A Champion for Artists

Summer Olson is on a mission. She’s bringing the new culture of nail art to her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and she’s doing it through her nail artist collective, Stash House.

Summer began in the beauty industry as an esthetician, but she decided to pivot into nails after the salon where she was working closed down. While enrolled in nail school, she developed the idea for Stash House. Now her dream is a reality, employing nine highly talented artists, each with their own signature styles and specialties. The space is a haven for clients seeking unique and trendsetting nail art in a cool and unpretentious setting.

One of the biggest challenges Summer and her team have faced is communicating booking processes. Each of the artists maintains their own clientele and their own booking methods and policies, and that can sometimes create confusion. She has tackled this problem by cleverly using Instagram Story Highlights to feature each artist, their specialty and their booking method.

Summer says, “I want people to know that my story isn’t special. Anyone can start up a business/brand and tell their story as long as they know how to communicate and have a vision of what they want to do.”

And she’s not stopping here: Summer wants to evolve Stash House into a salon-and-beauty-supply combination business, and would eventually love to expand into more locations. But for now, she’s enjoying her role supporting her family of artists and all members of the nail community.

Everywhere at Once

Since her start in the nail industry in 2009, Tamara Di Lullo has been a hard worker. She received a young entrepreneur award for the business plan she created for her Montreal salon, Candy Nail Bar, even being awarded a grant from her city and an honor from the Chamber of Commerce. She recalls that in the beginning, being a young female entrepreneur was difficult. But by “growing a thick skin, reading all of the fine print and being patient,” she was able to overcome challenges and find success.

Along with running her salon, she can often be found working with celebrities for magazine covers, doing nails on set and designing nail art for Fashion Week, a role she says is one of her favorites. She notes, “I love the creative process, and the research and innovation involved in working with such a talented team of nail artists.”

Tamara is also a CND Educator for CND, and aims to focus even more on the education side of nails this year by offering courses at her salon. She says her team is one of her biggest inspirations, and knowing that they rely on her for guidance and mentorship keeps her going.

Though it seems impossible for one person to do as much as Tamara, she says she’s thankful that each day is different. Her favorite aspect of her job is the freedom she has attained doing what she loves. The sky is the limit!

My Story

I began my journey into nails as a hobbyist. My very first nail art look was inspired by a leopard print tutorial that was posted on a women’s lifestyle website. I was so impressed with myself at the time; I snapped a pic and started sharing. My love for nail art grew, and my blog, Chalkboard Nails, did too!

Eventually, the blog provided me the opportunity to attend a beauty trade show as a member of the press. I was so excited, and even more so when I landed a meeting with Jan Arnold, the Co-Founder of CND. She asked me if I had ever considered becoming a nail professional instead of just a hobbyist, and she told me about a nail school scholarship that CND sponsored.

I applied for the scholarship and was selected as one of the recipients, and so began my journey into the professional side of nails! Since then, I’ve enjoyed a number of roles that have allowed me to share my love of nail art and nail care with beauty lovers worldwide.

It can be scary to take the leap and make a change. My advice is to pursue your goals confidently and not to be afraid to lean on your support network. There are certainly risks, but the rewards far outweigh them!

In the nail industry, there are inspiring stories everywhere you look. These nail professionals turned their passion into a successful career, inspiring others along the way. And with a little luck and a lot of determination, you could boost your career, too.