On an industrialized street filled with carpet cleaner and window businesses in Mount Vernon, New York, a bubble machine is going full blast. It sparks not only the curiosity of passing pedestrians but also establishes the fun atmosphere of our featured business this week, The Party Nail, founded and solely operated by Victoria Gasparro.
As a true solo entrepreneur, Victoria runs the entire business on her own. On one hand, this comes with added responsibilities and often stress from carrying the weight of your business on your shoulders. On the other hand, you are your own boss, create your own hours, and have the creative freedom to shape the future of your business. In this week’s episode, Victoria shares what it means to not only own a business but to also be the business.
“I’ve always wanted my own nail salon—since the moment I walked into my first nail salon at the age of 15,” Victoria said. She created The Party Nail to fulfil that dream and to fill a hole that she saw in the industry—a place she wanted as a consumer but couldn’t quite find. Clients at The Party Nail receive a one-on-one catered experience where they can “sit in silence, request the movie or television show of choice, work remotely, or they are more than welcome if they need to bring their child in.” The salon even has a children’s play area specifically for them. “As a single mom, early in my son’s life, it was quite a challenge to bring him into the average nail salon,” Victoria said. “I wanted to build in and marry all of the industries that I’ve worked in my life with my business.”
Along with a curated experience, Victoria also sets out to make each and every client feel special. Our Yelp reviewer Naomi Y. experienced and felt that. “The best thing about walking in there was being greeted by my name. She knew that my appointment was coming up. She knew that I was the one coming in. And after being greeted, she continued to make me feel welcome, asking, ‘Can I get you a glass of wine, tea, or coffee?’ You name it,” Naomi said. “She wanted to know how she could make the experience great for you from the moment you walked in.”
Greeting people by their name is a simple act that can heighten their experience exponentially. Although not every business model is set up for this, try to make your interactions with your customers as personalized as possible. It will stick with them and help you stand out. Making sure that you are giving customers something of value is another essential for success. Even at a higher price point, if a client believes that they are getting value for the money they are spending, they are much more likely and happy to make the spend. Naomi sums it up nicely, “We want to feel valued—no matter how much money we have—we want to feel value. For me, I felt that value immediately. I honestly didn’t even care what the final cost was. And for me, it’s rare not to think about that. But the experience was so above my expectations, I felt prepared to give her whatever she asked for.”
As a business, that’s an incredibly unique position to be in—to provide a service that is of such high quality and value that customers aren’t concerned with the price. “Just because I am not the average nail salon, that doesn’t mean that I cannot operate as I see fit as an entrepreneur,” Victoria said. “So you don’t have to follow the crowd. Just be true to yourself, and everything will fall into place.”
Here are a few other learnings from our first featured solo entrepreneur:
- Success in business looks different. A successful business doesn’t always mean it has to have multiple locations or many employees. There is no standardized model or path that you have to take for growth—just stay true to yourself and your personal goals.
- Check in with your customers. Don’t wait until the end of a transaction to ask the customer how they liked it or if your product or service met their expectations. Check in along the way. Victoria gauges her client’s “satisfaction temperature” between each step of the process. It’s one of the most intentional ways to ensure that the customer is happy.
- Take time to support other inspiring business owners. Think back to when you were just starting out. What challenges did you face? Was it difficult to break into the industry that you’re now in? For Victoria, she found it incredibly difficult to break into the nail space. Now she hopes to offer training to help other artists break into the industry. If you’re lucky enough to have found success, think about how you can pay it forward.
Interviews by Emily Washcovick
These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Victoria and Naomi, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.
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