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MBA Profile: Susan Aflak of La Lacquerie Mobile Nail Salon

May 7, 2014 2:47 pm0 commentsViews: 888
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Susan Aflak of La Lacquerie Mobile Nail Salon

Susan Aflak once was an investment banker in Los Angeles, spending her days crunching numbers. She was so busy she had no time for a salon appointment, or even a lunch in a sit down restaurant. Aflak was working long Wall Street type hours, and she would run out to the street at lunch time and grab a quick bite at a food truck. That was when the idea hit her – If only there was a convenient truck or kiosk for beauty errands.

And that is how La Lacquerie Mobile Nail Salon was born. The mobile nail salon caters to the demographic to which Aflak once belonged: over worked, over stressed female professionals who want to squeeze in a manicure or pedicure when they have a few minutes to spare.

The nail salon is in an Airstream trailer from the 1960s that she drives around the San Francisco metro area. It has become quite popular with people who work at Google, YouTube, Facebook and Gap. Those companies actually offer all employees weekly pampering from the mobile business.

Aflak quite her finance job in 2012, and enrolled in beauty school so she could earn her manicurist license. She also spent a few months learning the nail business from the inside out. Her business is still new and her staff is just starting to grow. Right now, Aflak still does many manicures and pedicures herself.

Aflak put aside her finance MBA degree (earned at UCLA – Anderson School of Management) and dove fully into her new nail business. She found and fixed up the Airstream trailer, which she bought used on Craigs List. She had to figure out how to get both power and running water in the trailer, and had to be sure that the trailer was up to code with the CA Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

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She works in her trailer at least five days per week, and has to fill up on gas and water every day. She also has to spend 1-2 hours on set up every time she moves locations.

Her business is not like a food truck business, where the trailer just pops up anywhere and sells a few manicures. Aflak goes to businesses and markets her services through them.

Aflak is not catering to pedestrian traffic, and she works with businesses who want her services for one full day onsite. Employees of the companies also can book appointments on her website. Or, they can just come into the trailer on the day that the business is there.

Aflak landed Google as her first big corporate client, which has helped to make her business mostly recession proof. She found that her roster of clients grew fast when people saw her trailer rolling around town. She had the trailer painted pink, so it really stands out on the street.

She has not really been able to cut down on her hours: The busy professional now has to spend long hours working in and around her trailer. But she is very happy to put in all of this time to make her own business a success.

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