Susan Aflak was working crazy-long hours as an investment banker when a lunchtime visit to a food truck gave her the idea for a new business venture.
“I barely had enough time to eat, let alone run beauty errands. If I wanted to go to a salon on my birthday weekend, for example, nothing would be open,” Aflak said to Business Insider. “One day during lunch, I saw a food truck outside — and it seems kind of silly to say — but I thought, ‘If only that food truck could do it for me.'”
In 2012, Aflak decided to leave her finance job behind to make her entrepreneurial dream a reality. After going to beauty school to get her manicurist licence, she spent a year renovating a retro Airstream trailer before opening La Lacquerie, a mobile nail salon, this January.
Manicures in Aflak’s trailer range from $US16 to $US38, with pedicures costing between $US19 and $US45. Two or three nail technicians take appointments on any given day. Some work for La Lacquerie full-time, while others take appointments on their days off from their more traditional salon jobs.
Her business initially consisted of private parties, but it wasn’t long before she landed her first corporate partnership, with a little company called Google.
“Tech firms in Silicon Valley are trying to make things easier for their employees. The women who work there are very busy. They work long hours, plus they have families and other responsibilities. A lot of them are living in San Francisco and taking the bus down every day,” Aflak said. “I think it’s something people had been asking for, but it didn’t really exist.”
The partnership with Google proved to be extremely valuable, and word spread quickly on social media.
“Driving the trailer to Google is like a giant walking billboard,” she said.
She now makes regular stops at Facebook and Electronic Arts in addition to twice-weekly sessions at the Googleplex. She’ll be starting visits to YouTube soon.
The salon has been a big hit with techies so far. Women — and a few men — stop by Aflak’s trailer during their lunch hour, before they head home after work, or even for team-building events and one-on-one performance reviews.
“Some people will bring their laptops in and work during their pedicure,” she said.
Five months after launching, Aflak’s days are still crazy. She generally arrives on-site three hours before the first appointment, oversees a full day of bookings, then spends several hours managing operations and answering emails.
“And I’m personally driving the trailer. That’s definitely the most nerve-wracking part,” she said.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.