Getting a manicure just got a lot easier thanks to a local nail artist who is taking her services on the road.
Micaela Maharaj was just getting her business off the ground when the COVID-19 pandemic it, so she decided to pivot.
“I knew I wanted to eventually have something like an RV,” Maharaj said.
Instead, she bought a van.
With the help of her brother, Matthew Maharaj, founder and contractor of On The Flip Side Renovations, Micaela bought her new “location” and renovated it from the outside-in.
Starting from scratch, they created a fully functional salon on wheels.
It was Matthew’s first van project, which presented a new challenge in itself, but he adds there was one bigger concern.
“How do you actually provide the service for a whole eight-hour day without needing to plug in, without needing a massive array of solar panels,” the contractor said.
They made it work by adding a power system to the undercarriage of the van that connects to battery packs hidden under a bench.
With the hardest part out of the way, the brother-sister duo was able to create a space fully equipped to provide customers with a salon experience in their driveway, something Micaela said makes self-care more accessible.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into getting somebody who can’t drive or doesn’t know how to drive, getting them to a salon,” Micaela said.
“[This] kind of takes that variable out of it, and me being able to come to them gives them a lot more freedom to have their nails done whenever they decide.”
The total cost was roughly $65,000, according to Micaela, who said the pre-owned van had about 55 kilometers clocked when she bought it for $45,000. The rest of the renovations cost around $20,000, Micaela estimates.
Naming the business Laatu Nails, Micaela wanted to honour her mother’s Finnish ethnicity. The word translates to “quality” in English, which Micaela said emulates everything she wanted in her project.
The mobile salon has wood flooring, floating shelves and plenty of storage for her nearly 100 nail colours, tools, cleaning supplies and more.
It’s equipped with two chairs and a bench seat if someone wants their parent or friend with them.
Micaela even ripped out the front passenger seat to make room for her dog’s bed, and has a cookie jar for guests to treat the pup.
For now, Micaela said she’ll service anywhere in Winnipeg and some surrounding communities.
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