BY SARAH VEENSTRA
It’s a work of art. A modern day Picasso designed to withstand the simple, mundane activities of everyday life. It’s more than just a manicure.
There’s a new business in town, travelling around, colouring women’s lives in a small but uplifting way.
“There is nothing like working with someone who truly loves what they do,” said longtime client Erin White. “It was evident from the moment I met her that she was a gifted artist.”
Alyssa Allen, an esthetician in Cambridge, created her own business cleverly named Nail’d It, offering clients manicures and waxing in the comfort of their own home.
“It honestly happened by accident,” said Allen. “I didn’t have a space in my own home to do it. So, I thought, why not just go to someone’s house and when I’m done, I can pack up and go? I felt it made a lot of sense. It’s easier to do bigger groups this way and new moms love it for convenience.”
Since starting the business nearly one year ago, Allen has renovated a small area in her home so clients can come to her but admits 90 per cent still prefer her to go to them.
“A lot of my newer clients will come to my house,” said Allen. “A lot of my Cambridge clients also come to me, or clients who live in Kitchener but work in Cambridge or Guelph will come to me on their way home from work.”
While the bulk of her clients are located in Waterloo Region, Allen finds word of mouth is travelling fast.
“It’s started to trickle out,” said Allen. “I now have a few people in New Hamburg, a few in Brantford, London and even a group of friends in Georgetown that I do a nail party for when I go. I’m willing to go farther, especially if it’s for a group, then it’s totally worth it for me to pack up and go.”
Nail parties, in which a group of three to eight women will get together to all have manicures and their eyebrows waxed and tinted are far more poplar than Allen predicted.
“The one I did two weeks ago was for a girl who got engaged,” said Allen. “It wasn’t for her shower or anything, it was just an excuse for everyone to get together. They get together and drink wine and get their nails done. They all hang out or circulate in and out. It’s pretty cool.”
Allen admits that her clients’ dedication is what’s made her so successful in such a short time.
“A client that I have from way back in the day, is in university now in Montreal,” said Allen. “She’ll actually wait to get her nails done until she comes home so she can see me. It’s crazy! I never thought in a million years that a 19-year-old would care that much about her nails.”
What is it that makes Allen worth the wait? The art.
“She has so much passion for what she does,” said White. “The creativity is inspired and I feel so special I get to wear her artwork on my nails.”
Allen credits her nearly seven-year background in esthetics and her own flare for fashion for her ability to create the coin-size wonders.
“Nails are my life,” said Allen. “It sounds so stupid and cliché but when I’m not doing nails, I’m at home looking up what’s next. Everything that happens from New York Fall Fashion Week to an Aritzia fall/winter collection, I’m making sure I know what’s happening on the runway. I can tell people which colours or patterns are in.”
The top three colours for right now? Allen admits although black, deep maroons and purple are trending (a normal indication of fall), the “it” colours are whites, greys and a clear nude.
Nail shape of the moment? Allen said it’s something she’s termed the “Kylie,” after Kylie Jenner’s repeated display of long tapered nails with a squared edge, something Allen herself is currently sporting. She added that the almond shape is also “not going anywhere for a while.”
“My thing that I love is linear, geometric shapes and patterns,” said Allen. “My love of this seems to be rubbing off on my clients. They always bring me pictures and I’ll show them my ideas and we collaborate. I feel that’s what they now look for too, lots of lines, lots of dots. You can do a lot with those two.”
A Nail’d It manicure costs $35 for one solid colour or $40 for a manicure with artwork, lasting anywhere from two to three weeks.
“I feel like I have so much more to bring to the table than Joe down the road who possibly isn’t certified or doesn’t clean his tools,” said Allen. “If you want people to comment on your nails, I guarantee people will, but by no means do you have to do nail art.”
Allen makes a point of sterilizing her tools between every client and wrapping them in antibacterial packaging that’s sealed and opened only right before each use.
“I try to keep it classy,” she said. “No palm trees please but if you were to ask I would do a palm tree. I would do it in a cool way without the tacky flowers and wispy lines, you know the ones I’m talking about. I would make sure I nailed it.”
For more information go to www.naildit.ca.