The Story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)

The story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)
The Story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)

If you are following me, you know that I am in the process of setting up my own nail salon business in the Philippines. 

And you might also know that one of my mantra in life is ‘Sharing is Caring’. This world will be a better place if all of us can be more generous to one other. Not only sharing material things but our time and knowledge as well.

I want you to know my experience and learn from it. Take those information that apply to you and disregard things that don’t. I will share the difficulties and my mistakes (which I hope I won’t do often) and hope you try to get something from it too.

Note that we haven’t opened yet and I still have lots to experience and learn but if I wait until everything is settled and done, then I might forget some details. I would rather document things while I still remember them.

I am no expert, first and foremost. The things I am doing now for my business is purely based on research, reading other people’s stories (both their successes and failures), and my gut instinct. My mother is a business-minded woman and a serial entrepreneur but she never aimed high. What she (and my father) wanted was just a regular income to survive and let their 6 children graduate college. I don’t really have a mentor. I don’t personally know anyone that I can look up to.

But I have many inspirations. I love success stories and I believe that if they can then I can do it too! We are only limited by how far our mind can reach. Sky is the limit baby!

Enough of the Oprah-esque litany. Let’s go and discuss the reality.

This business is a result of an ‘AHA’ moment. I initially wanted to open a beauty salon here in Dubai but I lack capital and I know it will be a challenge running a business while being full-time employed. I don’t want to resign yet from my job for my own peace of mind. Can you imagine investing so much money into a business venture and then simultaneously resign from a very stable job? My stress level will sky-rocket for sure due to the fact that I am risking so much. Again, I am not a guru and running a business while being full-time employed might not be ideal for everyone. I am just sharing my story.

While contemplating what business to go to, my sister went back to the Philippines for good after a decade of being an expat here. I questioned her decision initially but I never stopped her. It’s her life anyways.
As soon as she’s back home, I then realized that I now have someone who has a lot of free time on her hands, who is willing and interested to be rich like me, and most importantly I trust 101%. Perfect!

Convincing her is not difficult. We know each other and we want the same thing – to be financially independent! So off we go on discussing our business venture.

My idea is to have a venture that will lead to our Financial Independence. I know that if we are going to set-up a business, it shouldn’t be just one branch. We should aspire to have as many branches as we can in our lifetime. One salon is just a hobby. It’s ok to have 1 if you just want to augment your income. But I don’t think you will become wealthy with just 1 or 2 branches.

Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself again. Let’s first talk about the first branch 🙂

I have an idea on how to make the business work. First is to find a trusted partner who can do things I can’t do physically. I have to work harder than I ever worked before (I have 2 jobs now – daytime job and my own business). I need to be extremely organized. And lastly, believe that it will go as planned.

The Vision

I envision SLIAN NAILS to be the go-to nail salon in the Philippines by making sure we are available everywhere.
We will be the 7-Eleven of the nail salon industry.

Our starting price is similar with nearby neighborhood beauty salon but our service is incomparable. We will challenge people’s perception that paying low price means expecting low quality and mediocre service.
Enough with that!

We want Filipinos to expect more of the services they pay for. I want them to believe that they deserve more.
SLIAN NAILS is not only for those who can afford it. SLIAN NAILS is for everyone who wants to feel good.
Expect the best treatment, well-sanitized equipments, personalized service and chic ambiance.

The Name

SLIAN NAILS is not my first name choice. I am very keen to use Glam Queen from onset but DTI requires to put prefix and suffix on your business name. We submitted several variations of Glam Queen. The Glam Queen Nail Spa, QWIN Nail Spa, Glam Queen Nail Boutique, Viva Glam Queen. Ayaw pa din nila!

After several back and forth correspondences with DTI, I gave up the name.

We again submitted several name options. The Royal Nails & Toes Lounge, D’ Master Nails & Toes, Chic Royal Nail Lounge.
And you know what? None of them were approved. Nakakaloka diba? I think because the names we came up with were mostly consisted of common names (queen, toes, nails, royal, etc.) that they kept on insisting we need to put a Prefix. When we asked them what’s their definition of prefix, they replied that it should be something like Lynjoy’s Glam Queen Nail Salon. Oh di ba?!? Ang panget!

That’s when it dawned on me that I have to think of something unique. Since we are applying for National scope, I know that it would be harder to have our business name approved if it is generic.

I thought of TALUZ (that’s Talag Cruz, I know right?) but my sister rejected it, panget daw. I also thought of Allyson Nails after my daughter’s name but again it was not approved by the board of directors (which consists of me, my sister and Gibson).

Using different anagrams of the word NAIL/NAILS, I came up with SLIAN which is nails written/read backwards. Finally!

And if you wonder how to pronounce it then let me tell you. It is IS-LA-YAN. Not Ice-la-yan, or Is-li-yan. It is IS-LA-YAN. Getz?

