Tampa Native Uses Nail Salon Shutdown to Start Own Business


September 25, 2020


Business, Health


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Iris Steele left her work as an emergency room nurse to stay home with her daughters during COVID-19. She started selling nail polish soon after. [Credit: Iris Steele]

(TAMPA, Fla.) —Before the pandemic hit, Iris Steele was a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital, working with children in the emergency room. Being at the hospital and having two little girls at home meant the risk of exposing them to the virus. As the pandemic worsened Steele decided to leave her job. She wasn’t sure how she was going to make money. She didn’t want to put all the pressure on her husband to work. 

Steele decided to try selling Color Street, a nail polish and multilevel marketing (MLM) company, after hearing it wasn’t a pyramid scheme. She has been selling for the company for about a year. Work for MLMs took off during the pandemic according to a July article in TIME. The opportunity to work from home, care for children home from school or daycare, and avoid exposure to the coronavirus is appealing to many. But as TIME reports, many do not make the money they were making before the pandemic. 

“My daughter Alexia was bullied in school. She suffers from warts on her fingers, and people made fun of her,” Steele said. The nail polish made her daughter feel beautiful and more confident about her fingers. “When I saw the feedback she got from her peers, I knew there was something special about these polish strips.” 

“Before the pandemic, I got some sales but not too many. After the pandemic hit, the nail salons were closed. The pandemic brought me a lot of business. People wanted their nails to look professionally done,” she said.

Iris started advertising Color Street on Facebook and in public. “People would come up to me, and ask about my nails. Where did I get them done, when every nail salon is closed?” 

With salons opening back up in Florida, Steele said many of her customers are having their nails done professionally again. Despite getting professional manicures and pedicures, they still use her polish.

“I hope I can get back to the hospital once the pandemic ends. I love making people feel better, and now I can do that with nails,” Steele said. 


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