Chrishonna Daniels: The girl boss

Chrishonna Daniels opened her nail salon weeks after graduating from Pinellas Technical College.

ST. PETERSBURG — Chrishonna Daniels is an artist. She doesn’t paint on a canvas or sculpts with clay, but her creations are a work of art nonetheless. Her medium? Fingernails.

Daniels knew she wanted to be a nail artist since she was knee-high to a pedicure chair. Her mother is a nail technician, and she wanted to follow in her footsteps.

However, when it came time to choose a career, she enrolled in the Dental Assisting program on the St. Petersburg campus of Pinellas Technical College (PTC-STP). That nagging feeling of not following her childhood dream would not subside, and she found herself back at PTC-STP enrolling in the Nails Specialty program.

“I really enjoyed the class,” she said.

Daniels said one of her assigned chapters pertained to salon management. She knew then and there she would become a business owner.

“During the course, that’s when I realized that I wanted to actually have my own salon. The teacher was very helpful with things I would need to have.”

Daniels graduated from the 10-week program in June and opened Custom Beauty Spa at the end of July. She has a few part-time independent contractors and a PTC classmate to round out the nail technician staff.  With her mom being in the business for decades, she enlisted her to be a mentor.

With an entrepreneurial spirit, she leaped in headfirst into business ownership. Daniels said it is stressful but exciting.

“It’s nerve-wracking sometimes, but it makes me happy. I’m doing what I enjoy doing.”

Daniels did an extensive amount of research into opening a nail salon. She and her boyfriend ran the numbers, took their savings, and shopped around for used equipment from other salons.

“So, we did the research first just to see if it was even achievable with what we had. And it was, so we just went for it. We told ourselves: “We’re just going to go full force and jump out on faith.”

Located at 3600 49th St. N, the building had to be outfitted to house a salon. Daniels had to deal with contractors and everything that goes along with remodeling, but her biggest obstacle came after she opened.

“Getting people in the door, that’s the hardest work that I’m doing,” she admitted.

Daniels has picked up clientele from Facebook, Instagram, and a local coupon book. She hands out and posts flyers everywhere she goes, and some new clients are her mom’s old customers, anxious to support a woman-owned minority business.

The 28-year-old entrepreneur plans to enroll at PTC-SP once again to take the Facials Specialty course. When she completes the 260-hours program, she will be able to offer services such as waxing, microdermabrasion, and light therapy. For now, besides pedicures and manicures, she offers microblading, individual mink, and strip eyelash services.

Even though the Nail Specialty program is only 10 weeks long, obstacles have a way of derailing student success.  Daniels could have been one of those students, but she pressed on.

“Things are going to happen that will give you a reason to stop, but you got to remember why you started,” she advised. “Keep going even if it takes you a little longer to finish.”

Daniels’ two daughters are growing up watching their mom hone her craft as she did with hers. Both daughters are showing signs of artistry – the cycle continues.

About Nails Specialty program

The mission of the Nail Specialty program is to prepare students for employment as a Florida registered manicurists and pedicurists. The two-and-a-half-month program teaches manicuring, pedicuring, artificial nails, and nail art.

Students also learn communication, leadership, human relations and employability skills, safe and efficient work practices, Florida cosmetology law and rules, and salon management. Students must pass a written and practical (hands-on) examination to earn a certificate of completion.

 For more information on the more than 40 programs offered at PTC, visit or call 727-893-2500 in St. Pete and 727-538.7167 in Clearwater.

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