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The CEO and founder of online and mobile platform Beautician List, nail tech Dasha Minina wants to raise the standard of professionalism in our industry and support licensed beauty professionals by providing a safe, easy-to-use website that connects them with beauty enthusiasts seeking cosmetic services.

We wanted to learn what makes her tick:

Tell us how you got your start in the beauty industry. What's your path been like?

DM: I knew that I wanted to start my own business and always loved beauty and fashion. After much deliberation, I enrolled in Christine Valmy International School to become a licensed nail technician. It was while in school that I realized that the nail treatments (and nail prep!) are the most critical factors to a long-lasting manicure. I saw a unique opportunity for a premier treatment line geared towards the natural nail, and I launched Maxus Nails. My goal is to enhance women's lives aesthetically as well as functionally. I want consumers' hands to reflect the beauty inside of them effortlessly.   

The journey has been difficult at times. I endured many setbacks. Being a solopreneur while working on two businesses is exceptionally challenging. But I am immensely fortunate in that I have an incredible support system both at home and in the industry that does not allow me to quit and keeps pushing for my success.

What inspired you to start Beautician List?

DM: The idea for Beautician List came to me while I was in class. I vividly recall the exact moment when it hit me — I learned about proper disinfection procedures concerning pedicure jets and was HORRIFIED. Never have I received a thorough pedicure that didn't expose me to fungus and pathogens. As an unsuspecting consumer, I was angry that the industry I trusted didn't do enough to protect me. I then realized there wasn't that much protection for the professional either, as the states don't have enough funds for field inspectors, which allows for the unlicensed individuals to take business away from those that are doing the right thing.

At that moment, I felt like I had to do something to help. I wanted to support my classmates by providing a dedicated professional space to network, learn, and acquire new business. In turn, I wanted to provide a network of validated beauty professionals for consumers looking for beauty service providers. 

Everything else, like a partnership with ORLY, happened organically as I started discussing the concept with others and paying attention to what is needed in the industry. 

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What was the process like getting it started?

DM: Ah, the million-dollar question. Finding a team that I can trust to execute my ideas efficiently and swiftly was extremely difficult. As you can imagine, the task at hand is immensely complex as all states are different, and the data is continuously changing. In 2018, once the platform was fully functional, I traveled to the Cosmoprof show in Vegas to find a brand partner.  

Coming from a nails background, I visited every nail booth. I was in complete awe speaking to some of these founders that I had spent my life looking up to; I couldn't believe that I was standing in front of them! Some flat out told me that it would never work, while others dismissed the idea.

Jeff Pink from Orly was kind enough to direct me to Tal Pink, VP of business development. Tal, being an entrepreneur himself, immediately saw the potential. He expressed interest in using the verification module for a seamless shopping experience for beauty professionals. Manual license verification deterred professionals from placing an immediate order, and instead, they ended up going to other resellers that were potentially selling a counterfeit or expired product. He saw the opportunity the Beautician List API presented, and we immediately started working on the integration together.  The verification module is now compatible with any e-commerce platform and is capable of verifying any license issued by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology within the U.S. 

As a female entrepreneur in the beauty industry, do you have any advice for nail techs?

DM: Nail techs do not get the recognition they deserve. Even worse, they aren't adequately compensated in most areas of the U.S. I think it's important to know your self-worth and not lower your standards to match what others are doing. If you care about your job, educate clients, be professional, then your reputation will precede you. Be involved and care about your industry – after all, you spent the money to attend beauty school and receive a license, so be proud and advocate for change for the better.

What are your goals for the future?

DM: I think the fact that the industry is at crossroads is undeniable. A lot of things are changing, while some are threatening the existence of the professional beauty industry. My goal from day-one was to raise the current status quo. I want Beautician List to be the platform that unites the professional with the consumer while providing dedicated space for professional brands to market and sell their products directly to professionals.

What are your hopes for the future of the beauty industry?

DM: I hope that clean, sanitary nail salons will become more predominant in the industry. The ones that are true to their word are salons that pride themselves on hiring licensed beauty professionals, paying proper wages and following proper disinfection guidelines. The wellbeing of workers should be a priority, just like the cleanliness of the salon. I hope that eventually, no consumer will step foot in a subpar nail salon because they will know the ugly truth and won't want to contribute to dirty business practices. 

Do you have anything else you'd like to add?

DM: I fear that we are slowly handing off our industry to those that do not truly care about the professional market and only care about the bottom line. Now is the time to come together and unite with a common goal — to save the professional industry. I present a simple solution that benefits everyone, from beauty schools to trade shows to professional brands. By establishing Beautician List as the industry standard, we can keep control over our future. 

Learn more about Beautician List at www.beauticianlist.com.