Each morning, Liz Garcia rolls bins full of nail polish, hot wax and hair styling tools from her car on Veteran Avenue to the Hill. She and her sister will likely spend 12 hours on campus, a feat they’re happy to accomplish.
Jaqueline Garcia, a fourth-year sociology student, and her older sister Liz Garcia, a licensed cosmetologist, began offering mobile salon services to students living on the Hill and in Westwood Village last quarter. The service, called Beauty on Demand, provides nail, hair and waxing.
“I think the biggest thing (that makes our business unique) is that I come to them,” Liz Garcia said. “(Clients) have their very busy schedules … or I have talked to people who don’t have cars.”
Liz Garcia said she keeps the prices low to make it affordable for college students. A haircut costs $18 and a gel manicure costs $25. She also frequently offers discounts for clients who refer their friends to the service.
Jaqueline Garcia said they both wake up at 4:50 a.m. to begin the commute from Granada Hills and get to campus by 6:30 a.m. While Jaqueline Garcia goes to class, Liz Garcia will usually have back-to-back appointments from 8 a.m. until they leave.
Jaqueline Garcia said she and her sister used to dream of opening a salon when they were younger. Jaqueline would own it and Liz would manage it, they imagined.
Jaqueline Garcia said that when she began attending UCLA, her sister would visit once a month and do her hair, nails and eyebrows. Eventually, her roommates saw the work her sister did and asked if she would do their hair and nails as well. The sisters soon saw the potential for a mobile salon.
“College students in the dorms aren’t (usually) from here, and the only places I have seen to get my nails done are expensive,” Jaqueline Garcia said. “We thought of creating something that wasn’t here.”
Jaqueline Garcia completed three associate degrees in business management, entrepreneurship and economics at a community college before transferring to UCLA. Liz Garcia said her sister familiarized her with the dorms and developed the initial business plan by suggesting she advertise on Facebook and flyer on Bruin Walk.
In October, Jaqueline made a flyer advertising the mobile salon services and posted it to the “UCLA Free & For Sale” Facebook page as a test run. It included a link to a website where customers could book appointments.
When they checked the appointments at the end of the day, Liz Garcia was booked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We knew it was going to be successful and that there was a need for it after that,” Jaqueline Garcia said. “With business it’s about starting an adventure.”
Students continue to book Liz Garcia’s services, and usually have to wait about a week to get an appointment.
Josalynn West, a first-year sociology student, said she usually waits until she goes back to her home in the Central Valley of California to go to a salon.
“Since going to UCLA I didn’t really know where to go (for salon services) and I didn’t want the hassle of walking somewhere to find it,” West said. “I didn’t realize she would bring (all of the supplies) and that it would be so convenient.”
For Lunar New Year, West invited a group of friends to her dorm to have their nails painted red and gold in celebration of the holiday. Liz Garcia even attended a celebration for Lunar New Year with them on the Hill after she finished doing their nails.
Emily Yamane, a third-year applied mathematics student, said she hired Liz Garcia to come to her Westwood apartment at 8 a.m. last week for nail appointments for herself and her two roommates.
“It was so accommodating to us because that was the only time we could all three be together,” Yamane said. “It was a fun roommate bonding activity.”
Yamane, who is a campus tour guide leader, added she plans to book an appointment again as a bonding activity for newly hired campus tour guides.
The two sisters continue to gain new clients from word of mouth and get positive reviews from clients. Liz Garcia added her clients frequently send her “nail-fies,” a selfie of themselves with newly polished nails.
She added she would like to hire more cosmetologists to help her in the future and expand her services to other college campuses, such as California State University, Northridge.
“We always say, ‘If you win, I win,’” Jaqueline Garcia said. “Her being successful and the fact that I can share this with her is great because it means we can both benefit from me being (at UCLA).”