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Freshman IMC Student Opens Her Own Nail Salon

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At the University of Mississippi, trends come and go as often as red solo cups are seen in the Grove. One of the more current fads that has stuck around, and is seemingly here to stay, is shellac gel nail polish.

Brandon, Mississippi, native, Elizabeth Anne Walt, caught on to this trend and decided to do something about it.

Walt is a freshman Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) major and started her own shellac gel nail business.

“While there are many nail salons here, I only went to one girl at home and she was the only person I really trusted with my nails,” said Walt.

Walt visited a nail salon in Oxford and was dissatisfied with the results. She said that she has always been able to paint nails, a talent that, she says, some people have and some people don’t.

“One day, I decided to look into how much it would cost to buy all of the necessary supplies, and my friends suggested that I start to do other people’s nails and charge for it,” Walt said.

IMG_1458Walt learned proper technique and the nail painting process by watching Youtube videos. Her parents helped her start out and gave her a loan for her initial supplies, which totalled about $500. Walt has already paid them back and is now making a profit.

“I save all of the money I earn because I ultimately want to start a venue for parties and weddings,” Walt said. “This money is going to go toward that.”

Walt’s business has been a great way to help her save money for her future goals, aspirations and the place she wants to open.

“I don’t really know where I want it to be [yet],” Walt said, “Maybe in Oxford or wherever life takes me.”

Walt explained that she has always had in her mind the exact place where she wants to get married, but it doesn’t exist in reality.

“I want to build that place so that other people can use it and have parties there too,” she said.

Walt’s dream venue will be on a lot of land and the wedding (or party) will be inside a building made of mostly windows.

“It will be in the woods,” she said. “…but nice woods with pretty landscaping and flowers and a pond.”

It could be used for weddings, parties, formals or any large event.

IMG_9763“I just want to pull everything together,” she said. “I have been to a lot of weddings and parties ad have bits and pieces from each one that I loved and I want that all to come together in one place.”

For the time being however, Walt is focused on her business. She charges $15 for a gel manicure, $25 for acrylics with gel and $20 for a gel pedicure.

As of now, “I only do toes for the people I know,” Walt said.

To book an appointment, Walt uses an Instagram account she created called Mermaidnails_. Once she accepts someone’s Instagram request, they have access to her phone number and can contact her. The account is also used to promote special deals and discounts.

“I am working on an email account for people to contact me to book appointments as well,” Walt said.

Walt has been doing other people’s nails for about a month-and-a-half and her friend’s nails for three. The Instagram account and word-of-mouth are her main sources of advertising.

She tries to book appointments only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and on average has about seven bookings a day.

“The most I ever had was 12,” Walt said. “And, that was just crazy.”

Freshman Kacie Jenkins from Fayetteville Arkansas is a fan of Walt’s services.

“I like getting my nails done with Elizabeth Anne because you are getting a better manicure and it costs less,” she said.


Joanie Sanders is a senior print journalism major at The Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be reached at jgsander@go.olemiss.edu.

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