Owner of 615 Nail Art Shares Her Journey Story

Updated: May 1

My name is Gaby, I was born in Texas but raised in Nashville, Tennessee and have been here since I was 8 years old. I used to think I’d move back to Texas when I turned 18 but here I am and I can’t imagine myself anywhere else for the foreseeable future.

I am the proud owner of 615 Nail Art, a small nail studio located on 8th Ave South. I have been in the manicuring industry off and on for 9 years now. I specialize in natural nail care and hand painted nail art. I am also a first generation college graduate and business owner!

Originally, my plan was to be an English as a Second Language teacher. Going to technical college for my nail/onyxology education was going to pay my way into traditional school. Once I got done with my Bachelor's Degree I realized how much I enjoyed doing nails and how it could be just as rewarding, in a different way, as teaching could be.

I chose to start my business to provide a space for myself where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want to continue hiding who I was or shrinking myself down to “fit in” with others. Now, I’m free to be myself, and all my clients accept me as I am as I always have them. It’s been an amazing transition to go from a busy full service salon to a solo nail studio. It's also been the best decision I’ve ever made for my well being.

As mentioned before, I started my business to feel safe, and comfortable being myself. I knew that if I felt like that, there must be others who feel this and perhaps don't get "beauty services" to avoid getting criticized. My studio has been a safe space for all who just want to sit for a moment and be taken care of. COVID has taken a mental toll on everyone. I know for some of my clients, coming to their appointments is the only form of socializing they get besides family or close friends. I also have clients who may not fit the "social norm," but when they come, and hold hands with me they know they have a friend, and a support system in me. All to say, my philosophy is to be kind, accepting and provide quality manicures for all.

Secondly, I want to keep elevating the nail industry. The science and techniques of providing nail services has significantly improved even in the last two years! Products more than anything keep getting better and less toxic for people. Even so, there are still salons performing services with toxic or harmful products that create a harmful experience for both the client and tech. I hope to continue to educate fellow nail techs and clients on how nail services can be done safely.

I discovered Shea + Coconut via Instagram when I was looking for shea butters during the first pandemic shutdown. My hands were extremely cracked and irritated from all the irritants in the cleaning solutions at my former nail salon, and the excessive hand washing. The butters, "Dolly," healed my hands. I knew that they would be a hit with my clients who suffer from cracked and irritated skin from the harsh winter, and continued excess hand washing.

Something else that I loved learning was that the brand was BIPOC owned. Being Mexican, it is important to me to use my space and platform to support other BIPOC businesses. In addition, since all the products used in my salon are toxic free, vegan and cruelty free, I loved that all Shea + Coconut products are clean and ethically derived as well.

My clients really appreciate that I am carrying a Nashville small business, BIPOC women owned brand, in my studio. None of them had heard about Shea + Coconut before, but now they are obsessed. Several of my clients have claimed to use the butters on their cracked heels, and psoriasis as well and have gotten relief thanks to the product.

Shea + Coconut inspired me from the beginning to learn the products are made in Nashville, and are BIPOC and women owned. This fueled my motivation during the pandemic to continue with my plans to open up my own studio. Seeing other minority women, especially BIPOC women, is truly motivating and what got me to where I am today. I am thankful I ran into Shea + Coconut's IG when I did.


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