The process of doing manicures and pedicures can differ greatly, and Nail Technician Maria Laura Hidalgo Lopez saw an opening in the local market for her style of nail care after coming to the United States from Venezuela a little over five years ago.
Lopez came to Madison with her husband Edgar Torres Baños and quickly realized that finding a job for someone who recently immigrated and did not have a degree would be limiting and considered her options. After time and thinking about her introduction to the beauty industry in her teenage years, Lopez landed on nail care through her business Nails By Maria as a way to spread her skills.
“When you decide to change your life and come here, you need to try to figure out what the plan is. What are we going to do with ourselves to make the immigration worth it? I was looking, and it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do,” Lopez told Madison365, remarking on the cost and other barriers of getting a four-year degree.
“When I came here, I saw nail businesses are in a business that’s rich in high demand. I think people value that, feeling pretty and that somebody else is doing that for them,” she said.
Lopez saw a gap in the market for offering a more natural style of doing nails that doesn’t rely on acrylics, dips, or gels, and focuses on the process rather than the result. When it came to the idea of using chemicals all day and the residue that can be left from products, Lopez decided that cutting back to the basics and committing more time to the experience would be better for both her and the customer.
“I’m a super clean person that puts a lot of detail in sanitation because it’s important,” said Lopez. “In this industry, health and sanitation is super important. I think it’s the first thing, so I decided to do natural because it’s healthier for me, and healthier for my customers. Natural can be pretty too.”
Being Venezuelan, bringing the culture and style of her home country is part of bringing a piece of Lopez to Madison and also showing appreciation for what immigrating has brought her also. While Lopez considers the changes and expectations that may come with expanding, spreading the awareness of an alternative experience of getting a manicure or pedicure is at the front of her mind.
“I want to focus on that Latin style of relaxation and enjoying that time,” Lopez said. “Manicures don’t need to be painful, and pedicures don’t need to be painful. I think that’s what a lot of my customers have tried in the past, and they think my services are the same. I wish I could grow and show people that manicures and pedicures can be relaxing, and be focusing on you. That’s what my experience was in my country.”
Carrying the principle that hard work will eventually pay off, Lopez looks forward to continuing to push forward into whatever comes next. For Lopez, one of the biggest benefits is getting to connect and make friends with a range of people, and something that drives her towards her goals.
“I’m ambitious because I like to help people,” shared Lopez. “I love to be around people, and I want to give something to society. This business allows me to do that, and I’m so happy to do it. It is not only looking pretty and only nails, it includes listening to the customers’problems, happiness, goals in life from your customers, so you get involved and build friendships.”
Nails by Maria is open Wednesday through Saturday at Phenix Salon Suites, 7475 Mineral Point Road in Madison. To learn more about Nails By Maria and see the services Lopez offers, visit the link to her website here.