As a new business owner, Lee Nguyen quickly learned what it takes to build a strong foundation for her business — excellent customer service. She owns White Lotus Salon in the heart of Ballard, one of Seattle’s hippest and fastest growing neighborhoods. We asked Lee to share her story and some of the insights she’s gained in the last year since taking on the business owner title.
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
Entering the nail industry was an unintended journey. I came to the US in 2007 with the American dream. I wanted to pursue higher education, getting a good job, and have a family. However, the economic downturn made me change my plans. To support myself, I went to work at a nail salon owned by a family friend. I was completely new to the nail industry. I was amazed how detailed services could be and learned the importance of customer service. The job helped me through 6 years of college and I graduated with a biochemistry degree. I used my education to understand the good and bad ingredients in the products I was using so I could better advise my clients which were best for their needs.
After working closely with clients and the original owner for so long, I started becoming interested in running a business myself. One day, the owner asked if I would buy the business so she could retire. After 8 years of working in the salon, May 1, 2016 was my first day as the new owner.
Why do you love doing business here in Seattle?
Seattle is a great area because the people here fully support the local business community. The city is growing extremely fast and its diversity is huge. Every day we see new faces moving into the neighborhood. That’s a big advantage for small businesses around town.
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
The most helpful feedback from my clients is that they appreciate our services and also the employees here who really care about their work.
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
Two things that are key for a successful business are using the right marketing tools and having the right team to work with.
Seattle’s business community is rich with wonderful stories like Lee’s. Discover great businesses in your area by downloading the Yelp mobile app. If you run your own great local business, use the free tools available at biz.yelp.com to help tell your story and join the conversation.