Jordan Johnson, a licensed nail technician, started a business over quarantine in her hometown of Fayetteville.
“Every day I try to take it with a new approach and make sure I’m as safe and cautious as I can be to ensure the health of me and my clients,” Johnson said. “I have a little screen between me and the clients so they just stick their hands through the holes, and I make everybody wear masks.”
Before COVID-19, Johnson always wore a mask when doing her client's nails, but now she must require her clients to wear one as well.
"I also used to take more clients," Johnson said. "Now I only take three to five clients a day, whereas before I used to take about six to eight.”
The business allows Johnson a sense of financial stability.
“It kind of provided me with the extra cushion that I needed,” Johnson said. “If things were to happen and I needed to pick up some extra fees somewhere, I would be able to afford it.”
Quarantine has given sophomores James Pierce and Justin Holly the time they needed to start their own business, called J & J Landscaping, in Chapel Hill.
“We started off mowing lawns and doing yard work for neighbors in the area our junior year in high school and then going into our senior year,” Holly said. “In April, we decided to scale it up and form an LLC, and now we have J&J Landscaping.”
Holly said they’ve been working on bigger projects recently, including building fire pits, mulching jobs and custom landscaping projects.
“Before this summer, I feel like I didn’t really have the financial means to be financially independent,” Holly said. “I’ve relied on my parents financially and I feel like this has opened new opportunities for me, whether that be purchasing a car so I can have it for the next three years at UNC or opening a Roth IRA.”
While Holly and Pierce will begin classes soon, they plan to develop their marketing strategy to reach new customers. They are hiring Holly's younger brother and his friend to carry out the physical work while they manage to company.
“For me, this has been a really cool opportunity to grow, develop and fine-tune the skills that I need to maybe make my own business in the future,” Pierce said. “And it’s also helped me to build on what I’ve learned this past semester inside the classroom and go beyond that in a hands-on way.”
Anaía Brewster, a rising senior and hair stylist, was able to gain more customers during the pandemic due to many barbershops being closed.
“The barbershop that people had been going to before they knew about me had been closed, but I was still cutting hair,” Brewster said. “We like to double-mask up. I wear a mask, they wear a mask — and I keep my hands clean, of course.”
Currently, Brewster works from her home in Durham, though she is still unsure of where she will be working this school year. Brewster is reinvesting the profit she makes back into her business so she can afford to upgrade some of her equipment and get a new barber chair.
"I used to use a regular office chair or desk chair, but now I’ve been able to invest in getting a barber’s chair," Brewster said. "It affords me the opportunity to re-invest back into myself to make the brand better and make my service overall a better experience.”