The Logo

I hired a graphic artist to do my logo. He is the same graphic artist who did the graphic layout and logo design of my other sister’s restaurant venture. Sure, I can create my own logo using different free tools on the web but do I have the artistry and time to come up with something nice? I don’t think so. I also commissioned my graphic artist to design our service menu which will act as our flyers as well.

When starting out, you can make/do things on your own to save your precious moolah. But don’t scrimp on things that are important to you. Don’t take too much time on tasks that you can delegate and pay someone to do on your behalf. Believe me, it will save your sanity.

The Location

I know that location can make or break a business. And I know that just like hiring people, you should never rush taking the first available one. We have inquired several places before we finally found our current location. The building is brand new. It has lots of foot traffic. It is near several schools where dedicated mommies can unwind while waiting for their children’s dismissal. And it is buzzing with people. Perfect!

We are located in 35 M.H. Del Pilar St., Palasan, Valenzuela. Few steps away from Polo National High school and Polo Church. Same building as Producers Bank.

The Staff

Ahhh… finding the right people. You think it’s easy but it actually isn’t. I have this idea that people will come rush to our place once I put on the ‘Hiring’ sign but they haven’t. The turn-out of applicants is not what I expected and I don’t want to hire someone just because I need them urgently. One business advice I read – Hire Slow, Fire Fast.

I want to hire people who has good personality. Skills and knowledge can be learned but personality? It’s difficult to train someone who lacks it.

To be fair to myself, I haven’t concentrated much on this yet but after this post, please expect some downtime from me since I will give my 100% attention on finding and hiring the right staff who deserves to be part of our winning team. Just like how I highly value our customers, for me the staff is equally valuable as well. They are the forefront of our business. They are a big part of the business’ success (and failure).

You know how I try to empower people around me, I also want my staff to learn a lot and believe that they can achieve greater things in life. They might love being manicurist but I want them to be the Greatest Manicurist ever. I want them to be inspired that their life will be better and they can dream high.

I told you that I will have as many SLIAN NAILS as possible in my lifetime, right? My goal is for them to learn the ins and outs of running the business so they can manage one of the shops next time. I want to train them, groom them and inspire them that everything is possible. Even owning their own nail salon is achievable.

Again, we are only limited by how far our mind can reach so always reach for the star.

The Fit-Out

Another surprise for me. My naive business-self thought that I can set-up a proper nail salon with just 150K pesos. Who am I kidding? With the interior, lay-out, ambiance and design that I want, the cost is more than half a million pesos. And we are just half-way through.

But you know what, aside from the fact that it’s still way cheaper compared if I set it up in Dubai, I want our nail salons to be the best neighborhood salons in the Philippines. Although we are priced similarly with other small beauty salons in the country, the experience we will provide to our customers will be truly luxurious and comparable to our more expensive counterparts.

If I need to spend more for our customers to feel special, so be it. When planning on how our salon will look and operate, I have very clear instructions to our engineer that I want the place to feel elegant, homey, relaxing  and chic.

          Hello, hindi lang sa BGC and Makati may sosyal na manicure place noh!

Here’s our fit-out team making sure we are ready for our February 22 Grand Opening!
The Story of Slian Nails The Story of Slian Nails

The Financials

Some risk takers will find a capitalist that is willing to invest on their business and this type of businessmen have nothing to lose (more or less) except their face and ego. I think Tom & Serg of Dubai are a good example of this.

Others will take a loan and start a business. I have nothing against this but I won’t personally take this route (except maybe to expand later on). Same with resigning on my current job, my stress might sky-rocket if I have taken a big loan and risk on spending the money on my first business venture. Again, this is not a financial advice, this is my own personal experience and opinion.

For SLIAN NAILS, we are using our savings which is just lying in the bank for sometime now. We all know that our money won’t grow in banks no matter how much interest it generates so better think of ways on how to multiply it.

But can I tell you something? Having not enough capital is never an excuse if you really want to start. The owner of Orange Blush Salon starts her successful business with just 30 thousand pesos.  It’s not about the money you have right now. It’s about our guts and belief that we can do this.

When crunching some numbers and trying to figure out our ROI, I realized that I need someone who is more intelligent than me with numbers. I shouldn’t rely with my stock knowledge and I have no time to learn how to do balance sheet and figure my assets and liabilities.

I am very lucky to have a very generous, intelligent sister who happens to be a licensed CPA. She agrees to look into my figures and gave some valuable insights on how I should price and the things I should consider and watch out for with regards to sales and expenses. The financial analysis she did for me provides enough data to make proper projections.

Unless you are willing to do it yourself, go and hire a trusted accountant. They are very important.


OK. I think this post is long enough and don’t want to bore you to death. Besides, I have nothing much to share at this point. This is Part 1 since I plan to update this post later on when I have more information to share.

Any topics I missed? Any other questions you have? Ask away! And if you are a business owner now and wants to share your experience when starting out, you are more than welcome 🙂

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