Student Entrepreneur at the University of Maryland Starts Successful Nail Business

By Georgia Slater
Staff Writer

Being a full-time college student with a heavy workload and countless hours of classes is time-consuming on its own. Senior mechanical engineering major and entrepreneur Sari Dorn not only works at a business on campus in addition to her school work, but she created and runs it too.

Dorn’s inspiration in creating Nails by Sari, a concierge nail service on campus, came from her years of experience in painting nails before and during her college career.

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Sari Dorn shows off her own nails. Photo courtesy of Dorn.

“I came up with the idea by considering the skills I currently had,” said Dorn. “I have always been good at painting nails, and people always compliment me or ask me to do theirs. I have also heard negative comments about local salons and wanted to make a more personal service.”

After bringing her business to campus in 2016, Dorn tried to promote her services through social media.

She started a Facebook and an Instagram page to try and involve more students and promote examples of work she had done in the past. In addition, Dorn said she tried to network through her sorority and classroom connections to further promote her business.

Nails by Sari is run right out of Dorn’s apartment in Landmark; however, she will travel to her customer’s home residences if needed. She provides a full service manicure without cutting cuticles and operates using a little toolbox that she set up, which contains nail polish, buffers, nail clippers, nail polish remover and hand lotion.

Senior finance and economics major Jonni Packer is a frequent user of Dorn’s services and promotes her business to all of her friends.

“Nails by Sari brings salon quality nail service right to your door,” said Packer. “Sari’s extremely fun and energetic, and it makes each visit entertaining. How can you beat a $7 manicure from a gal pal?”

Dorn said that her favorite part of the business is being able to meet new people and interact directly with her clients.

“It’s great to hear about what’s going on in everyone’s life,” she said. “I also love to help women feel confident and beautiful with their manicures because it relaxes them in this busy world. I want to promote positive self-image and the importance of making time for oneself in order to feel her best.”

Dorn’s business has taken off with great success since her start last year. However, she said there is definitely room for improvement. She has maintained regular clients, but her business is not bringing in as much of a profit as she had hoped.

With inexpensive prices, Dorn tries to get people involved by spreading the news of her business through word of mouth and attending events. For example, she worked at the Jewish Women Leadership Conference with a table to meet freshmen.

“Sometimes managing school and business is hard, but demand has not been high lately,” said Dorn. “I like to prioritize my clients because it makes me happy to work on my business.”

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