Catari Giglio, sophomore at Suffolk University is a full-time student and a nail technician. She also runs her own acrylic nail shop while she tries to manage all the challenges of college life.
Giglio’s affinity for nails began when she was 14. Giglio’s fascination for nails began when she was 14.
“I wanted to get [my nails] done so badly, but my parents couldn’t really afford to take me to the salon every two weeks,” Giglio said. “I got them done for my birthday one time and I fell in love with them so much, I wanted to have nails on all the time.”
Giglio was inspired and determined to learn how to apply acrylic nails.
“I found this really cheap beginners kit for acrylics at CVS,”She said. “And that’s when I just kind of started doing my own nails.”
What started out as a personal passion quickly turned into a business.
During her senior year of highschool, s. Giglio began taking clients and became a part-time nail technician. She is also a full-time student.
“It just developed into a business and into a passion, really. I love nails, it’s almost a little obsession. I appreciate not just how pretty they are, but also the technique that it takes to do them. Knowing how to handle the product, the brushes, there’s just so many things people don’t know that go into nails,” Giglio said.
It was easy for Giglio to bring her business to Suffolk when she arrived.
“I noticed that in the [student] group chats over the summer, right before freshman year, a lot of the girls were talking about ‘oh, we’re moving to Boston now, we need a new nail tech,’ and I [said], ‘Actually, I do nails and I’m going to be doing them at the dorms,’” Giglio said. “They were all so excited.”
Giglio even had a client in her freshman year of move-in. Word spread like wildfire.
In Suffolk, there were strict restrictions on occupancy and guests during Giglio’s freshman year. While Giglio said she was cautious to follow the restrictions for everyone’s safety, she noted that it added an additional challenge.
“It was a little difficult with restrictions, definitely, but I made sure to not have more than one person in my room at a time,”She said.
Giglio said that she also requested that clients wear masks during appointments.
Giglio was not faced with COVID-19 while she built her business at Suffolk. It can be difficult to manage her time between school and business, which was a challenge last year.
“I think one of the mistakes I made freshman year was that I didn’t have a set schedule for nail appointments, and even if I did, I kept making exceptions for people,” said Giglio.
To fix this, she stated that she took frequent breaks to concentrate on her own responsibilities.
Giglio stated that she has found a balance in her school and business since her freshman year. Giglio has been able manage her responsibilities better by setting a schedule and only scheduling appointments on weekends.
“I adore doing nails, I love it, and I wish I could dedicate more time to it than I actually do now, but there needs to be a balance with school,” Giglio said.
Looking to the future, Giglio admitted she wasn’t too sure where she saw her passion going, but said she would love to own a small nail studio for her to work out of.
While she said she didn’t see herself running a full salon, Giglio aspires to make her passion more than just a “side hustle.”She said that she is inspired by seeing her own growth in her art and to work harder towards her dreams.
“I have pictures from all the way back from when I started of nail sets that I used to do versus the ones I do now, and I think, at least for me, it’s so satisfactory to see the progress and see how much I’ve improved over the years,” Giglio said.
She said that her nail art has improved a lot since her first attempt, but she doesn’t think that is the only skill Giglio has learned. She says that her business has taught her valuable lessons about respecting and mediation in all types of situations.
“It’s taught me to deal with all kinds of different people, because even though I love it, it’s a customer service job and we know there can be complications with clients from time to time,”She said. “But I think it’s given me a better sense of how to treat people and how to treat people with respect, to have mutual professional communication even when someone is frustrating you.”