[PHOTO AT LEFT - Nail Files salon’s relaxing and homey ambience MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 (STAR) By Alexa Villano - We all go through changes in our lives especially in career choices. This is exactly what Mitzi Panganiban, a nurse by profession, did when she decided to become an entrepreneur.

“I wanted to reinvent myself and see what else I can do and be successful at. I wanted to prove that I and any Filipino can actually make it here in our country,” Panganiban says who owns the Nail Files Hand and Feet Salon in Quezon City.

Before establishing Nail Files, Panganiban originally wanted to franchise an eyelash salon. “But eventually, I abandoned the idea because the commercial space I plan to rent is too big,” she says.

“My plan B was to set-up a complete salon but after two weeks of toying with the idea and looking for potential haircutters, I decided not to pursue it as I do not have a training in haircutting and I do not have experience handling gay employees. Plan C is to combine the original idea of eyelash extensions with manicure-pedicure and hand and foot paraffin spa,” she adds.

Plan C pushed through and later evolved into what Nail Files is today. She opened her first branch in the UP Village area and after a month achieved a break even status. Not bad for someone with no business background. “ The fact that I learned everything and did everything on my own from permits to renovation of the space, to hiring and finding the right people to train us, to look for suppliers to marketing. When I look back, it brings me the most satisfaction that I was able to rise above and bring Nail Files to where it is now,” Panganiban says.

With the success of the first branch, she opened her second branch in Katipunan last March. A third branch, which is a franchise, is set to open in the Taft area this October. When asked what made her say yes to the franchise, Panganiban says “the franchisee is qualified. She has the right attitude with management skills and financial capability. She also picks the right location, one that is she is familiar with. I know it would be a good move for Nail Files to branch out of Quezon City as it will expand its market and enhance name recall.”

With all the hard work and effort, Panganiban is happy that their clients are satisfied with the services provided by the salon. “They (clients) enjoy the pampering services and they like the very relaxing ambience.”

But with every nail salon mushrooming in the city, what differentiates Nail Files from the rest? “Nail Files has a back to basic approach to pampering. Unhurried, simple, no fuss and very relaxing and affordable prices,” Panganiban boasts.

To also ensure the quality of services, Panganiban makes sure that she hires the right people and trains them well. She implements timely and accurate quality measures through contacts with clients, regular assessment of staff.

Panganiban also coordinates with local government training and employment centers In Quezon City, Marikina and Pasay in hiring employees. “We feel that this is the social responsibility of Nail Files; to help the government provide jobs and empower women.”

Aside from the manicure and pedicure, Nail Files also provide paraffin for hands, feet and even the back. The salon also has a wide array of affordable packages for the budget conscious people who want to pamper themselves and relax. Celebrities like MYX VJ’s Chino and Bianca were seen relaxing while being pampered by Nail Files attendants.

And for those who want to become entrepreneurs, Panganiban has these to advice: “There are six things: first know your business, second, examine yourself, third, know where you want to be in five years, fourth, do not allow any room for complacency, fifth, listen, read and learn and sixth, pray. It’s the most powerful tool.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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