Mobile nail salon shows the beauty of entrepreneurship
Just as the Great Recession gave rise to a generation of food truck entrepreneurs, Jadomté Mobile Nail Bar is finding its niche during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of providing manicures and pedicures from a brick and mortar location, owner and nail artist Sabrina Mahupete built the Jadomté salon inside a trailer, allowing her to hitch up the shop and bring services to clients all around Omaha.
The business is getting “busier and busier,” according to Sabrina, but the mobile nail bar has no crowded waiting area. Services are available by appointment only, and with a limit of two clients in the shop at a time, COVID-conscious guests to Jadomté are guaranteed a personalized and physically-distanced experience.
“People appreciate the privacy and the convenience,” Sabrina said, noting that the mobile salon concept has been particularly popular with customers in senior communities.
“They love it because they’re getting a full salon right at their front door.”
Despite launching Jadomté amidst a pandemic, Sabrina was not discouraged. She had decided to start the business not long after losing her job in 2018 due to corporate layoffs.
“I was laid off in October, I went to nail school the first week of November, and I was done with nail school by the end of February,” Sabrina said.
Having the opportunity to start a mobile salon upon completing school was yet another timely event. Only months before Sabrina was laid off, Nebraska state licensing laws still required cosmetology and nail salons to be brick and mortar operations.
Jadomté Mobile Nail Bar owner and nail artist Sabrina Mahupete.
Former State Sen. Laura Ebke, now a Senior Fellow at the Platte Institute, introduced Legislative Bill 790 that year, which legalized mobile beauty businesses.
Ebke sponsored the bill after hearing from a constituent who wanted to replace his brick and mortar hair salon with a mobile business operated out of an RV.
“His clients were getting older and couldn’t make it into town anymore,” Ebke said.
The bill faced no opposition in committee and was even amended to allow barbers to start their own mobile businesses.
Ebke said some officials, though supportive, wondered whether mobile personal care businesses would be a viable way to make a living.
“I told them, it isn’t our job as legislators to figure out how these businesses will make money, it’s our job to give them the chance to try,” Ebke said.
The bill was amended into a package of licensing legislation passed on the final day of the 2018 session.
“Unless somebody comes in and shakes things up, lawmakers may not see the possibilities,” Ebke said.
Sabrina plans for Jadomté to shake up the beauty industry even more. An increasing number of states are joining Nebraska in adopting laws permitting mobile nail salons, growing the potential markets for her business.
She plans to expand her fleet of mobile salons, serving more customers in Omaha, and to build a model for franchising the Jadomté brand in other states.
The goal is to make Jadomté a household name. Though in one way, it already is. Sabrina created the brand by combining her son and daughter’s names, along with her married name.
“Jadomté is everything that’s important to me,” Sabrina said.
And like having a family, having a small business brought a change in perspective from her previous role at a major corporation.
“At a company that’s already established, they tell you what you need to do, and you just do it, and it helps the bottom line,” Sabrina said.
“But when you have to do everything on your own, it gives you a newfound respect for the entrepreneur. It’s a lot of work,” Sabrina said.
But the work is beginning to pay off, as more customers continue to show their support for Jadomté, both for its unique business model and for adding to Omaha’s Black-owned business community.
“The general consensus is: ‘Oh, my goodness, this is amazing,’” Sabrina said.
“Everyone is busy and convenience is key, so if people only have to go outside their door to get their nails done, that’s just one less thing for them to do,” Sabrina said.