How posting nail
creations on Instagram
turned into a
full time business
Babette is only 19 years old but has already been a nail stylist for little over 5 years. What started by posting her own nails on Instagram turned into a full time business, with people driving hours just to get their nails done by Babette. Read her inspiring story full of hands-on advice for any type of entrepreneur.
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How did you start your nail salon Babette FM Nails?
Let me tell you first, it was never the plan to start my own nail salon. When I was 14 years old I just started sharing my creations on Instagram for people to see, and then people started asking me whether I could also do their nails so I did.
Little by little more and more people started asking if I could do their nails, first for free but after a while also for money.
Then, after I got done with High School I decided to take a gap year before studying onwards. My parents told me: “You can take a gap year, but you are not going to just lay in bed - you have to work.”
And now we are here with people coming all the way from Belgium to have me do their nails. Also, I just decided to not start studying next year but to continue running my business!
“Thanks to having my own nail salon, I made a lot of new friends! With some I go for a drink from time to time. ”
How did you learn everything needed to start a nail business?
Youtube. It is just incredible what amounts of information are freely available on the internet. I am not saying that the courses that you can take offline are bad, but the courses that you can find online are also just really good.
It is also not that doing nails is easy to learn, many people think that, it is just that if you search well you can find almost everything on the internet.
Right now I still look at Youtube sometimes to learn new things, but also a lot on TikTok. I think that 50% of all video’s I see are nail-related so that is where a large part of my inspiration comes from.
TikTok is also how I ended up in an amazing Whatsapp-group with other nail stylists, someone posted a video that she was starting such a group and I asked if I could join. Now we are a group of 50, sharing tips and answering each others’ questions. Such a group is super helpful really!
What did your friends and family think of you starting your own business?
My dad is almost more serious than me about it, helping me think about the cost and the business side of things. Generally, they are really happy for me, especially now that it is going so well.
The only downside for them is that there are always people walking through our whole house. I still live with my parents and I have my ‘salon’ in the attic which means that all my customers have to walk 3 stairs.
Most of my friends are also really excited about me running my own nail salon, and I made a lot of new friends too! You see, a nail appointment usually takes at least 60 minutes, which means that you can talk for 60 minutes. Sometimes it just really clicks, and with some customers I now go for a drink from time to time.
“Some of my TikTok videos went viral and suddenly I had customers from all over the place. ”
How did you grow your business?
I simply started by posting on Instagram, and it is through this that I also got my first customers. Then when I started with TikTok the business really exploded, some of my videos went viral and suddenly I had customers from all over the place.
From that moment onwards it has also been a lot of word-of-mouth. I offer high-quality nail treatments for a relatively low price which is something that many people are looking for. I am slowly trying to increase my prices, but people still keep coming back.
Why did you start using Vev?
To be completely honest, because it was free. I never felt like paying for a tool just to manage my appointments, but when I found Vev and saw that it was free I decided to give it a try. Now I really love it.
I am quite chaotic and not the best planner so before it would happen more than once that I had a double booking or that I was expecting someone at a certain time just because I planned the appointment in the wrong week. Now that never happens anymore. I open my phone in the morning and see exactly when and with whom I have appointments.
And my customers like it a lot too, they always talk about how easy to use the booking system is!
“I open Vev on my phone in the morning and see exactly when and with whom I have appointments. ”
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I want to have my own beauty salon, not just doing nails but offering anything that a beauty salon should offer. I love to do nails but doing just that can also easily get a bit repetitive, therefore I want to learn how to do lashes and eventually also other aspects of a proper beauty business.
Next to that, my boyfriend and I are looking for a house together. When that happens I hope to get my own room where I can host my nail salon and welcome my customers!