Running a Small Business as a Teenager

Rubi Valladares and Evelynn Hennessy

Students throughout Heritage turn their hobbies into businesses. Some make baked goods and sell them, cut hair, knit, make clothes, make candles, and even do nails. Rubi Valladares, a junior, is a prime example of this and this is her story.

Since I was 13, I started to get my nails done with my mom. My mom would always get her nails done, and I would always go with her, even before I was old enough to get mine done, and I would sit there and watch the way the lady would do my mom’s nails. I would remember everything, even the little tools she would use.

Once I started getting my nails done, I was really able to concentrate on what they were doing, using, and how they would even take pictures of a set after they were done.

I always loved getting my nails done, but I’ve never been the type to like short nails for myself. I also loved how much more detailing you could put into a long set of nails.

Around the time when COVID first started, everything was closed, so I couldn’t go out and get my nails done like I normally would. My mom had some nail supplies that she had kept from when she would do her own nails at times and also mine. I started to mess around with it, but at the time it was too much for me so I never touched them again.

When I turned 15, I told myself that I would be a nail tech and I would get far. I talked to my parents about it, even some family members, and they were very supportive and told me to do it.

For Christmas of 2021 I had asked for nail products and other things you would need to get started on doing nails. I got a couple of products, but not everything I needed. At the time I was working so I saved up my money and bought everything I needed.

I was constantly seeing what I like to call “signs”. Beginner nail tech videos were continually popping up on my “For You” page on Tik Tok, which would always get to me.

I started to practice on my cousin towards the end of February and surprisingly, they did not come out bad at all. As soon as I saw that I had a pretty good application, shaping, and my retention was good, I knew I had to continue on with doing them. I did my cousin’s nails for about two months straight until I was comfortable putting myself out there. People knew I was doing nails, but at the time I was not doing other people, until I was comfortable.

In April was when I made an Instagram account for my nails and was comfortable taking clients. Many girls were very supportive and that was something that I loved very much. After a while, I noticed how many clients I was getting, and how many were coming back. Which meant I was obviously doing something right.

I was working at the same time, so I had to figure out a way to balance work and doing nails and school all at the same time. It was stressful, but easy because my clients were very understanding with my schedule and we were always able to work around something.

In June, was the first time I was fully booked for the month. Towards the end of June. I had quit my job, and was strictly focused on doing nails.

A week after I quit, I had gotten a message from Walmart that there was a position open and I was being hired. I was so excited because it was more money and I was going to be able to buy more things for my nail business. For three months, I worked at Walmart while doing nails.

Unfortunately, it was draining and exhausting, both mentally and physically. It was best for me to quit Walmart and put my entire focus into doing nails because that is what really had my heart.

I was also able to get in more clients and dedicate all my time to my clients. When school started my name was going around for a while that I was the “nail tech girl” or “the girl who does nails”.

Coming into school definitely got me more clients and it was going well.  They were very supportive, and always loved what I gave them. My clients themselves would also help me expand my clientele by posting their nails and tagging me, or even telling their friends to come to me. I will forever and always be grateful for my clients, they are so important to me and I have so much love for them.

 “Acrylicssbyrubii has impacted us girls by creating something we can all bond over. When I get my nails done by Rubi I feel good about myself, and a lot of girls compliment my nails and ask who did them and I tell them Rubi. A lot of girls like to get their nails done, and for an affordable price, especially at our age.  That’s exactly what Rubi does. She is very reasonable with her pricing, and all around is so good at what she does. It’s also something that us girls bond over because almost all of us go to Rubi and support her so much. I think that we are all very appreciative of the work she does. Rubi has definitely been something positive and amazing for all of us girls. ” Samantha Martinez, 17 year old, stated. 

In October I was fully booked the entire month. It felt so good, especially the money that was coming in. I didn’t have to depend on my dad for money anymore and I could buy everything myself. That is something very big in your young teenage years.

I started to see the attention my Instagram page, “acrylicssbyrubii”, was getting and it was and still is my proudest moment.

Currently, my business itself is going amazing right now, and everyone around me is super supportive. I made “loyalty cards” and my clients love them, and I’m so glad they do!

Becoming a nail tech wasn’t just something I was doing, it’s something that I fell in love with. 

To book an appointment, go to her Instagram page and DM her: @Acrylicssbyrubii