Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Sullivan.
Shannon, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story begins back in the 2000’s when I was working around the clock in the corporate world. I had the world’s greatest boss who inspired me, kept me challenged, and also put a lot of trust in me, which all fueled my passion and work ethic in an otherwise trying industry. One day all of that changed after a “shift in employment” in which I found myself uninspired by my new team leader. Seeing these varying approaches to business management, I began to develop my own philosophy, but was bogged down by the corporation and its chain of “command.”
The following year, I was faced with challenge after challenge – both in my work life and family life. My family is one of those traditional close-knit Irish families that do everything together. That year, my beloved aunt was diagnosed with Leukemia. Seeing her fight so hard and ultimately succumb to this terrible disease was agonizing for all of us, but was especially difficult for me because she and I were the closest of anyone in the family. I can remember clearly a day, not long after she had passed, that started like every other normal morning. I woke up at 4:30 and was at the gym by 5. Got in my car and was driving to work when all of a sudden, everything hit me at once.
My life had always been on the go. The work ethic I had developed early in my corporate career kept me busy and regimented, but now as I raced through my morning routine, off to support a corporation that didn’t support me back, I had a realization. Life is too short. Losing my Auntie Patty had made that painfully clear. Suddenly, I knew that I could not continue working in an industry that was so mentally and emotionally unfulfilling. I needed to take all the inspiration I’d received from the wonderful boss I’d had and the wonderful family I loved and make a change. I needed to take on a challenge, put trust in myself, and take all the passion in my work ethic and BECOME a great boss and businesswoman in my own right.
One day while working out at a local gym in my usual on-the-move-mentality, I noticed that the building had a retail space available for rent. After one look, I knew I wanted that space, but I just wasn’t sure what I would put there for a business. I went to a local coffee shop and racked my brain for ideas and then the idea of a boutique nail spa came to me like a bolt of lightning! Maybe it was the years of high stress and all the times that nothing could help me unwind quite like a relaxing mani/pedi. Within hours I had signed a lease for the space and registered for nail school. Two days after I opened Polished Nail boutique, I was surprised to find out that I was having a baby!! There was now going to be a person to join my close-knit family and one who I could inspire and be there for every step of the way. I would be the one in charge of all the choices in our lives, not some corporation that didn’t know us on a personal level. I’ve experienced challenges and been given choices. I’ve created opportunity from these experiences. Now I am at the helm of a successful business, sharing my work ethic and positive energy with two other ladies. We work steadily building relationships and providing top-notch nail care for our clients. Every day I get to work hard and have wonderful interactions with a variety of people. I’m still go-go-go, but now wherever I go, I go with all my heart!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Building a client base had been the biggest struggle that we faced in the beginning. Our salon is located inside a gym and because we don’t advertise, we rely solely on word of mouth to build our business. Now our struggle is mostly scheduling because there just simply isn’t enough time in the day to accommodate everyone who wants to come in!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Polished Nail Boutique story. Tell us more about the business.
Polished Nail Boutique specializes in a high end nail experience. With services ranging from traditional to gel manicures and pedicures, every finger that leaves our salon looks magnificent!
Something that we are so proud of is the volunteer work that we do for Ronald McDonald house Foundation. Once a month, we close down the salon and go over and lift the spirits of the sick children who are undergoing cancer treatment, by painting their tiny nails (and we also provide manicures for their moms, dads and siblings as well)
We do other community volunteer work as well, including Heaps of Hopes, The Arbor House, local Somerville schools Teacher Appreciation days, Home Away, etc.
We have raised close to $35,000 and Shannon has run two Boston marathons in support of charities.
Polished Nail Boutique is the proud recipient of The Best of Somerville award for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was recently qualified for the Somerville Business Hall of Fame.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I feel lucky every day that I get to meet incredible women and for a career that allows me to be a bad ass mom.
- Manicures starting at $16
- Address: 5 Middlesex Ave
(Assembly Sports Club)
Somerville, Ma 02145
- Website: www.polishedboston.com
- Phone: 617-625-0250
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org