By Ann Luongo
Hair just wasn’t doing it for Sarah Mason when she was attending Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich for cosmetology. In fact, she discovered fairly quickly that she had absolutely no interest in hair at all. However, doing nails was a completely different story. She absolutely fell in love with doing manicures, received her nail technician license in her junior year of high school, and has been working in spas and creating beautiful nails for around 10 years since.
It was the idea of owning her own manicure business that brought about the Cape Cod Nail Company – a mobile business that brings the nail spa to the customer.
“The idea of going mobile evolved organically when all of my friends started getting married,” Mason says. “I always offered to do their nails for their weddings. It was a lot of fun going to their houses, hanging out, painting nails … and getting paid!”
It wasn’t until 2015, however, that the state of Massachusetts approved mobile services. “As soon as I got word, my wheels started turning,” she says, both figuratively and literally. “I have two young boys and wanted to create a flexible way to contribute to the family and still be mostly a stay-at-home mom.” Mason then began seeking out help, building her team, expanding her network, and promoting the services.
In short time, Mason had a full-fledged fledgling business on wheels – a business that has been busy and growing ever since. “We celebrated two years this past February, so we’re just starting our third season. Right now, I am lucky enough to have a fabulous team of techs who travel with me, but my long-term goal includes having teams of techs established off-Cape to service all corners of the state.”
Mason says she currently has about 13 talented and hardworking techs on her team, most of whom also work in other salons, have 9-to-5 day jobs, or are stay-at-home moms. She said they make it work by providing a flexible and no-commitment schedule, and she added that she is always looking to add team members.
The services Cape Cod Nail Company offers are straightforward: “We provide only natural nail manicures and pedicures,” she says. “I keep our service menu very simple. We offer one manicure and two pedicures. Weddings make up about 80 percent of our business, but we also provide services for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, girls’ nights, fundraisers, and corporate events.” Her team also visits area nursing homes and provides services to private and nonprofit boarding schools and day programs for students and adults with learning disabilities and special education needs.
Most of the company’s business comes from word of mouth and vendor referrals. Mason maintains very active social media accounts and loves to network. “I’m always looking for opportunities to spread the word about our services through community events or fundraisers. I also created my own advertising through the launch of our nail polish line. Often, someone will buy a bottle of polish in a shop, look us up and learn that we offer mobile services, and book a party. It’s really fun and exciting to have both sides of our business, retail and service, complementing each other so nicely.”
For the time being, Mason runs the business out of her home. Her dining room table, she says, is currently cluttered with orders waiting to be completed by the arrival of their newest polish colors, and the corners of her living room are filled with shelves of nail polish. A brick-and-mortar location is not out of the question, however. “I have yet another dream for Cape Cod Nail Company – for which you will just have to stay tuned!”
The beauty of having a mobile business, Mason says, means she can answer emails, post photos, and book parties from the beach or anywhere else on-the-go, and that means still having time to spend with family when she’s not doing manicures and pedicures for a bridal party.
“I am a mom of two boys, ages 7 and soon to be 5, so I am literally always on the go. We love being on the beach and exploring different parts of the Cape. I love to stay active, work out, and play sports. I teach P90X at the Fit Company for Women two nights a week, enjoy lifting and bodybuilding, and play in a flag football league. That’s not to say I don’t jump at the opportunity to grab a bite to eat with friends or stop for ice cream with the kids at 11 a.m. on a random Tuesday! I love food (and ice cream) and love trying new restaurants.
“I grew up on the Cape and have lived here the majority of my life,” she says. “Since I started my business, I have seen parts of the Cape I never knew existed. I am continually inspired by the beauty, quirks, and fulfillment of loving and living on Cape Cod. I love to support local businesses and am a huge believer in community over competition.”
You can find reviews of the Cape Cod Nail Company on Facebook and Yelp, and also see Mason and her team in action on Instagram. “I am also always available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions about Cape Cod Nail Company, our polish or the services we offer. The business has definitely taken off. There is a huge gap in the industry and people love the convenience of having us come to them.”
Mason’s business is also receiving recognition for its innovation. This spring, she won first prize in EforAll South Coast’s “Sell Your Skills” Pitch Contest.