A young entrepreneur follows his dreams after years of mistreatment


Two women show their nail art while holding hands. (Photo courtesy of AP News images)

By Steven Magallon, Staff Writer

Working in management comes with many responsibilities, and it is common to experience mistreatment, whether it is from coworkers or customers. For one former manager, the disrespect was enough, and he began a new profession doing what he loves – nails.

David Flores, a nail technician, left the fast-food industry after seven years of mistreatment from his management team and customers.

After leaving the fast-food industry, Flores launched his new nail art business from home.

His inspiration came from the nail salon he regularly attended that could never fully achieve what he wanted. This led to a quest to become a nail technician, beginning in 2021 when he took a course on nail art. Flores continued to practice this art until he started a business of his own.

“What motivated me to leave Taco Bell was the people,” Flores said. “They would do anything to make you mad. It was hell.”

According to AllVoices.com, 48.6% of people experience harassment and bullying in the workforce. However, 18% of workers fail to report this harassment for fear of not being believed, retaliation or indifference of management.“It was time to leave and follow my dreams,” Flores said.

In 2022, Flores began Sweet Candy Nails. He dedicates six days out of the week to his business, making clients happy by creating beautiful nail art from the comfort of his apartment.

Flores provides a safe environment for individuals to be themselves and tries his best to put them at ease, offering his clients refreshments during their visit.

“Nail salons always make you feel like they just want to get you in and out, and that’s what I didn’t want,” Flores said. “I want my clients to feel welcome and comfortable because that’s what’s important to me.”

A festive nail art set. (Photo courtesy of David Flores)

The highly competitive aspect of the beauty industry contributes to the apathetic nature of traditional nail salons. According to True Finance, there are multiple aspects that go into this industry that make it competitive, such as product-selling, competing with other companies and keeping up with trends.

“What sets me apart from other businesses is that I’m here to listen to you, and I feel like you can’t always get that,” Flores said.

Linh Le, a nail tech who has worked in the industry for 11 years, added that aside from being competitive, salons can be a negative place.

“This industry is first-come, first-serve,” said Le. “The nail industry has drama everywhere you go. I learned not to share any information because others are likely to gossip.”

Flores advertises his business through multiple social media platforms. Many clients have left positive feedback about the quality of work and hospitality they received from Flores.

Jha’ Farria Alexander, a client, spoke on how the atmosphere is different compared to any other establishment she’s been to.

“What I really like about coming here is that he listens to you. It feels like sitting with a friend,” Alexander said. “The women at that nail salon don’t care about you like that, but David does.”

Another client mentioned that they appreciate the follow-up calls they receive days after their service.

“I love and care about my clients,” Flores said. “For some, I’m more than a nail tech.”

Flores plans to eventually expand his business and move it from his apartment into a shop of his own.