Cin City Nails is not your regular nail salon.
It’s not housed in a mall or a standalone shop, but it is located in a… house.
Specifically, Cin City Nails sits in manicurist Cindy Chang’s home, a three-storey terrace house in Kembangan.
The 32-year-old spent about $5,000 to renovate one of her rooms into a nail salon, and has been running the home-based business for about four years now.
A Self-Taught Nail Artist
Cindy quit her branding and marketing job in 2009, and started freelancing as a nail stylist thereafter.
With no prior experience and knowledge, Cindy took it upon herself to learn more about nail art.
The self-taught artist would watch tutorial videos on YouTube, and seek inspiration on nail designs from various magazines.
“I realised that I really enjoy doing this, so I started doing [nails] for my friends. But sometimes, it didn’t really go well – some of the nails would fall off, or they will just turn out bad,” said Cindy in a video interview with Vanitee.
“I decided to take up a proper course to improve on my skills. I enrolled myself in Pink Room Academy and took up a full-time diploma in Nail Technology.”
But since the beauty service landscape in Singapore is very competitive, she figured that she would need a differentiating edge in order to stand out from the crowd.
“I feel that people go to home-based nail salons because it’s nearer to their place, or because it’s cheaper. So if I’m going to offer basic services like a regular manicure, then customers would easily opt for other nail salons. They can also find good deals and discounts online, so they can [get their nails done] for very cheap,” Cindy told Vanitee.
In order to not lose out, she decided to offer more intricate nail art services, such as drawing characters and doing water globe nail art.
“Regular nail salons don’t offer these sort of services at a reasonable rate, so since I don’t have any rental cost to bear, I can afford to give these services to customers at a cheaper price.”
Perks Of Working From Home
This is the major advantage of working from home – saving on rent and transport costs allow her to pass on the savings to the customers and charge them lower prices.
A classic gel manicure at Cin City Nails costs $40, less than the $55 to $85 charged at most commercial outlets here.
Apparently, the cost of running a home-based business is at least 50 per cent less, as compared to running the same business in a mall.
Above all, working from home also gives her the flexibility to pursue her interests and spend time with her two young children.
“Working for myself means I can adjust my schedule and make time for acting and my other interests,” said Cindy, who has secured roles in television advertisements for companies such as Maybank and Circles.Life.
She works for only about four hours a day; and spends the remaining time taking care of her children, who are aged six and seven.
Cindy also said that partnering with Vanitee – a beauty service booking app – has helped to raise brand awareness and expand her customer base.
She serves about 10 to 12 customers a week, which totals up to almost 50 customers a month.
Home-Based Businesses Are On The Rise
Vanitee has reported a big jump in the number of home-based beauty businesses registered on it.
Currently, half of the businesses listed on the app – approximately 800 of them – are home-based.
This is a significant increase since its launch three years ago. In 2015, there were only 55 of such businesses; and it has grown to 386 last year.
In an interview with Straits Times, Vanitee co-founder Kuik Xiao Shi, said that business for these beauticians can be very profitable.
In fact, the top 10% of home-based beauty service providers on Vanitee earn an average income of $13,000 a month.
Cindy was actually awarded the ‘Hot Favourites’ winner in the nails category during Vanitee Awards 2016.
Kuik also said that a key reason why customers tend to opt for home-based businesses is because they accommodate better to clients — their hours are much more easy-going as compared to the typical operating hours of a regular salon or mall.
The ailing retail industry has also propelled the growth of home-based businesses, as entrepreneurs are more careful about taking risks.
In fact, starting a business from home is actually a good way for entrepreneurs to test the market before deciding if they want to invest in opening a physical store.
If you are keen on working from home yourself, you can read about the do’s and don’ts of becoming a home-based business owner here!
Featured Image Credit: Cin City Nails