Angela Jia Kim

Savor Beauty + Spa / Savor the Success - CEO + Founder
New York, NY
http://www.savorbeauty.com

    Ask and you shall receive (my secret weapon to making stuff happen)

    August 9, 2012

    You know when you start to feel stuck? You know what I'm talking about... that frustrated feeling when obstacles are thrown your way.

    Well, that happened to me about a month ago. This is a story that involves manicures, pedicures, and nail techs. This is what I looked like a month ago: 

    The idea to start offering mani/pedi services at my boutique spa in the West Village came to me when my business colleague and I wanted to have a meeting over mani/pedis. We couldn't find a (clean) quiet environment that was condusive to creative brainstorming and planning.

    It dawned on me that if we couldn't find it, I could create it!

    My team and I researched the most sterile and eco-friendly options (um, it's horrifying how dirty and non-sterile most nail salons are), surveyed our clients, ordered supplies, and set up shop. We announced this new upcoming service on our sidewalk chalkboard in bright orange and yellow.

    To our delight, people started coming in to inquire, and we started a waiting list for those who wanted to pre-book on the spot. 

    We crafted our job description and sent it out into the world via Craigslist where we find most of our amazing therapists. We braced ourselves for the influx of emails and applications. 

    Silence. 

    Huh? Wait a minute. There must be a mistake. Post again. 

    Two applications came in. We excitedly made appointments for interviews. Like kids waiting for lollipops, my staff waited by the window to greet our nail techs at their slotted interview time.

    No shows. 

    Ask and you shall receive. That's my motto. When stuck, bring out your inner Nancy Drew and ask questions. Lots of 'em.  

    I walked around my neighborhood and popped my head into a nail salon. I asked the owner, with whom I'm friendly, all sorts of questions about the nail industry. How do I find certified nail technicians? How much should I pay? Did she want to share employees? (No.)

    She gave me a lot of inside information that was helpful, but she couldn't provide all the answers I needed... so I didn't give up. 

    I began walking around again saying to myself, "There are so many nail techs in all of these NYC salons. Where are they coming from?" 

    I popped my head into another nail salon and saw a nail tech sitting at the front desk.

    "Hi... I know this is a strange question, but how did you find your job here?" 

    She handed over a Chinese newspaper and motioned to call the number listed. 

    Voila. I had my answer. We placed an ad and a week later, we had our first nail tech on staff. 

    There have been many bumps along the way, but nothing too big that we can't handle. For example, we found out that most nail technicians are not necessarily certified or legal. Since that's a non-negotiable for us, it's been a challenge to find more qualified nail techs. But we'll get there by asking questions, casting nets, and pounding the pavement. 

    So what does this story have to do with you? If you are building a business, this story is your story. When launching a new product or service, there are bound to be issues, bumps, and challenges. It's what you do with those challenges that matters. Most people get stuck right there. When you find yourself in that situation, don't isolate yourself and feel frustrated. Get out and ask questions

    And that's my secret weapon. After all, how do you think this former-concert-pianist-turned-entrepreneur-with-absolutely-zero-spa-experience opened a boutique spa in the West Village? :)

    (Hey, come check us out and be inspired by what's possible! Every single thing - and I mean every single thing from skincare to gifts to facials to mani/pedis - was created out of asking questions. And book a mani/pedi business meeting, too. It's so much fun to feed your brain and nourish your body at the same time.)

    Your Homework Assignment: Take a moment to think about your business. Where do you feel stuck? What questions can you ask and who can answer them for you? I know, it's easy to feel like a fool when asking, but hey... isn't feeling like a fool for a moment worth it to get some answers that can help you to move forward? 


    Angela Jia Kim is a woman entrepreneur advocate, organic lifestyle guru, doting mom, New York City (not house)wife, and author-in-the-making.

    She uses her organic skincare business, Om Aroma, to empower and inspire other business owners by openly sharing mistakes (the kind most sweep under the rug) and lessons learned (the kind most keep as secrets to get ahead).

    She believes that building business is directly tied to self growth, that it takes a village to raise a business, and that your business is meant to serve the life you want to live. 

    Read Angela Jia 's other blog entries >

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