When Charlotte Wassen (Nailed it by Charlotte, Salons by JC, Greensboro, NC) was pursuing a college degree in accounting, her professor told her that he was going to make her hate the class so much she would change majors because, “With your personality, you need to be with people.” A semester later, he proved himself right and Charlotte went on to get a degree in business management. But that prof was pretty wily: No sooner was she out of college when she heard a radio ad for nail school and signed up.
‘My dad told me it was stupid, but now I get paid to talk all day, and my accounting and business background still benefits me,” says Charlotte.
Working for yourself isn’t always easy and sometimes, unforeseen circumstances stop your progression. But that never stopped Charlotte. Three months out of school, she switched from commission to rental. When she had her first child, she set up a home-based business. Next, her then husband got transferred to Florida, and she had to go back to a commission salon, building a clientele from scratch.
“There, I met a great technician who gave me hard-core training,” says Charlotte, who won several nail competitions as a result. Business expertise and superior skills should have made self-employment a no-brainer for entrepreneurial Charlotte, but a car accident nearly put an end to her dream.
“After arm and hand surgery, I was left with no blood flow to my pinkie and one finger,” she recalls. “A second opinion lead me to realize another surgery would give me no guarantee, so the only hope was that eventually, my other arteries would take over. I was devastated; I love doing nails!”
God sent her to Michigan, she says, where she worked as the director of a Children’s Ministry, eventually training volunteers to mentor school children. Two years later, she went back to North Carolina and decided to try nails again.
“For a while, I went back to the very first woman I’d worked for out of school, but I kept looking for commercial space,” she says. “No one wanted to rent to a nail tech because of the smell created by acrylics. Then I came across Salons by JC in an Internet search. I didn’t even know the suite concept existed. When I looked at the space, it was perfect. I had my own space, I could lock the door and the decor was beautiful. It’s sad I didn’t think of the concept 20 years ago.”
To do nails in a suite, you must be disciplined, accountable and organized, says Charlotte. With her entrepreneurial passion, she not only offers Pink and White acrylics, she also does natural nail manicures, hot stone pedicures and gel manicures, and creates her own homemade organic scrubs.
“I experiment with online recipes,” she says. “Really, the scrubs are just a sugar and salt base with coconut oil, grapeseed oil or sometimes I add organic essential oils and let the client choose the scent, or I choose it for its properties. I keep the scrubs in a wax warmer, so that I can always do a warm hand or foot scrub.”
The biggest challenge for a nail technician is that fact that renting suites can be financially difficult if you only charge $15 for a manicure, adds Charlotte. The majority of her business is in acrylics, for which she charges $40. (Her manicures are $20.) She also supplements her income with Rodan + Fields skin care.
“I use it myself and clients love coming in to see that my lashes are longer and I have a scar that is disappearing,” she says.
She also keeps up on the latest nail art, created with nail stamping. “It’s fast and easy and can be incredibly creative,” she says. “My best business builders are referrals, when my clients show off their nails.”
Now that Charlotte has the suite and the clients of her dreams, what does she say is the best thing about being independent? “I’m able to be a Mom first,” she says with no hesitation. “I’ve never missed a baseball game or a school event. As a now-single Mom, I wouldn’t have been able to put them first if I didn’t have my own business.”
Salons by JC salutes Charlotte Wassen for being the Salons by JC Specialist Spotlight, Salon Suite Owner of the week for our blog. We wish you continued success in your business. We appreciate you choosing the Salons by JC family.