Friday, January 24, 2014

Entrepreneurs Leave Unfulfilled Jobs for Unique Venture

by Maniko Barthelemy

From strip malls to swanky retail outlets, you have likely had a manicure or pedicure. Every year, with the precision of a brain surgeon, completely focused on finishing in a 30-minute window or less time frame, nail technicians at seemingly countless shops across the country, glue, cut, shape and file and style hands, using fake finger nails, cash-in on a nearly $8 billion industry. According to Nails Magazine, it’s no secret the pampering service that spread across the country in the ‘90s is nearly dominated by Asian business owners.
NOLA Nail Bar Owners Enter Crowded Industry
The statistics don’t intimidate two New Orleans women. Nalo Johnson and Tiffany Woods are opening the doors to NOLA Nail Bar, Saturday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. They are jumping in the fiercely competitive industry, determined to stand out and succeed. “People can expect a lot of good food, fun and a short tour of our nail salon,” said Green. Woods and Johnson refer to themselves as manicurist, not nail techs. “Onyxologist is the proper term for what we do because it specifically focuses on natural nail-grooming,” said Woods. Both are certified manicurists in Louisiana.

The uptown cozy business, at 8710 Oak St. distinguishes itself with a combination of quality customer service and a VIP atmosphere. How many nail salons offer guests Mimosas or a glass of wine, comfortable thick leather chairs, while massaging the client’s hands and feet? “I knew we could do it because we have the same work ethic and passion,” said Johnson.
photo courtesy of NOLA Nail Bar
There are no drills that resemble a thick metal pens, hard files, fake nails, glue or other commonly used products at other nail salons. “We’re not trying to do the assembly service that’s so common in this industry,” said Johnson. Basic, bizarre or bold designs come naturally to the unofficial nail gurus but they routinely surf the Internet, flip through trade magazines and articles to stay on target, as trends change quickly, in almost microwave fashion.
The vision to venture into the entrepreneurial world is the result of Woods and Johnson feeling professionally and creatively unfulfilled. “I was working as a cell phone sales rep and I hated moving around to different stores,” said Johnson. Woods thought her calling was in education but the uncertainty and constant bureaucracy in the field shredded her interest, after working a few years. “I had to sit down and think about what I really liked to do and I’ve been doing nails since I was in high school,” said Woods.
photo courtesy of NOLA Nail Bar
A chance meeting at a spa in Atlanta in 2006 quickly evolved into a friendship and a business partnership. “The first day we met we were both so excited because we were from New Orleans,” said Woods. “We hugged and that was it and in a strange twist, we realized we’d grown up two miles away from each other.”

They recognize and embrace the relief of finally operating in their passion and feel successful one client at a time. “It’s a blessing to have a career where you bring smiles to people’s faces,” said Woods.

For more information, you can reach them on Facebook at or call (855) 504-7334.

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