Following in Mom’s Footsteps

It’s not uncommon for nail technicians to have a family member who also shares the same trade. For several of these nail techs, they remember a part of their childhood spent in salons. Whether they initially planned on another profession or knew right away they would follow in their mother’s footsteps, these women share how their mothers played a specific role in finding their way into the nail industry.   


Salon: Fill 413 Nail Studio
Location: Waukesha, Wis.
Mother and Daughter Duo: Annette Calvillo (mother) and Kayleigh Eaton (daughter)
Their Story: Kayleigh Eaton got her first taste of the nail industry from being a hand model for Amy Becker, her mother’s mentor, for a nail competition. The following year at the International Salon and Spa Expo, Kayleigh would go on to be her mother’s hand model in the same competition. Annette recalls it was at the trade show where Kayleigh realized she wanted a career like her mother’s. “When I went to see vendors, she had to wait outside because she wasn’t certified. So she was people watching and said to me ‘I want to be in there with you.’” A few months later, Kayleigh enrolled in Bellus Academy in Poway, Calif. Annette always envisioned her daughter pursuing a creative career, but she didn’t want to influence her too much. “My first reaction was ‘Oh boy.’ I didn’t want to be responsible for her not liking it.” Despite her initial hesitation, she’s thrilled the two have this common ground. “Our journey here is very similar only we come from different generations,” Annette says.  

Kayleigh graduated in December and is currently living in San Diego, while Annette is running Fill 413 Nail Studio in Milwaukee. The pair hopes to one day to be business partners. “We can finish each other’s sentences and work really well together,” Annette says. She has a list of goals she wants to achieve, like building a brand and new product development. Although she is still ironing out the details, she is sure that she will have her daughter by her side while doing it. “We are trying to bridge the age gap as a mother and daughter team.”

Salon: Work Play Polish Blog (
Location: Ohio
Mother and Daughter Duo: Leslie Henry (mother) and Addison Henry (daughter)
Their Story: When Leslie Henry thinks of her time at nail school, she thinks of her mother. During college Leslie wanted to make a little extra money and decided to expand on her talent of doing nails. With a little coaxing, she convinced her mother to enroll in cosmetology school with her. Every morning the pair would wake up, put their smocks on, and punch their cards. They even took their state board exams side-by-side. Once Leslie graduated college, she focused on her career in the defense business and admits that doing nails fell by the wayside. Leslie’s mom passed away several years ago, but she still has fond memories of their shared time together. “I feel connected to her through nails more than anything, and it was a really neat time,” Leslie explains. Every year on Mother’s Day Leslie wears her vintage bottle of Zoya polish in remembrance of her mom. She found it in a box of her mom’s belongings after she passed away.

One generation later, Leslie rediscovered her passion for nails through her daughter Addison. The two even started a nail blog together, which would eventually turn into Leslie’s popular nail art blog Work Play Polish. Although Addison isn’t currently considering going into the nail industry, the two still use the shared interest as time to bond with one another. “It was her first homecoming this year, and I told her I could do some of her classmates’ nails too,” she says. Before Leslie knew it, she had a living room full of girls lined up for manicures. “She likes to tell her friends how many Instagram followers I have,” Leslie laughs. “It’s nice how things have come full circle.”

Salon: Salon Glow
Location: Reno, Nev.
Mother and Daughter Duo: Kathy Dent (mother) and Danielle Lindberg (daughter)
Their Story: Kathy and Danielle have co-owned Salon Glow for the past nine years. Rather than Danielle following in her mother’s footsteps, it was Danielle who had experience in the nail industry first.

Three years into her own nail career, Danielle asked her boss if there was an opening at the salon for her mother. “She said, ‘Would you two want to buy the salon from me?’”

Kathy and Danielle were both onboard and purchased what was formerly known as Paragon Nails renaming it Salon Glow. The two treat one another as business partners and split everything from the cleaning to management 50/50. “We jump in wherever things need to get done,” Kathy says.

Despite the belief that one should keep his or her personal and work lives separate, these two see it as an opportunity to remain close with one another.

“We schedule to get our nails done every two weeks. It’s a standing appointment. It gives us time to catch up on our own lives and also talk about issues that might be occurring in the salon,” Kathy explains.

With Salon Glow’s 10-year anniversary approaching in October, the two attribute their salon success to good communication and trust. “You have to talk about things that are uncomfortable,” Kathy says. “There are times when we disagree, but you have to be able to collaborate.”

