Big businesses have been known to oppress small businesses, but diversity inclusion has also been a challenge for economic stability in the United States. Inclusivity even means supporting local Black-owned businesses. There are six reasons why everyone should support Black-owned businesses: closes the racial gap, strengthens local economies, fosters job creation, celebrates black culture and serves Communities, holds other companies accountable and prospers visibility and representation in the green economy.
The Albion Pleiad aims to spotlight local Black-owned businesses. Though a few articles in this series are dedicated towards Black History Month, like this one, it’s important to note that celebrating Black-owned businesses is just as necessary beyond BHM.
High Class Nails by Jada
Jada Stewart, a sophomore from Chicago, is an economics and management major and president of Black Student Alliance. Stewart began her business selling lashes her junior year of high school then moved to only doing nails in 2019. Her business is called High Class Nails by Jada.
“I had finished my freshman year at Albion College, and then I had started practicing doing nails over the summer instead of getting a summer job,” said Stewart. “During the summertime, I do internships and I work, so I just wanted to take a break and try to learn something new. So, I invested my time and money doing [nails].”
Stewart is a self-taught nail technician and learned her craft watching YouTube videos and practicing on her family and friends. Doing nails is beyond a source of income for Stewart, it’s also a way to express her form of art. Another reason why Stewart began doing nails is because it is more convenient and less expensive for her to do it herself than paying at a nail salon.
“It takes a lot of patience,” said Stewart. “It’s a lot of trial and error, I can say that.”
Along with doing nails, Stewart stopped selling lashes and brainstormed supplements to sell.
“I stopped selling lashes because I realized that I should sell something that compliments nails,” said Stewart. “I plan on creating a hand scrub that I can distribute to my customers and use on them when I’m doing their nails to get a soft effect to their hands when they’re receiving their services.”
Business for Stewart was a challenge after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. When Stewart began her nail business in 2019, she would do nails either in her dorm room or in her clientele’s dorm room, but the strong scents of monomer, nail liquid, made it hard for Stewart to work. With the Together Safely rules, which prohibit dorm-to-dorm travel, Stewart hasn’t been able to do nails on campus.
Business, however, looks different for Stewart at Chicago than at Albion.
“When I’m at home, I work at a shop,” said Stewart. “I’m able to do nails as I want, anytime. I do nails freely at the shop. And I pay a booth rent where it’s just [easy] for me to have my personal space and my own personal station to do nails.”
Despite COVID-19 creating challenges, Stewart has seen improvements in her business since her first year at Albion and has since gained more experience. Along with this, Stewart has also spotted differences within her clientele in Chicago and Albion.
“There’s a difference in my clients as well,” said Stewart. “I noticed at Albion, girls typically like natural nails, versus Chicago, a lot of girls like the fake acrylic nails. My personal preference is the acrylic nails because you can get a little more creative with those sets. Definitely one of my favorite things to do.”
Although Stewart plans to follow a career path in law enforcement, she plans to continue her business in nails as well.
“Hopefully, in the long run, I can open up a shop, see how that goes, and hire other nail techs to be able to teach them and inspire them to continue on doing nails,” said Stewart.
Stewart’s uses Instagram as a major platform for her business. Potential clients can follow @j_sincer and click the link in her bio to book an appointment.