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?


Lynn Luu

Shine Nail Bar, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Ever since I can remember I’ve been obsessed with everything to do with nails. After graduating high school in 1999, I received my nail license and learned the trade as a hobby, never thinking it would turn into a career. I went on to study human resources and eventually became a full-time housewife and mom. In 2010, my marriage ended, leaving me a single mom without a job or career. I had to go back to the drawing board.

Growing up in a family whose only answer to a future career was to own a business, my gut feeling told me this was the next step. I decided to do this not only to give my daughter a future, but to rebuild myself and to gain my independence again. I thought back to what I enjoyed and was passionate about, and it was nails! My vision was to create a luxurious yet affordable nail salon that was trendy, sleek, and girly. The only option I had for capital to open the salon was to sell my home and take the leap of turning my vision into reality.

Shine Nail Bar launched in April 2011. Six months later we won “best nail salon” in our city. In October 2012, I was nominated for “Young Entrepreneur of the Year.” The success did not come without obstacles, especially the responsibilities that come with being a single parent. Juggling it all wasn’t easy, but my daughter and I have been extremely fortunate to have a great support system. Long hours working to train staff, and building the business meant Alyssa spent a lot of time with friends and family.

In addition, the staff at Shine provides support. All the ladies who work at Shine are single parents, so sometimes we take turns on days off to pick up the kids to save on after-school care.


Christel Weixelman

Julep Nail Parlor, Seattle, Wash.

I moved to Albuquerque with my husband and daughter when I was 24. I went to school full time and earned my degree in five or six months, but even in school I knew my marriage was in trouble. After graduation I began my career in a salon where I was able to split booth rent with another student, but within three months, my husband and I split. I left Albuquerque to move back in with my parents in Alaska. It was definitely hard to make it as a single parent, but I had a lot of help from my parents, and I did get some aid from the state.

In Alaska, I got a job doing nails at JC Penney, which offered health insurance and provided walk-ins. I worked around the hours my daughter was in school, and my parents watched her on weekends. I stayed with my parents for only three months before I moved to Anchorage, which is about a half-hour away. There I shared an apartment with a friend of my dad’s who was also a single mom. My roommate and I would help each other out during the week and my parents would take my daughter from Friday afternoon until Sunday so I could work at the salon over the weekend. Five years ago, I asked for a transfer to Seattle, where I had friends. I quickly found Julep Nail Parlor and was able to build my clientele quickly. At this point I make a comfortable living at Julep, and I have the financial flexibility to work  less than full time so I have more time with my daughter.


Tania Rice,

Certified Esthetics, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

My son was 2 years old when I started esthetics school. It was very difficult: Every month I paid $770 for child care, over $200 for utilities, and $750 for rent. I received $950 every month from a student loan, way less than what I needed. Plus, it took a while to even begin receiving the loan money. I saved every single penny from the job I was working while in school. After I ran out of that money, I sold the clothes and toys my son outgrew. I also sold extra implements from the esthetics kit I had from school. I had a low-interest credit card, and I racked that up. I paid it off with my income tax return later in the year. I ate at my parents’ house almost every day, and my son’s grandparents made sure he never wanted for anything.

I found a full-time job right after I graduated, and both sets of grandparents helped me by watching my son on evenings and weekends. My friends and family continued to support me by coming to the spa and passing out my cards to everyone they knew. I invited women from the local moms’ group, and they supported me by passing on my information. I also let all the girls at my son’s daycare know I was accepting clients. It was definitely hard to build the clientele and pay my bills and take care of my son, but I had a good support network. The advice I’d give to other techs: Take advantage of family support. If they offer to babysit for you or invite you for supper — accept it! Then remember to say thank you. I clipped a lot of coupons and pinched my pennies, plus I had a lot of support, so I managed. It’s definitely been worth it. I’m so glad I made it, because now I’m the happiest I have ever been.

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A cosmetic treatment for the hands and fingernails that involves cleaning hands and fingernails, trimming and shaping nails, and usually polishing.
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