Alica: Network, Budget, and Never Give Up in Opening a Nail Salon

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Alica for successfully making it through her first year as a new salon owner! You can read all of Alica's posts by clicking on the Alica tag at the left column of this blog, under "Post Categories." If you are a new salon owner and want to be our next Blueprint of a First Year blogger, e-mail sree.roy[at] and tell us a little about your new salon.

So it has been a year on the Blueprint of the First Year blog. I have met some amazing people in this year, and I am in tears with both leaving and excitement of the growth. I love the NAILS Magazine staff, and if I helped one person, then my goal was met. Over the past year I have learned a lot about salon ownership, but I've narrowed it down to my Top 10 for my last regular post on this blog.

1. Change is good. When opening a salon change is unavoidable. You can control how the change affects you. Learn from every change, the good and the bad.
2. Go with your gut. Make decisions that you feel are right. As much as possible, don’t second guess yourself. You waste a lot of time on the least important things and miss out on the important.
3. Connect with the industry: Network, network, and network! You learn so much from other people. In the past year I have contacted and learned from nail techs in South Africa, Australia, the United Kingdom, as well as here at home in the USA. An e-mail can change your life. To some people this may not be major, but as a girl from a small town in North Carolina, to say I have nail friends all over the world is amazing. I feel I know more about the nail world all over and not just in my area.
4. Ask if you want to know. Advice from those who have been before you will allow you to avoid as many mistakes as possible.
5. Budget everything. Set a budget and stick to it. There are a number of ways to not spend over your budget. Look for discounts, coupons, and deals. Opening a salon does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Put in the work to find ways to cut costs.
6. Slow and steady wins the race. Take the time to build on your success. Understand that the start-up is a learning process. Taking your time can allow you to make the changes you need for success.
7. Create an online presence. A website, Facebook page, Twitter, and any other tool that could help build your online network. With the social media craze it is a must for us to let people know who we are and what we do in business. Branding yourself online is very important.
8. Read NAILS Magazine in print and online. I have learned so much about business and my craft of doing nails from the articles and the new NAILS website. Yes I do have a one-sided opinion cause I love NAILS Magazine :) but I have learned so much from the magazine that it's only right I share my secret with you.
9. Never give up. When things look bad push forward. In a new salon you will feel overwhelmed and sometimes doubtful. Stay focused: You will not win the race if you give up. Change the course, drink some water, and go.
10. Your inner circle can make or break your business. Surround yourself with people who you can learn from, motivate you, and mentor you. Everyone is not good for you or your business. Find a mentor either online or in your area. Someone you can bounce ideas off and ask questions.

I wish anyone who decides to start a salon much success. It is not for everybody but growing a business and building it from start to finish is a reward in and of itself. I've posted a few new photos of the salon. Wow, look at the old pictures in my Blueprint album and the ones now.

No, this is not the last time you will hear from me. I am as close as an e-mail (alica[at] Just hit send. Happy Nails!

— Alica, Upscale Nail Bar & Boutique, Griffin, Ga.

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