Today we’d like to introduce you to Belinda Enriquez.
Belinda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My foray into nail art began as a hobby. In my teens, my sister and I would collect nail polish colors and switch out our colors and designs weekly. Initially, I never planned on making nail art my career; I also never expected to find myself owning and operating a nail art studio.
I graduated from art school having studied baking and patisserie. After a few years in the industry, I quickly realized I was not well suited for a life as a pastry chef. Although the position required a certain amount of inventiveness, I found the actual process a bit too precise and rigid; I also missed having brightly colored fingertips. I began accompanying my sister to her nail appointments and it was there that I remembered how much I enjoyed the nail art process. I enrolled in a nail technician program at a beauty college in my area and, after passing California Board of Cosmetology exams, I obtained my license. I didn’t have a clear pathway, but I felt inspired and motivated in a way I hadn’t felt before. Many hours and countless sets of hands later, I’ve grown into owning my own business adorning fingertips with brightly colored polishes and embellishments.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Getting to where I am today has been quite the journey. There have been so many details to learn and I’m constantly sharpening my skills as a nail artist and business owner. After obtaining my license, the biggest hurdle was building a clientele. I worked part-time as a receptionist at an upscale hair salon before I started taking on clients of my own. At this point, I had no idea how the beauty industry worked because I was coming from an entirely different industry. This gave me the insight I lacked and really helped me understand the do’s and don’ts of an industry that, up until then, was a total unknown to me. I’m eternally grateful to my mentor, Global Redken Artist and Redken Exchange Facilitator, George Garcia, for teaching me how to build and maintain a clientele. Although I worked in a hair only salon, the lessons I learned there helped give me the foundation I needed as I approached building my own clientele and business. After gaining work experience and eventually transitioning into doing nail services at that salon, I was then able to open my own studio.
Bel Does Nails – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the sole owner and operator of my business, Bel Does Nails. I pride myself in upholding an environment and culture of inclusion and positivity. My studio space is inside of a record store called Tower District Record (yes, vinyl records) so this has really helped shape and mold my business. My workspace environment is filled with sound, colors, and activity, which has helped attract and maintain a solid clientele, all of whom I consider my friends and family. I liken my business to a puzzle completed with mismatched pieces, yet it all comes together and just makes sense. I believe the key to my business’ success is due to all of those “mismatched pieces” that have come together to create a beautifully diverse environment. My clientele is made of people from various backgrounds, occupations, and identities. I specialize in gel polish manicures on natural nails. I also add length with gel to create nail extensions. The majority of my clients are natural nail manicures and I love the challenge of adorning short natural nails with designs, textures, colors, and embellishments.
Due to Covid-19, I have decided to remain closed to in-person services in order to keep myself, my family, and my community safe. Adapting to the current state, I’ve created press on nail kits all designed and hand-painted by me. My kits include a set of reusable press on nails, instruction cards, and all the supplies needed to apply the nails. Although I miss my in-person appointments, this has been a good challenge. It has been really special virtually meeting so many new clients and shipping these packages all over the US.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In my line of work, my job is performed in close contact with my client. In a way, my job is quite intimate. I’ve come to learn a lot of personal details about my friends (clients) and I’m, oftentimes, the first person to hear and help sort through all sorts of emotions and issues they might be going through. One way I personally define success is through those interactions. I feel honored to be trusted and included in their lives. Every visit we have together, I consider a success; Moreover, having my scheduled booked out weeks to months out is a testament to the quality of my work and the mutual respect we share for one another. It is truly a lovely feeling.
- DIY Press On Nail Kits $50