Was your family supportive of your decision to go into the beauty industry? How did their support (or lack thereof) affect your career?
I worked for a software development company. When I started nails my family thought I was crazy. I was a single mom laid off from my job. Back then they told me, “You’re never going to make it,” and now they say, “I can’t believe how busy you are!” I work four days a week, my bills are paid, and I bought a truck.
tiPz, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Definitely supportive! In fact, it was my mom’s idea for me to go to beauty school when I was 15. She knew how much I loved painting and getting my nails done. She took me to the beauty school to enroll and then would get me there in the evenings when she would get out of work, plus she would take me early Saturday mornings! Then years later she paid for me to attend a CND Roadshow. Because of her support, 15 years later I’m still in love with nails and the beauty industry.
Nails by Nicole, Pontiac, Mich.
I didn’t realize that I wanted to go into the nail industry until my family pointed it out. I had always done bookkeeping, and I really liked it. I took some time off of work when I had kids. When my daughter was in kindergarten, she asked me to help her find something to take to school for “Hundreds Day.” She asked me how many bottles of nail polish I had. I told her maybe 20 to 30. She came back upstairs after about a half hour and said, “Actually mom, you have 110 bottles of nail polish! I just counted them.” When my husband heard that he said, “I think I know what your passion is.” So I enrolled in the very next manicurist program. If it wasn’t for the support of my daughter and my husband, I would not have a career that makes me so happy.
Vie Fitness & Spa, Ann Arbor, Mich.
My family was supportive, but it took some convincing to get them on board with my career change. We discussed my going to school for several months, and during those months I heard that it would never work in our smallish community, that people are happy to drive an hour to get their nails done, that no one else had been able to make a go of doing nails in our area, there wouldn’t be any money to be made, etc. We decided to figure out budgets and backup plans in case it didn’t work out. I had inherited enough money to pay for my tuition, but my husband had legitimate concerns about me going from a job with hourly pay and benefits to one that pays commission and tips only. After a few months, my books were full and I was making what I made at my hourly job…some weeks more! I love the flexibility and the fact that I get paid to have fun at work. So, while they were supportive in the end, it took some time to convince them that it would work.
Sara Ann Naaf
Studio 36, Marysville, Kan.
My family was split. My aunt and grandfather whom I lived with at the time were supportive. Having already quit college going into my junior year, my parents said I’d quit beauty school too. Maybe it’s the Taurus in me, but when people tell me I can’t accomplish something, it makes me want to succeed all the more. And after 25 years in the nail business, I’ve proven many doubters wrong. (Plus I finished college when I was in my 30s while working a full- time nail job.)
Jill’s — A Place for Nails, Bowling Green, Ky.
Illustration by Yuiko Sugino
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