldn’t have done it.

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