Spotlight: Sophomore Anila Tinaj reflects on her small business journey

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From making banana bread to embroidery, quarantine offered opportunities to engage in new hobbies, passions, and become more creatively expressive. Turning her quarantine hobby into a small business, sophomore Anila Tinaj launched @nailsby.anila in early March of last year which features hand-painted press-on nails in different shapes, colors, and designs.

“Quarantine was a big motivator for me because I had a lot of free time on my hands since there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. A lot of my friends also encouraged me to start and thought it could be a great idea for me,” Anila said.

With more than 240 followers on Etsy, Anila’s online shop has grown tremendously and has even expanded internationally. Using her Instagram platform to connect with her clients, her posts promote her different designs and her stories often feature inspirational quotes and messages that emphasize self-love and perseverance.

Anila’s small business has seen various successes and has grown significantly since its creation. “I think my success has mostly come with patience and consistency,” said Anila. Describing some of the difficulties she’s come across, Anila said that “staying motivated, coming up with new ideas, figuring out how to improve, and having discipline to stick with my work schedule and work ethic” have proved to be challenging. 

Despite these challenges, Anila has persevered: “Some of the things that motivate me to continue are good reviews or getting feedback from my clients, friends and family supporting me, and honestly just my own work ethic,” she said. 

Though running a business comes with its struggles, Anila expressed it has helped her creatively engage in her craft. “The things I like most about owning a business is that I can build my own work schedule, I can choose my day offs, I have full control over my work, and I have a way to let out my creativity,” she said. 

Additionally, as a student entrepreneur, Anila had to find a healthy balance between managing her schoolwork and her business. “It can get difficult at times during a busy work week because of school work, but I try my best to manage,” she said. Her strategy is to work on schoolwork from Monday to Thursday, and then manage her orders on the weekends. 

Many Harrisites have purchased nail sets from Anila’s business. Sophomore Kaia Lain said, “Anila was so sweet and patient when helping me get a custom set. It was truly an easy and amazing experience and I think even if you can’t afford them always it’s so fun to try it at least once.” 

Other customers were also satisfied with the durability and quality of the nails. Sophomore Ioanna Giannopoulou said, “They lasted for so long and I was easily able to take them off with her tutorial on Instagram. Her prices are so low for nails that last so long.”

“Anila puts so much time and dedication into her products to ensure high quality and affordability,” said sophomore Rachel Tan.

Photo courtesy of nailsbyanila on Etsy