Yen and Julie Nyugen at their salon in Fonthill. VOICE PHOTO

Mother and daughter behind Fonthill’s JY Nails & Beauty

BY MAEVE KEATING
Special to the VOICE

Fonthill shoppers have likely noticed a new nail salon in the Giant Tiger plaza. Since opening this past September, JY Nails & Beauty has positioned itself a hotspot for the latest in salon trends and treatments. Named for and founded by mother-daughter team Julie and Yen Nguyen, JY Nails & Beauty offers their services to those hoping to get a little pampering, while also supporting more natural and eco-friendly beauty habits.

Self-described perfectionists Julie and Yen first took an interest in the beauty industry when Yen was only in grade school. Not long after the family arrived in Canada from Vietnam, in 1990, Julie noticed her daughter developing an interest in having her nails professionally painted like the other girls in her class. Julie also found herself fascinated with the process and took an interest in the industry. After initially struggling to break into this line of work as a new Canadian, Julie’s skill soon developed.

Meanwhile, Yen began her own career path toward the beauty industry while still in high school. After taking a summer workshop in esthetics just for fun, Yen’s interest became solidified. After high school she began working part-time for local salons while earning a degree in business administration from Durham College in Oshawa. Yen also started pursuing additional esthetician classes and certifications within the GTA around her school schedule. At just 26, Yen is certified in eyelash extensions, microblading, and several forms of nail care.

“I wouldn’t have done this without having the business side of it…the marketing and management skills,” says Yen, when asked about going into business with her mother. “My mum and I come as a pair.”

This past autumn, armed with years of hands-on experience and a degree in business management, the mother-daughter duo was ready to make their mark, and began offering more than just nail services.

“We thought, why don’t we open up our own business and manage it ourselves,” says Yen. “When I finished school, I was working full-time for someone else, and I thought, what’s the point if all I get to do is nails?”

Yen’s two brothers, Peter and Jason, also started getting in on the action as website/marketing manager and front-of-house reception, respectively. The addition of the other Nguyen siblings now makes JY Nails & Beauty into a full-blown family business.

Although Fonthill is home to more than a few nail salons, JY offers a few unique services, including online appointment booking, organic alternatives, and eco-friendly products and practices. JY also does not use any acrylic products. In other words, no strong chemical smell to go along with your nail treatment. Instead, they offer more than 350 different dipping powders (a natural alternative to acrylics), shellacs, and bio gel (a healthy alternative to UV gel) treatments.

“The powder has calcium and vitamin E, and lasts longer than three weeks when applied properly,” says Yen.

The four Nguyen family members (plus one part-time employee) are the current team at JY Nails & Beauty, but Yen says the family hopes to add more artists.

“We’re known for our spa-pedicure treatment that includes a hot stone massage,” Yen says, adding that both men and women can enjoy it.

Yen attributes the salon’s success so far to its online presence and to the relaxed ambience the family has worked to build. “We try to keep things casual, trendy, and relaxing. We’re very minimal here, but also personable. The atmosphere isn’t busy or rushed or crowded.”

While JY Nails & Beauty has no immediate or family connection to other nail salons in Fonthill, the founders admit there is a friendly camaraderie among local salon owners and practitioners.

“It’s like its own little community. We really liked that,” Yen reports, when asked about why the Nguyen family decided to open JY in Fonthill. “We love getting to know our clients…It’s less of an ‘in-and-out’ atmosphere here. We get to make relationships with our customers because they come back again and again.”

Asked what advice she would give to someone just starting out in the beauty industry (especially if they were also new to Canada), Yen says that it’s important to know that it’s a competitive business.

“It’s easy for people to give up after a few weeks of just opening. You just have to be patient. Just remember who you are, what your goals are, and never give up.”

The mother-daughter team encourages those looking to indulge in a little pampering this holiday season to keep an eye out for Christmas promotions and discounts on JY’s website at www.jynailsandbeauty.com