Today’s talent is Laura T. Ngoma a 23-year-old, third-year student studying for her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in China. She is a self-taught nail technician who makes custom press nails trading under the brand name Buffed Aura Nails.
What inspired you to become a nail technician?
The thing that inspired me the most is my passion to express myself through art. I grew up loving art and I remember always painting my nails with markers and pencils because we were not allowed to wear nails in school. As I grew older, I started doing research about nails and trying out different techniques. When the pandemic hit in China we were at the epicentre and were the first to go into lockdown. It was during that time that I decided to buy some nail supplies and start providing manicures to fellow students since saloons were shut down. That was the birth of my nail business and I have since managed to grow my client portfolio. My mum is an entrepreneur, and she is my biggest motivation.
How easy was it for you to start the business considering you are also a full-time student?
I am by nature an introvert as such when I started my business I had only a few contacts I could approach. So, I resorted to promoting my work through social media in the hope that people would warm up to the idea I was selling however, it was a slow build-up. Eventually, I learnt to grow my network and word of mouth has helped me reach out to more potential customers. I am still working on my social media and using various marketing strategies such as producing quality content and connecting with more people through groups and other platforms. Creating good content for social media is not easy as it is time demanding considering I also must balance business with school. However, I found that a little planning goes a long way towards helping me find my balance. Another challenge is that due to high shipping rates, and high minimum order weight, it has been a challenge to get my products to potential clients in other countries. As of now I only ship my press-on nails to Zimbabwe but hope to expand to other markets eventually.
What are some of the milestones that you have achieved since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
I started my Instagram with just thirty followers, but I now sit at 1500 organic followers, something I am proud of because it means other people are starting to notice my work. I also have no business experience, nor have I taken a business course in school so starting this business with less than $100 to make it a profitable project is also something I am well pleased about. My brand is still a work in progress and I have every intention of growing it into something bigger.
What is the big picture i.e., where to from here?
From here I would like to increase my service offering and one day open a saloon and beauty school. Upon completion of my degree, I look forward to establishing a career in the Chemical engineering field. While there are many fields for me to consider such as pharmaceutical, chemical production and petroleum, my desire is to work for an organisation that’s focused on reducing or eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals and materials in the design, manufacture, and application of their products. I would love to promote sustainable development and play my part in reducing global warming without compromising the needs of future generations. Furthering my studies is on the books as well.
Word of advice to others reading your story?
Just keep going, people will laugh and watch you sweat but that should not stop you from being what you want to be.
One interesting fact about you?
Before I started doing press on nails, I was a freelance photographer