The Endeavor Miami team spoke with Aurelia Edwards, Co-Founder & CEO of Nailstry and EndeavorLAB Alumni, to get her perspective as a founder in the middle of her entrepreneurial journey. Below are her transcribed responses.
Please introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Aurelia Edwards, the founder and CEO of Nailstry, and we are AI fingernail measurements for the press-on nail industry.
Why did you start Nailstry?
So it’s a funny story. I was a massage therapist in my previous life, and because I was in that service industry, my nails were always really short, and I wore press-on nails. It was an easy go-to. Whenever I had a last-minute event or an occasion, I could just put them on in the car. This particular day, I was going to my cousin’s wedding weekend. It was the first day of the weekend, which was like, the meet and greet with all the groomsmen and the bridesmaids. I was rushing, leaving from New Jersey to DC. And I tried putting on a manicure with some leftover press-on nails that I had in the closet. You see, normally they’ll sell you boxes of 24+ nails. So I tried to use the leftovers, and unfortunately for me, I was missing two.
I ended up having to stop at Target on the drive down and got stuck in traffic and missed the welcome party. And it just bothered me so much that I needed to buy a box of 24 more nails when I only needed two just to leave them in my closet. So I decided to create a sizing solution.
Why did you become an entrepreneur instead of putting up with the status quo?
That’s a really good question. I only had one corporate job. I feel that I excel in spaces where I’m allowed to really fully create, and in my previous jobs, it was a difficult power struggle. So I started my first company, and what I noticed was that I got a lot of joy from the feedback from my clients. I performed at a level that other people were not and I provided impact without having to meet corporate standards. I was able to scale how I delivered my services to my customers in a way that felt organic to their needs.
With Nailstry, I felt like I was uniquely put in this position to find this problem. I saw a gap in the nail industry that hasn’t had any innovation in decades and I felt like I was the one to solve this problem.
What is your biggest fear as a founder?
My biggest fear as a founder is actually running out of money. I think that’s a lot of founders’ issues. Funding is a big thing, but even without taking funding into place, companies don’t really fail because they have a bad idea or anything like that. It’s usually that they run out of capital. So being able to keep the lights on, being able to pay your other team members, just being able to stay liquid is always the biggest fear. A second one is that when you’re a founder, it kind of consumes your entire life. So for me, my fear of keeping a work-life, not really balanced, but work-life flow so that I’m still present in my friends’ and family’s events. So the other fear is to get super consumed by the startup world so I still make time for myself and my friends and my family.
How do you face your fear?
I wake up every morning. I show up. One of the mantras I have for myself is “just do something every single day.” So the first thing of not running out of money is making sure I’m able to budget and being smart about how I spend my capital. Ensuring that I’m focused on what things I spend money on, how they generate revenue because then I can reinvest that money. So that’s one of the ways to not run out of money when you’re not funded and you’re bootstrapping. And for the other one is just saying yes. I try to say yes to as many things as I can for family and friends so that I know that I’m actually present and not thinking too much about the past and getting caught up in things that I no longer have control over and not worrying too much about the future. So staying present allows me to keep that work-life flow as a startup founder.
Any words of encouragement for other entrepreneurs?
Know that you’re not alone. We’re all going through this struggle. I think the biggest thing I can say is just, again, show up every day and be consistent. Just do a little bit a day, even if it’s five minutes. When you look back two months, three months, six months, you’ll see how far you’ve gotten, and it just allows you to really just reflect and be proud and to celebrate those wins. All wins are great, big or small, but I think it’s really important that we do take the time to celebrate those wins, because the wins should weigh heavier than the things that you feel are failures. So be consistent and celebrate your wins.