A couple of years ago I was left with two weeks to secure a location in NYC to service my clients. I was in a location inside of a Ricky’s store in NYC that was in the heart of the busy Soho shopping area. Due to changes in management and store closings, I lost my space in one of their busiest stores.
Suddenly I was left with two weeks to secure a space for myself and my three employees to service our clientele. Location was pretty crucial, but fortunately in NYC most people are willing to travel if it can be reached within 15/20 minutes from their job by subway. I searched and searched for a salon setting (since this is where we were originally positioned) where I could set up my small nail business. I knew many of our clients would use the services in the salon where we went as convenience, so I thought of this as a plus. On the day before we were about to be “homeless,” and just when I thought it was the end of my NYC business, I came across a salon in midtown while going to get coffee.
The salon I came across, Eruan Salon, was a full service salon with a loft area upstairs that was set up for nail services. The salon had two technicians working in the area, but the nail business was basically nonexistent and only provided regular manicures and pedicures. The owner Jack was immediately inviting, and I moved in literally the next day with my staff and secured rental of the upstairs portion. The location was super convenient, right in the heart of midtown Manhattan. However, before long I began having issues with my staff not liking the new location for one reason or another, or not being adaptable to the changes in commissions that were necessary to maintain the new location. I was eventually left handling the rent and space alone, which became a financial burden.
I started posting on Instagram about rental availability. I did this for almost a year with no results. I figured there MUST be other nail artists in NYC looking for a table to rent or space to rent. When I was looking for a space after the Ricky’s closing, I thought to myself, if I could even find a space that I could work from alone, I would take it. However, nothing like this existed in the city, so I saw an untapped area of need. One day I was sharing my thoughts with one of my celebrity clients and they commented, “Oh, that would be cool… kind of a “WeWork” for nails!” So, revived from our conversation, I began reaching out to New York nail artists, but this time through Instagram direct message. After about a month or so, I started a conversation with an artist and through direct message, we secured a rental relationship as she was looking to branch out on her own.
I began to realize that there were many artists looking for an affordable location to service their clients and to have the freedom to arrange their own schedule. Many of them wanted to start their own business but didn’t have the resources to fully invest in going out on their own. With the new ventilation laws in NY State, it can be extremely costly to secure a regulated location, not to mention the high rents in NYC. I wanted to help aspiring artists to branch out on their own and start their own business, even as a stepping stone for a season until they could grow and establish a clientele to move on. With my struggle of looking for a space, I understood the fight and felt I could be a business mentor and a resource for them to branch out as entrepreneurs. Many young technicians in the industry have called me their ‘nail fairy godmother, ’which I humbly appreciate and accept! I am happy to say that as of today, I have four rental nail artist entrepreneurs, with a waiting list for when I have more space open.
My vision is to expand on this idea to other locations to provide a space for nail artists to be able to try their hand at their own business, and also to provide a type of safety net and mentorship for them to be able to expand and grow until they are able to move on… or decide to make this their permanent home.