From Nes Nails to Nu U: A Nail Salon’s Journey of Transformation and Empowerment
By Alterna Team
February 01, 2024

Formerly known as Nes Nails, Nu U Nails & Spa has undergone a remarkable evolution under the dedicated leadership of Yanesi, its passionate owner. What started as a part-time venture in 2017 has blossomed into a thriving salon and spa that stands as a testament to resilience, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to community.

The Early Years: In 2019, after 11 years as an underwriter, Yanesi took the bold leap into full-time entrepreneurship. Initially starting with manicures, by the end of the year Nu U Nails & Spa expanded its offerings to include pedicures, marking the beginning of a journey filled with growth and new possibilities.  The demand for their services led to hiring their first employee in 2020, and they set up shop in the basement of a local hair salon.

The Milestones: Fast forward to December 2023, and Nu U Nails & Spa has not only survived but flourished. Nestled in a vibrant storefront for over a year, the salon has become a go-to destination for expertly crafted manicures, pedicures, nail extensions, and intricate nail art.  Specializing in laser hair removal with a focus on diverse skin tones, they’ve expanded their services to include facials, waxing, and tailored grooming experiences for men.

Overcoming Challenges: Success never seems to come without challenges. In December 2022, an unexpected relocation brought about various hurdles, from construction and equipment upgrades to hiring and branding.  Traditional lenders turned them away, but a turning point came when Yanesi connected with ACBN and secured a $15,000 microloan from Alterna’s Community Microfinance Program. This funding proved crucial in overcoming the obstacles of their sudden expansion.

Looking Forward: With a very busy 2023, Yanesi is looking forward to becoming more engaged in the Alterna Microfinance community, taking advantage of the wraparound supports offered. Yanesi encourages other entrepreneurs, “I wholeheartedly recommend Alterna’s Community Microfinance Program to fellow entrepreneurs; the transformative impact of even a modest amount is truly remarkable.”

Empowering the Community: Nu U Nails & Spa isn’t just a salon, it’s a beacon of representation and empowerment.  Black History Month holds special significance, allowing them to bring visibility to an industry where their presence is often overlooked. The salon takes pride in offering employment opportunities for black women and creating a space where aspiring high school students can witness the achievability of their dreams.  Providing co-op opportunities and volunteer hours makes a positive impact and strengthens their connection with the community, turning every moment into a cause for celebration.

Alterna is proud to have played a small part in Nu U Nails & Spa’s success but recognizes that Yanesi’s passion, resilience, and community spirit drive it. As they continue to make waves in the beauty and wellness industry, Nu U is a shining example of how a small business can overcome challenges, thrive, and give back to their community.