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Check Out Danielle McKizzie’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle McKizzie.

Hi Danielle, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I completed Cosmetology school in Hampton, VA, in 2006. I became a salon manager at the age of 20 years old. I was working for World’s Class Hair Studios in Newport News, VA, under the ownership of a Korean master stylist named Moon Williams. While I attended my last hours of apprenticeship at her salon, Moon taught me skills that would prepare me along my journey of becoming an independent contractor. Skills in the areas of hair, skin, and nails service. She once asked me what my strengths were. At the time, I didn’t know how to answer that. All I could say was to use the gifts that my creator blessed me with. It brought joy to my heart to see my clients smile and feel beautiful. In November of 2007, I relocated back to my hometown Minneapolis, MN. I took a year off from my trade and tried another area of the workforce. I was working with adults and children with disabilities.

I moved to Rosemount, MN, then completed college courses at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights. I started to miss the salon and my clients. I decided to reactivate my cosmetology license and become a travel stylist. In 2009 attended Central Beauty School in New Brighton, MN, to complete 155 hours of continuing education for the MN Board of Cosmetology to approve my Virginia Operator license while attending Central Beauty School. My instructor Linda gave me and my friend Sophia our first wedding gig. We met at the wedding party at their hotel and provided manicures and pedicures. This group of women were so grateful for us assisting them. Shortly after this event, I practiced nail techniques with friends and family. Linda gave me a nail tech table. I currently use this table in my home office! In 2015, I started an online portfolio through Gig salad. I offered salon services at home for those who couldn’t afford the luxury of going to the salon. In March 2020, I founded Sassy Nailz salon quality press on nails and custom nail art supplies available online. I had no idea that Covid 19 was approaching during my business launch. However, the pandemic helped my business boom.

Nail salons were shut down. At 2020-present, Sassy Nailz has reached every state other than Utah and Colorado. Attended local pop-up shops, have been highlighted in MN Black Box, and currently partnered with Grace Hair Solutions located in New Hope, MN. I thank God, my family, and my clients for their continuous support. Proverbs 23:4 says, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” I provide products for people in my community at an affordable cost. Most tell me to increase my prices. I remind myself and the audience that I am reaching out and helping. I trust that the right clients will support and that is how my business will grow.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting a business right before the world shut down due to Covid 19 was challenging. When I started, I decided to use Etsy for my eCommerce platform. They were very costly and strict, so I ended my site and downloaded my data. Starting over was very challenging. However, I could find business support groups in my area for advice. Then eventually learned how to create my website in March of 2021.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I create many custom press-on nails, including hand-painted designs, nail decals, acrylics, and airbrush designs. Most of my press-on nails can last up to 2 weeks of wear. Once appropriately removed, you can reuse them over and over again. You can’t achieve that with the store-bought press on nails!

I create custom nail art stickers with a Cricut machine and full wrap waterslide decals. I haven’t seen any other nail tech locally that creates nail art supplies.

I collaborated last fall with Solmarie Sena, owner of Sola Lola Press, on nails based in Pennsylvania. We created SOSA nail art boxes for nail techs and press-on nail designers and nail artists in the US. SOSA is Sola and Sassy combined. We create each box with passion. To encourage the receiver to create and hashtag SOSA with a selfie of their creation. This collaboration was one of the first and not the last. Most would question why help another business like yours? We all have a story and a purpose. I believe that certain people cross your path for a reason. I appreciate the new relationships that have formed during the pandemic.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The path of entrepreneurship is not for the weak! I have had some ups and downs. I started this journey by following my passion, reading, and joining support groups to educate myself. My Grandmother gave me an entrepreneur manual in 2008. I didn’t understand why she gave it to me then. I never thought I would go into business. This manual was beneficial! Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important. I have learned to remain content with the process and to trust my gut in certain situations. I stay true to myself when things seem impossible. Also, building a good support system is so important. My partner Rodney Smith was by my side when I first created the business plan for Sassy Nailz. He propels me to keep pushing. Life can throw many obstacles, so it’s up to you to find the strength to set them aside. Lastly, stay focused!

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