How 23-Year-Old’s Nail Art Hobby Has Become Growing Business

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Nautical for summertime at the lake, or a trip to London right on your fingers.

How about the Pirates “P” and the city skyline for a baseball game? Whatever you want, Dallas Sauers can create it at her salon, Dallas Beauty Lounge.

“Every fingernail’s a canvas … just a really small one,” says Dallas Sauers.

Dallas is a self-taught artist, painting not just nails, but the walls of her salon too. She’s only 23 but got started painting nails when she was 14 and walked to an after-school job at a salon. Then, when she was in college, she started painting nails out of her house.

“My dad gave me $530 to start this and with that I bought 12 bottles of gel polish, some nail polish, buffers and the LED light that we use,” Sauers said.

Now, a few years later, she has a waiting list of 80 people, nine employees and a brand new glamorous salon in Bridgeville.

Elena LaQuatra, Dallas’s friend, fan and regular customer says her nails get noticed.

“Everyone thinks it’s those new nail stickers and I say ‘nope,’ my nail girl does them by hand. She’s so talented. She can do anything,” said LaQuatra.

Elena brought her dog, Mee-Kee for inspiration.

“I love it. I love having my dogs right on my nails. I’m so busy during the day so it’s like I have my little children with me,” she said.

KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen’s got her real children on her nails to see what it was like and a baseball for her son’s summer spot.

Dallas works at Fashion Week and trade shows where she scoops the hot trends, like the geometric watercolor design and 3D nails with diamonds and studs.

“Big embellishments, that’s what’s big right now,” said Sauers, “You might think it’s cost prohibitive, but you basically just pay for the gel manicure and then each design is just $2-4 per nail.”

Lucky Dallas, who loves doing nail art, and lucky Pittsburgh women who love to show off her designs.

“If you have a passion and you’re also able to do it for a job, you’re pretty lucky,” said Sauers.

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