Queen Nail Spa has been in business for nine years. The success of the nail spa is attributed in large part to owner Queen Tran, who is known for making authentic connections with people.
Tran moved to the U.S. in 1994 from Vietnam. Once she arrived in the U.S., she worked in a series of nail salons. After opening Queen Nail Spa, Tran worked seven days a week the first four years in business. With so much attention focusing on her business in those early years, Tran says she "never paid attention to people outside." One night in San Francisco changed everything. She spotted a homeless woman outside in the rain while she was inside a restaurant with her family. The sight brought her to tears, and she vowed to help.
Now, each week she and her husband Michael distribute pizza, clothing, toiletries, and sleeping bags at the local Goodwill. Tran uses her own tip money to pay for these weekly donations. She also gives back to those in her native Vietnam, contributing shoes, medicine, food, and money to those in Rach Gia where she grew up. Tran relates to many she helps, saying she grew up hungry without clothes or food. It's this empathy that motivates her to care for others, and it motivates her clients as well.
Many salon goers say they tip extra, knowing that their money will go toward helping others. "She's rolling up unafraid, regardless of pouring rain or freezing cold, with food and warmth," says longtime client Susan Hubbard.