“I wasn’t happy in the salon I worked in so every day I put $20 away and my step-sister Andrea Conde — a cosmetologist — also started to put $20 a day away,” says Christina Litster. “
Christina Litster (right) and Andrea Conde knocked down a wall to expand their new salon.
Nail tech Christina Litster was fighting depression when she enrolled in beauty school in 2008. Her mother had been killed months earlier at the hands of a drunk driver and this was her way of moving forward. “I got my license in October 2008,” says Litster. “I wasn’t happy in the salon I worked in so every day I put $20 away and my step-sister Andrea Conde — a cosmetologist — also started to put $20 a day away.” The two saved until they had $1,600. “We found a location for our own salon eight months into saving but it needed a lot of work. I negotiated until I got the lease on the building and auctioned off my services on Facebook starting at $40 (women would bid for me to do their nails).”
Litster gradually raised the money to buy furnishings — one nail desk and hydraulic chair at a time. “We redid the floors of the salon, painted, and even knocked down walls all on our own,” she says. “We had volunteers and received donations to help. We had a barbecue, a craft sale, bake sale — everything and anything we could to raise money to open the salon. It became our new passion.”
The salon, Effess Salon in Clovis, Calif., has been open for more than a year. “I couldn’t be happier or prouder. Most importantly I am no longer depressed,” she says. “The salon has been successful from day one and it has never cost me one penny out of my personal pocket. My step-sister and I are going to continue to make this salon our passion.”