Student Spotlight: Anila Tinaj’s small business gains large social media following


Nails by Anila, a small business headed by a Townsend Harris junior, is flourishing across social media platforms and gaining popularity among many Harrisites.

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What started off as a way to try and make a few extra dollars has developed into a “mini-enterprise” for Townsend Harris junior Anila Tinaj. Last year, The Classic published a spotlight on Anila and her press-on-nail business, Nails by Anila, and since then, her small business has only grown, receiving significant attention across several platforms.

With four million views on Instagram, over fifty-five thousand monthly views on Pinterest, and over three-hundred-and-fifty sales, Anila’s business has been flourishing. Anila said she attributes her success to not only her hard work and dedication, but also to her ability to juggle work and school. Anila said, “When The Classic first interviewed me last year, it was my first time being in school in-person while owning a small business. I was still learning how to transition and struggled to find a balance between the two. Since then, I’ve learned how to manage my orders and my studies and dedicate the appropriate amount of time to each.”

Gaining a presence on Pinterest and TikTok has allowed her to gain traction and increase her following and profits. But to Anila, the biggest contributor to her success is her constant stream of content. “Consistency is key,” she said.

Taking Nails by Anila to the next level by expanding is Anila’s next goal for her small business. She first wishes to do this by focusing on finding more loyal customers. Anila said, “Last year, I focused my attention on gaining as much traction as I could, rather than finding the right traction. Over the past year, I’ve realized that a consistent and loyal audience will benefit my business more than a large audience. Therefore, rather than wanting more views, likes, or one-time buyers, I plan to put my attention towards gaining more customers that will keep returning to my page. I think that this will be a very important aspect of my growth moving forward.”

Anila also hopes to become a licensed nail technician in the future and increase the number of services she provides. She has recently started to branch out to different aspects of the nail industry and expand her skills and now provides in-person services and practices new nail techniques, like “Gel-X” extensions on family and friends.

Many Harrisites are loyal customers. Junior Brodie Mc Dermott said, “Getting my nails done by Anila has always been a pleasure. She has an amazing atmosphere and great customer service, whether you’re getting press-ons or in-person sets. She has fulfilled every vision I’ve had without fail.”

Junior Julia Przybylo said, “I went to Anila to get my nails done for the second time recently, and both times I noticed how her attention to every single detail was flawless. It is clear how much time and effort goes into her business and how deeply she cares about making each and every single one of her customers truly happy.” 

When asked if she has any advice for peers who may want to pursue entrepreneurship, Anila suggested taking initiative and starting the small business they have been thinking about for a while. “A lot of times we may overthink our decisions and doubt ourselves, which causes us to eventually lose interest in our passions,” she said. “While I do believe it is important to do your research and invest time and effort before launching, you need to start at some point. Having your ideas and visions come to life is truly one of the most fulfilling feelings I’ve ever felt.” 

Photo courtesy of Nails by Anila