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?
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.
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.