Drexel University is bustling with people of different walks of life. The campus is grounds not only for sociability but also for developing a community, and that entails supporting the small businesses within it. While there are not shops set up around campus, students have gotten creative with establishing themselves.
Freshman product design major and Philadelphia native Juliet Wang-Herrera uses her passion for design for her side-hustle as a nail artist.
“The short version as to why that’s my passion is because I simply wanted to,” she joked. “My professional answer is that I just wanted to be a designer. Product design allows me to explore that in a more intensive way.”
Seeing how in her free time she is constantly creating and exploring new mediums, Wang-Herrera has expanded that into creating nail extensions and press-ons for students who cannot have long nails but want the artistic appeal of acrylics. Her art style mainly consists of 3D work and bright colors that are reflected within her products.
Wang-Herrera provides acrylic and gel services and sells press ons to those who may be more comfortable with them. She also does soak offs and nail repairs for her clients. A Westphal student, Wang-Herrera is able to use her tools as her paintbrushes and her clients’ nails as the canvas in order to create beautiful works of art. From nails displaying intricate designs that are reminiscent of celebrities such as Kali Uchis to others that show cute characters such as Kirby and Hello Kitty, she is not only showing her skills but helping her customers wear their personalities on their fingers.
“I welcome everyone to my desk but I’m really trying to reach people who love nails as much as I do and want to explore different textures and styles that they wouldn’t get at your typical nail salon,” said Wang-Herrera.
When asked what makes her shop different to others, she explained that she is willing to try new things with her clients.
“Everyone showcases their creativity in different ways, ways that in some cases I have never thought of. I am willing to go that extra mile and make sure that my clients are happy. I will listen to your stories too. When you sit with me, I like to say you’re getting a two in one special: beautiful nails and someone to lend you an ear. That’s how my customers and I end up becoming good friends by the end of it.”
Describing her brand in one word, Wang-Herrera said, “Layered. Just like people, I like to say that my work comes in layers both physically and metaphorically. On the surface level, my tools are there to help perform the task successfully but the way I look at it is that each buff I make, every coat of polish is a reflection of the person sitting at my table. There’s different formulas and different layers within my process to get to that end result. I am also someone with layers. It’s not just one version of me that I’m willing to show. I’m also willing to help others do the same.”
Find her on Instagram (@nails.byjuliet) to schedule an appointment. Her prices range from $30-$90.
This article is part of a column dedicated to supporting small businesses on Drexel University’s campus.