M: So social media and networking are the primary tools you’ve used to grow your business?
O: Yes! Through social media, networking, and referrals. I get a lot of jobs through referrals. I haven’t paid for marketing or tried to get people to come get their nails done. Friends recommend me to their friends, or someone will see a photo on Instagram, and they book the appointment.
M: I feel like that also makes your business more desirable too, because you aren’t pushing people to come, they are asking you to fit them in.
O: Exactly! I wouldn’t want to do my nails with someone who’s trying to get me to to come all the time. It would seem tacky.
M: So what prompted the switch from makeup and hair to nail art?
O: It was all chance! I was at a photo shoot doing makeup and hair and the manicurist didn’t come in. The photographer was going crazy, because it was a beauty shoot, so the nails would be in the shot. The photographer asked if I knew how to do nails. I always have a little nail kit with me, so I painted the models’ nails.
They were very impressed and afterwards people started to call me for nails instead of hair and makeup. Right after that, I got busy! This was about four years ago, and at that time, there were no freelance nail artists. Now there are quite a few, but back then there weren’t, so I was a coveted commodity!
I realized that I was so busy doing nails that I didn’t need to keep doing makeup and hair. It’s actually way more fun because I can do more extravagant, detailed work. Creatively, nail art is so much more fun and engaging.
The reason I didn’t pursue nails from the beginning was because I didn’t think you could make enough money. But now that nails have gotten to be so popular, you can actually make a decent living. I make a minimum of $250 a day and I’ve gotten up to $600 a day just for painting nails. So there’s definitely a career to be made if you market yourself properly.
M: I feel like you hit the sweet spot in terms of timing. You had the time to establish yourself without the pressure of competing with a wealth of other nail artists.
O: Yes, true!