The Vermont Cynic | Student creates dorm room nail salon
First year Devon Whelchel sits at her desk in UHeights South, preparing her table, and making colorful polishes for her next client.
Whelchel started offering manicure services in her dorm this semester, she said. She has set up a studio at her desk, complete with polish cases, grooming tools and towels for clients to put their wrists on. After hanging flyers at UHeights South, Whelchel said he gained 15 customers.
Whelchel offers a gel manicure service in a variety of colors for $ 25, which lasts up to a month and keeps nails healthy while allowing them to grow without becoming brittle, she said.
Whelchel’s manicures started out as a self-care practice, but as her skills increased, she decided to expand her services, she said.
“I was addicted to getting my nails done, and eventually I decided I should try it myself because it’s so expensive to get them done in a salon,” Whelchel said. “For me, it’s an art form, and that’s what excites me.”
Whelchel said she started doing her own nails in quarantine, as she worried about nail salons closing and having nowhere to find her self-care solution.
Friends started asking her to do her nails and when she arrived at UVM Whelchel decided to take the manicure seriously and start charging for it, she said.
One of her clients, first year Jocelyn Beecher, said she was impressed by the professionalism of Whelchel’s work.
“It was like a little spa right in Devon’s room,” Beecher said. “I think it’s so convenient to have it on campus, and it’s really cheap compared to going to a salon in Burlington.”
Siena Webb, first year, said she preferred the experience to a local nail technician.
“It was super convenient, and she’s really flexible in her schedule,” said Webb. “It was more intimate, like I was hanging out with a friend rather than paying someone to do my nails.”
Lounges around Burlington charge between $ 30 and $ 50 for the same service Whelchel offers, before tip. For example, Heavenly Beauty Spa in Winooski charges over $ 40, according to their website.
“I don’t pretend to be a business, I just love to do that,” Whelchel said. “It makes people happy. “
Nail technicians in Vermont must complete 200 hours of training in how to trim, trim and paint nails in order to become certified and work in a salon in accordance with the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation.
In Vermont, nail technicians must be certified to work in any salon, according to Title 26 of the Vermont statutes. Whelchel isn’t too concerned that someone asks her to shut down her services, she said.
Whelchel only offers gel manicures, however, as acrylic services require a license, she said.
Whelchel said she wasn’t there for the money, although she likes having a little extra cash from that side gig. Manicure is a way of expressing oneself and offering people an alternative to nail salon prices that may be too high for a college student.
Whelchel will keep her operation running and hopes to gain more clients and experience while continuing to follow her passion, she said.