by ANNE SMITH
What started off as an adaptation to the pandemic turned senior Page Olsen into a novice businesswoman. Now, she not only has to navigate college life, she also has to do it while running a small manicure and nail art business.
“I never had any intention of becoming a small business owner,” she said. “I have always needed a creative outlet, but I never thought of selling my work.”
Olsen is a senior majoring in studio art, which is a good pairing for the type of work she does for her business, ‘Impressed By Page,’ that she started in 2020.
“When the pandemic started, I needed a new hobby and I did not feel comfortable going to the store to pick up a set of press-on nails,” she said. “I had been wearing press-ons myself since 2018, but they were just the standard ‘KISS’ brand. I decided to do some research to see how hard it would be to make my own press-ons at home. Hours later I had placed my first order on amazon of polishes, nail tips, a UV lamp and nail glue.”
After receiving many compliments on her nails, Olsen decided to share her talent.
“Somewhat in secret I created an Instagram account for the business and went from there, receiving my first order the day after my Instagram launched,” she said.
Olsen sells both handmade press-on nails and nail decals. After the initial take-off of the business, she also started offering in-person appointments for gel manicures.
“When I launched my nail stickers in Jan. of 2021, I did not expect to get as many sales as I did,” she said.
However, managing her business while being a full-time student and Resident Assistant (RA) has taken some trial and error.
“I first cut my time into doing schoolwork during the day and business at night, but that left me with no time to sleep, so I had to pivot,” she said. “I set aside a certain amount of time each day or every other day to work on orders and content for the business. I am still working on perfecting this, but it has been working pretty well so far.”
Olsen had never taken a business class and doesn’t have any entrepreneurs in her family. However, she was able to seek out some reliable sources to help her through the process.
“Simone Levendosky of @srl.designs, who graduated from UMW in 2021, kind of mentored me in the beginning and remains to be a big supporter of mine to this day,” she said. “I have gained so many virtual friends through this and they have all taught me so much. We actually have a group chat with 23 other small businesswomen who are in college and we help each other out when we can by giving advice, buying products or even just liking each other’s posts.”
Meeting other small business owners has been just one other positive Olsen has experienced from this opportunity.
“I have seen so much growth in myself when it comes to speaking with others and ‘selling’ myself in the business world,” she said. “I have learned so many valuable skills, from how to handle difficult situations to problems with orders and doing it in a graceful manner. I have never been more confident and proud of myself in my whole life. Creating this business has given me the confidence to pursue this as my full-time job after graduation.”
Olsen has also participated in the local Fredericksburg Art in the Park, which has provided her with the ability to sell to a wider demographic.
Impressed By Page will be at Art in the Park on Oct. 2 and 16 at Hurkamp Park. She will also be at 116th Chase St. on Oct. 22.
“I will also be continuing to provide in-person appointments through the semester, so feel free to book through my Instagram (@impressedbypage),” she said.