According to Danielle the trust comes into play when there are disagreements. “If one of us feels strongly about something then we have enough trust in the other to go in that direction,” Danielle says.

Salon: Bromfield Nails
Location: Boston
Mother and Daughter Duo: Lien Tran (mother) and Sarah Tran (daughter)
Their Story: Sarah Tran was the only one of five siblings who remembers enjoying her time at the salon growing up. Rather than going to day care she would follow her mother to work and watch her take care of clients. It was then she decided that she could see herself working alongside her mom. “Always being there really made me want to follow in her footsteps,” Sarah explains.

In November 2000, Lien opened Bromfield Nails in downtown Boston. Sarah started working for her mother at the age of 16. At first Lien was reluctant to let her daughter take after her trade. When Lien entered the nail industry it wasn’t an easy transition, but being a single mother with five children left her no choice. “She wanted her kids to have the American Dream, and wanted us to become doctors and lawyers,” Sarah says. Sarah has been working for her mother for six years and Lien has had a change of heart with her daughter’s decision. “After seeing how much I enjoyed it, she gets it now,” Sarah says.

While Sarah isn’t 100% sure if this will be a lifelong career, she has gained an extra admiration for her mother.     

“We understand each other way more. Her life revolves around work and when she needs someone to talk to I can be there for her because we both have experienced similar situations,” Sarah says. “It’s not easy working for the family because they have such high expectations, but I’m glad my mom knows she has someone she can rely on.”

Salon: Stailey’s Salon and Barber Shop
Location: McKinney, Texas
Mother and Daughter Duo: Vicki Jones (mother) and Kristie Cole (daughter)
Their Story: Stailey’s Salon is the definition of a mom-and-pop shop. Vicki Jones remembers as a young girl when Stailey’s started out in her parents’ garage. Vicki has been a nail tech at Stailey’s for 15 years. Although she is a nurse, she spends her down time in the salon. Stailey’s has three nail techs, one of whom is Vicki’s daughter Kristie. The mother and daughter duo complement each other well. Kristie describes herself as more laid-back, while her mother likes to take the lead.

Like her mother, Kristie grew up in a salon atmosphere, but she didn’t plan on joining the family business. It was her grandmother Jean who encouraged her to work at Stailey’s. “I was really close to my grandmother,” Kristie says. “She believed in hard work and made very good nail technicians and hairdressers.” Vicki also viewed her mother as the driving force that kept the business going.  

Stailey’s is approaching its 50th anniversary. Kristie compares the salon to Truvy’ s Beauty Parlor in Steel Magnolias. “Everyone kind of knew Stailey’s, especially when McKinney was smaller,” Kristie says. Kristie admits there are challenges when it comes to running a family-owned business, but explains it’s just part of the territory. “A family business is a family business. Don’t get me wrong you have your fights, but you have a lot of good times too,” she says.

Salon: Sassy Hair Skin Nails
Location: Rockford, Ill.
Mother and Daughter Trio: Brenda Skermont (mother), Shawn Pambianco (daughter), and Nicole Skinner (daughter)
Their Story: Brenda Skermont is a global educator for American International Industries and co-owner of Sassy Hair Nails and Skin. Her two daughters Shawn and Nicole were exposed to the trade show side of the industry from their mother being a beauty educator.

Brenda remembers when Nicole asked her for her first set of nails. Her only stipulation was for her daughter to learn how to take care of them. “At that time I conducted nail training in my salon. Both of my daughters took the class,” Brenda says. Nicole and Shawn both worked part-time in the salon with their mother throughout high school. “I got to meet a side of my mom that I never knew existed,” Nicole says.

When Shawn graduated, she joined the military and took her techniques into the barracks and spent her downtime doing other people’s nails. She is currently working as a Train Master for BNSF Railway, but hopes to one day own a salon.

Nicole is working toward her bachelor’s degree in South Carolina. “After working the trade shows, I saw the respect other nail techs had for my mother. It made me want to follow in her footsteps but not in her shadows,” Nicole says.

Brenda, Nicole, and Shawn are living in three separate states, but their shared interest of nails keeps them connected. Occasionally they get the chance to work at trade shows together, but they regularly talk shop over the phone. “I have always had a passion for this field, so I’m very fortunate that my kids enjoy it too,” Brenda says.