Dreamer Spotlight Samira Far; Founder of Bellacures
If you're a girl who loves to get her nails done, then you'll love Bellacures! You sink into their plush chairs as you get your nails painted bright and shiny, or however you like.
I was already impressed by Bellacures, but when I heard that the founder started Bellacures right after college I was even more impressed, and knew she'd be a perfect dreamer to spotlight here! Bellacures has become a hotspot for LA celebs like Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Duff, and Megan Fox to name a few.
You are never too young or old to follow your dream, and Samira has some wise points about taking the leap with her own story!
When you were little what did you want to do/be? How has that changed?
"When I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to create some kind of business that connected to consumers directly. Somehow I thought I would need to major in accounting or business to make that happen. Years later, here I am. I did not need an accounting degree after all."
How’d you come up with the idea of Bellacures and the name?
"I am a self proclaimed manicure addict. I have been getting my nails done regularly every two weeks since I was 12 years old. I loved the result of a perfect manicure, but I could not stand the experience at the nail salons I frequented. I always wanted to get out as fast as possible. One specific time, I sat there thinking, "Why isn't there somewhere I can go that matches my personal style and standard so at least I can feel like I belong in the space for 30 minutes to an hour?" From these experiences, the idea was born, and the seed was planted in my mind. I thought I would wait until I was older and had “enough” money and experience, but I quickly realized that “enough” was an insatiable requirement that would only keep me from action. I dropped that thought and started working on
my idea step by step, constantly revising my game plan to get successful results.
The name Bellacures is a combination of "beautiful" in Italian and cure, like manicure and pedicure. I like it because it's one word, memorable and not generic. When it came to mind, it was immediately a winner."
Once you had the idea, what came next? (Walk us through the process briefly, had the idea early on, but what made you want to quit your job at KPMG? Walk us through that day too. I think the hardest step sometimes can be that first one. How long did you weigh the decision? What was the “tipping point”)?
"I was working at KPMG for about 10 months and started to really feel stale there. My soul was not thriving and I began to feel my mortality, something we are very disconnected with in our youth. I was 22 years old and decided that I want to try to make a change in culture somehow. I had a list of business ideas that I had come with during college for fun, specifically my. desire to create a brand that resonated with consumers in the nail salon world. I thought, okay, now's my chance. If I start now and fail, I can pretend it never happened and do something else because I am still so young. That's exactly what I did. I just started, and learned along the way. When people ask me, "How?", my answer is: I just put everything I can think of up on my action list and did them. Chipped away at it, until something manifested."
What makes the Bellacures experience so unique?
"When Bellacures opened in 2006, nail salons were still operating at sub par standards, specifically as it relates to cleanliness, quality and customer service. We opened and wowed people in those three areas, gaining loyalty and trust over time."
Who have been your biggest cheerleaders/mentors along the way?
Were there doubters in the beginning (love including a line that someone said, in order to highlight how you didn’t listen, chased the dream, and succeeded).
"Most of my social peers thought I was crazy. I was getting into a business that was typically for those without a degree in business and I had no experience as a manicurist or cosmetologist."
What was the biggest challenge in the beginning of seeing your dream come to life?
"Training and managing people, vendors, and staff was the biggest challenge. When I decided to open the first location, I was inexperienced and it never occurred to me that I would be getting myself into a "leadership" position. Sounds funny to say that now. I just did not know what I did not know and I did not know how to hire, train and manage people. It was the biggest learning curve for me personally."
What was a “pinch me” moment, or a moment where you stepped back and thought, ‘Wow we’ve really built something here!”
"There are so many! A few favorites are: winning the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2009 from the city of LA, being listed as best mani and pedi in Vogue magazine, seeing Bruce Willis come in regularly for mani pedis (a female celebrity is one thing, a macho man celebrity is another)."
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
"Everything will be okay."
Speaking of advice, what would you tell others who are wanting to follow their dream/passion?
"Take action. Avoid analysis paralysis. If you fail, say "just kidding" and take new action."
Where do you want to see Bellacures expanding in the next few years?
"I would love to see Bellacures in new areas, establishing loyalty and trust with a new community of mani pedi go-ers."
For fun- your go-to nail polish color or nail design?
"My favorite color is Fifth Avenue Red by Essie!"
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