When Carmen Gonzalez-Banda first opened Salon 5 Estrellas in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, in 2003, she had no plans to start an assistant program. But she had two out-of-work friends and a big heart, so she offered to train them in nails. (Puerto Rico doesn’t require a nail license.) First she trained her two assistants to do all the prep work while she applied the enhancements and did nail art. In time, the novice techs were ready to handle the entire service, so they moved on to their own clientele and two new trainees took their place.
“Having an assistant is very helpful for all of us,” says Gonzalez-Banda. “First, we can accommodate more clients in less time. Second, for the assistants it’s an easy way to start in the business without much pressure. They have a mentor who helps them and they still earn money.” The customers are also at ease receiving services from the trainees once they take on their own clientele since they are already familiar with them.