Do you sometimes feel your dreams are elusive, as if each time you reach for them, they slip through your fingers? Our journeys don’t always lead us down a straight path. Sometimes there are detours or long periods of waiting before we can accomplish our goals. What we need is patience and perseverance, attributes that are not always cultivated in our fast-paced, just-do-it, get-your-fix-now culture. This is why Rina’s story is such a breath of fresh air. The dedication, patience, and hard work she put into becoming a small business owner, despite many challenges, is the inspiration I needed to keep me going during this crazy year.
‘I always knew I wanted to run my own business, even before I decided to go into beauty.’ Rina’s early dedication to her dream is evident as she worked in her spare time while studying beauty in South Africa. But the road to achieving her goal wasn’t straightforward: Soon after she married and had her first child, she relocated to Ireland. Living far away from her support network with a young baby was a big adjustment, and due to the country’s immigration laws, she wasn’t permitted to work for five years.
‘Those five years were challenging because I was so used to working and earning my own money from a young age.’ While her determination to become a business owner was still unwavering, she suddenly found herself living as someone’s dependant, a feeling she didn’t like. ‘It was frustrating. I felt like there was a big part of my identity I couldn’t express. But I’m fortunate because my husband’s support made those five years much more bearable.’
‘She used her time to expand her skills […] and to explore new areas of interest.’
Rina decided to be proactive and make the most of her situation. The first thing she did was to build a social- and support network. ‘The move to Ireland was tough in the sense that you don’t have any immediate friends or family members to support you, and I had two young children during this time. So, I got involved in local social activities and this helped me to stay sane!’ She also used her time to expand her skills by attending various beauty courses and to explore new areas of interest, like photography. She says it was crucial for her to stay up to date with the beauty industry’s latest developments. Even though these ‘waiting years’ were challenging, she never lost sight of her dream.
As soon as she was able to work again, things started to fall into place. Rina often did her friends’ nails to maintain her skills and a woman from a local business noticed her work and approached her with an opportunity to work at her salon. The timing couldn’t have been better, and Rina accepted the offer. ‘My year at the salon was invaluable. It gave me the opportunity to better understand clients’ needs and expectations.’ Working with clients after so many years, and in a different cultural environment, was a major learning curve for her. But it was the perfect opportunity to immerse herself in the local client service dynamic and it enriched her knowledge of the local market. Rina also developed her managerial skills by taking on additional responsibilities while the owner was on maternity leave. This was an excellent way for her to build her confidence and it prepared her to manage her own business.
Things kept moving and changing, nudging Rina towards her dream. When the owner of the salon announced she was planning to sell the business, Rina knew the time had come for her to take the next step, and she looked into renting premises for her own business. There were time pressures, however, and the only available space was a small room in another beauty salon, but she decided to take the plunge, even if it meant starting small. ‘There were a few frantic weeks as we got everything ready. The salon closed on the 30th of March and I opened Signature Nails by Rina on the 2nd of April! I only had two tables for nails, and no space for a reception area, but I knew it wasn’t permanent. It was a start!’
Rina shares how she came up with the name for her business: ‘After finishing a client’s nails, she told me, “Wow, they’re so beautiful. It’s like having your signature on my nails.”’ This stuck with me, and by the time I was ready to start my own business, I knew I wanted to call it Signature Nails by Rina.’
‘Finding a balance between work and her three children can be tough at times, but Rina takes it in her stride.’
Rina was six months pregnant with their third child at the time, but she was determined to get her business off to a good start. Her knowledge and extensive skill set, along with the loyal clients she had gained over the previous year, were all coming together to give her new business the best possible start. She was booked weeks in advance soon after opening. She could barely keep up with the demand and was thankful for the support from the nail technician from the previous salon who joined her team. By the time her baby was born, Signature Nails by Rina took on two more nail technicians who helped her to keep things going until she could get back to work. Finding a balance between work and her three children can be tough at times, but Rina takes it in her stride. ‘I love what I do. Even though there are challenges and some late nights, I just love seeing my clients and working.’
‘Rina’s story shows that hard work and patience pays off when you’re working towards your dream.’
Just as she got back to working a couple of days a week, the Irish government announced that the country was going into lockdown due to the Corona virus pandemic, and the salon closed on 14 March 2020. This did not stop Rina from thinking of new ways to help her clients. She did a course on press-on nails and offered this service to her clients during the lockdown. It wasn’t long before word about her press-on nails spread and soon she was taking orders from across the county! The press-on nails were hard work and took around three to five hours per set. ‘Even though it was hard work, I wanted to do something nice for my clients during this difficult time. I’ve had so many people reach out to me saying that to have their nails done helped them feel better and brought a little joy into their lives. This made it worth it.’ This has always been at the heart of what beauty means to her. ‘When I was fourteen, my brother’s friend got stood up for his farewell dance and I said I would go with him. This was the first time I had my nails done. The woman who did my nails made me feel so special and I decided right there that I wanted to make other people feel just as good about themselves.’
But our story isn’t done yet! Life was still nudging Rina onwards and upwards. Shortly before businesses could reopen, the owner of the premises informed Rina that she would not be reopening in the same capacity. After some talks, Rina signed an extended lease that would allow her to expand her business. Then the reopening date for some small businesses after the lockdown moved forward by three weeks, which gave Rina only a week to get everything ready before she ushered in a new era for her business! With the support of family and friends, everything was ready in time for the opening of Signature Nails and Beauty by Rina. After a long wait, many challenges and curveballs, Rina is now the owner of her own beauty salon.
Rina’s story shows that hard work and patience pays off when you’re working towards your dream: by never losing sight of her goals, putting in the long hours, developing her skills, and harnessing deep reserves of patience, she was able to maximise the opportunities that came her way.
Thank you for sharing your story with the Wild Library blog, Rina, I have no doubt that you will continue to go from strength to strength! To learn more abour Rina’s business, head over to her Facebook page.
Have a wonderful day!