BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dominique Coleman got her start doing nails in her mother’s living room. She had a table set up and would do manicures for family and friends.

Then she decided to take her passion to the next level.

“I told my mom, ‘I think I want to do nails full time.” At first, she and everybody else was like ‘Ehh, I don’t know. I never heard of a black girl doing nails!,” said ’Dominique Coleman, owner of Dazzling Beauty. “And I was like, ‘We exist, you know.'”

Fast forward to today, she’s the proud owner of a nail salon called Dazzling Beauty. She’s been in business for about five years and recently moved to a cozy shop at 262 Bryant Street in the Elmwood Village.

“Any black woman who wants to open a business, I fully support it. I want them to see that it’s possible. It takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of strength to do it,” said Coleman.

Inside her shop, she employs a nail tech and an esthetician.

Her nail tech Sasha Dobbins is known for her colorful nail art.

“I fell in love with nails because of nail art. I thought it was interesting how people could draw these really cool things with a tiny brush,” said Dobbins. “So I tried it and I love it. I love doing nail art.”

According to a recent study from UCLA’s Labor Center. Nearly 80 percent of nail workers in the nation are Vietnamese. The study says many are also Korean, Chinese and Nepali. This reality has made it challenging for African American women to break into the industry.

“Mostly, when people hear that I do nails or own a nail salon, they’re like ‘Wait a minute, you?’ I’m like, yea me! Come and visit. You won’t be disappointed.”

Black History Month

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.