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t Novo, we’re continually inspired by the unique stories of our customers – their dreams, goals, challenges, and victories. It’s an honor to share them with you. We’re excited to shine the spotlight on our customer Aisha Pou, Founder and Owner of Palmitas Nail Studio.

Aisha Pou is the founder and owner of Palmitas Nail Studio, a nail studio in Davenport, Florida. She takes pride in the quality of nail services she provides to clients, going above and beyond to deliver a unique and memorable experience from the moment they walk through the door. That, on top of a beautiful set of nails each time, has earned her a devoted customer base. 

It hasn’t always been easy or straightforward, and Aisha has worked hard for more than a decade. She’s gone from painting nails in her living room ten years ago while working a full-time job to managing her own studio as a licensed nail technician and selling her own products.

How Aisha Started: Pursuing Her Passion and the Freedom to Be Her Own Boss

More than ten years ago, Aisha’s business started small, as a side hustle that she had while also working full-time. “At the time,” she says, “I was working full-time at a local bank, but I was just not happy with how things were going there”. That was a key motivator in her desire to focus more on growing her business. “I chose nails,” she says, “because it was something I enjoyed doing. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed rather than being stuck in a place where I was unhappy.” 

“Part of my motivation,” Aisha adds, “is the way I was raised. I grew up in Puerto Rico with a single mom and my two siblings. We were really poor, and that has always been in the back of my mind… A lot of people tend to follow in those footsteps and stay in a place of being stuck with the way they were raised. But for me, it has always been a motivation. Having seen my mom struggle and [knowing] the things she didn’t have, it helped me to push myself forward and start my own business.”

“As a business owner, you have to take a leap of faith. And I think that’s brave of anyone.” - Aisha Pou, Founder and Owner of Palmitas Nail Studio and Novo Customer

How Novo Helps Aisha Run her Business

Having more than a decade of experience in banking herself, Aisha knew what to look for in a business banking platform. That’s why she chose Novo. “I know how banking works, and I know all the fees that can be involved with having a business account. Years and years ago, I did have another business bank account. I only had it for a couple of months before they started charging me fees, so I closed it right away. I wanted to avoid that, so I did a lot of research online, and Novo caught my attention,” she says. 

On top of the fact that Novo’s free business checking account meant no unnecessary expenses or account maintenance fees, our integrations with other business software and better visibility into her business funds means convenient and easy banking for Aisha as she runs her nail studio. 

“My account is connected to Square and other payment platforms like that, and it’s really cool to see everything right there [in the Novo app].” Plus, “in the Activity tab, I can see how much I make in a week, so I use that to determine how much to pay myself. I use the money transfer feature to pay myself, and I use Novo Reserves to save money for taxes and also as emergency savings for the business.”

“I like how accessible Novo is, and how I can do everything in one application. I really like Novo – I’ve never had any complaints. Everything so far is going great!” 

Aisha’s Business Rebrand

In 2020, the pandemic forced Aisha to close her nail studio. Given that she relied on in-person clientele to keep her business afloat, Aisha decided to shut down her business. With her husband unemployed due to COVID as well, they both decided to make a change they had dreamt of for a while – they sold their house, packed everything up, and moved from Pennsylvania to Florida. 

While restrictions were more lenient in Florida, Aisha was not yet able to do nails without a studio space. She was fortunate to get a full-time job at a bank soon after moving, but her main goal was to reopen her nail business. “When we bought a new house, that’s when I started to get my business back up and running,” she says. 

The ten months away from her business, between COVID shutdowns and moving to a new state, was also a welcome opportunity to consider her branding with fresh eyes. At that point, Aisha felt as if she had outgrown her old brand identity. And her brother Isaiah, a specialist in marketing, branding, and graphic design was instrumental in what Aisha terms the “glow-up,” where they collaborated on revamping all aspects of her business brand.

Aisha paints a client's nails

Understanding the new target market

With a new location usually comes a new customer base. This was particularly the case with Aisha and her business, where the culture in Davenport, Florida, is quite different from where her business used to reside in Pennsylvania.

Aisha worked with her brother Isaiah to research and define her new target audience. As one of the first steps in the rebranding process, they created buyer personas, ​​fictional characters used to communicate key characteristics of their target audience. From this, they cultivated a new brand identity to appeal to Aisha’s new audience.

Creating a new name and logo: from The Nail Ave to Palmitas

A significant aspect of Aisha’s rebranding strategy was to update the name of her business to better resonate with her own identity and connect with her clientele. She was drawn to a beach theme for her new branding but wanted to keep it elegant.

“I’ve always been obsessed with palm trees, and because I’m Hispanic, I wanted something in Spanish so that it felt more ‘me’,” Aisha explains. And with Florida’s close connection with Latino culture, Palmitas (the diminutive form of “palm tree” and “hand” in Spanish), “was just perfect.”

Aisha’s brother Isaiah updated her logo to reflect the new business name Palmitas, incorporating a palm tree motif.

Updating the website: new colors, look, and feel

To keep the look and feel of her website aligned with her new branding, Aisha commissioned a new color palette which was elevated to more mature colors. The website was also redesigned with a priority to connect with her target audience and convey an elevated but still personal touch.

Reimagining the studio space: elevating the customer experience

Aisha and her brother Isaiah reimagined her studio space to match her new brand identity and leave a lasting impression on clients. Now, “every time a client walks in, they’re like, ‘this is such a relaxing space’ because the mood is so calm,” she says. With relaxing LoFi music in the background, an essential oil diffuser, and artfully chosen potted plants, Palmitas Nail Studio is an oasis of calm. 

The atmosphere Aisha has cultivated is an aspect of her brand that differentiates her business from other local nail salons. “What sets me apart is the environment,” she explains. “When clients walk in, they say they never want to leave. I’m the only person here, so when you come in, you’re not going to a crowded salon full of nail techs having their own conversations with their clients, or kids running around…. People come here and it’s nice and relaxed. They get to unwind from their daily lives and enjoy their time while they get their nails done.” 

Aisha's studio space

Being Brave as a Business Owner Means Taking a Risk

When asked what bravery means to her as a small business owner, Aisha recalls when she first moved to Florida during the pandemic. “There was a lot of risk involved, especially for me. I had to quit my job and start from zero when I moved to a different state. I didn’t know anyone. It was definitely a lot of risk, but it did pay off.” 

“As a business owner,” she says, “you have to take a leap of faith. And I think that’s brave of anyone.”

Aisha’s Advice to Anyone Starting a Beauty or Salon Business

Citing intrinsic motivation and passion as two factors that are instrumental in propelling any small business forward, Aisha advises, “I always tell people, don’t give up. It’s so much easier to give up than to keep going, and if you don’t have the passion, you won’t go as far as you might want to go. So I always say, work hard, keep going. Stay motivated. If you’re passionate about something, people can tell. As long as you stay passionate and you’re doing what you love, people will see that and they will support you no matter what.”

 

Aisha’s website: Palmitas Nail Studio

Her Etsy shop: ​​ShopPalmitas 

Follow her business on Instagram: @mypalmitas 

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Updated 
August 5, 2022
 in 
Small Business Stories
 category