How to Start a Press-Ons Nail Business

About a month ago I gave you first-hand information on my experience selling press-ons. How to get you going to potentially make that side-income and put some food on the table, sort-of-speak. Today I am taking you through the step-by-step on how to set up the business legal aspect of things.

This is important regardless of whether you are selling press-ons, cuticle oils, nail kits, or anything tangible, you need this information. 

Since that initial press-ons video, many of you got things rolling and are now selling custom press-ons. Congrats to all of you who have! If you want to share the name of your business, comment below with your business name and the items you sell. Woop, Woop!

When you’re ready, you want to re-visit this blog and check out my new press-ons course to help you get through the process of setting up your press-ons business, step-by-step.

This information is not only helpful for selling press-ons but also selling in general with or without an online store.

This is not legal advice, just first-hand info on what I’ve done in the past to sell stuff online and offline also. Also, keep in mind that every state may be different, so verify with your state to see what and if any of the information shared today pertains to you.

And in case, you still need supply recommendations, here are a few faves from my Amazon Store.

Do I need a license?

Right off the bat, you do NOT need to be licensed as a nail technician to start selling press-ons because you are not physically working with the public. 

Listen, if you can believe this, many salon owners don’t even have a tech license to do manicures, they just own the business. 

Much in the same way, you are owning a business when selling your line of custom handmade press-ons. You are not performing a service on the public, you are selling them a product that definitely entails some licensing, but not occupational licensing which is a manicurist license.

This means that even if you are just a nail enthusiast who can create exceptional outstanding nail art, you can give this a go. In the long term, this can warm you up to one day possibly training and joining the gang of licensed nail techs.

So how to easily start selling online legally?

Select whether you will be a sole proprietor or limited liability company.

A sole prop does business under their own social security number and is solely liable for debts and damages of the business. Sole props do business under their own name or file some sort of “doing business as” document with their state.

A limited liability company is an incorporated business that does business under its own social security number better known as an EIN for tax purposes. (It’s free, just go to the IRS website to sign up for one.) An LLC most importantly protects your personal assets if your business were to be sued. 

Keep in mind that there are annual or bi-annual fees to be paid to your state to maintain your LLC status.

When you create your business name, look it up through your county’s public records to make sure it is not out there already or too similar to an existing business in your area. It’s also a good idea to do a trademark search to ensure you won’t be forced to rename and rebrand later down the line. Furthermore, register your business name as a domain name to start setting up your website for business.

Now, if selling press-ons and maybe just small batch custom nail items are all you will be doing, personally, an LLC may be a bit much. You can wait until you actually get major clarity on whether your business should expand in terms of more retail items and even potentially hiring employees.

With that said, get acquainted with your state’s SOS (Secretary of State) because they are usually the ones to handle business entities within your state.

How to get legal?

First things first, your state may require you to obtain a general business license even if operating your business online.

Even when selling customized goods like your press-on nails you are still responsible for collecting sales tax from all of your sales and therefore you will need to apply for a Sales Tax License (sometimes also known as seller’s permit). Or maybe you live in one of the 5 states who do not collect sales tax.

I don’t think there are any other licenses to add but do check with your state’s SOS to see what other forms or permits you may need to start selling.

Lastly, after securing your domain, or website name, you need to turn it into an e-commerce website, and so you need to integrate an online store builder to it like Shopify.

If creating a website totally freaks you out, I get ya. That is why sites like Etsy, and Square exist. So head on over to those sites for the easiest online selling setup. The downside is that the URL you always share will not be a lovely URL with your business name but rather something like:

https://etsy.com/mybeautifulnailbiz, or https://Squareup.com/onlinestore/mybeautifulnailbiz 

Instead of the beautiful URL of mybeautifulnailbiz.com, do you see that?

Alright, I don’t think I need to make this any more complicated.

Remember:

  1. Sole prop or, LLC…
  2. Will you be using your SSN or applying for an EIN to do business…
  3. Your name or a DBA filing for the name of your business…
  4. Check with your state to see if you need a business license or other forms to fill out as an online business…
  5. A Sales Tax License…
  6. A domain name and online store builder like Shopify…
  7. Or simply use Etsy or Square for now, if setting up a website freaks you.

Come and hang with us! We talk Japanese, solopreneurship in the industry, and more. Join me in our private Facebook group and let’s grow together. https://www.paolaponcenails.com/gelboss


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Get "The 10 Steps To Launching Your Press-on Business" Guide

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Get "The 10 Steps To Launching Your Press-on Business" Guide

The guide is currently in-the-works and will be emailed to you as soon as it is published!

23 thoughts on “How to Start a Press-Ons Nail Business”

    1. Amazon is a great and cheap place for nail stuff! Most things I use for my business come from there.
      Essentials you need:
      Press on nails (duh) I reccomend ordering them in clear.
      Nail glue: Order it in bulk, and include it with orders. Makartt makes a cheap pack.
      Files and clippers, plus a know how of basic nail shapes.
      Nail polish: Gel or air dry polish works, but i prefer gel because it lasts longer. Pick up a uv led lamp for it for cheap.
      Bells and whistles:
      Gems: For a little sparkly moment, and for making your nails way more beautiful.
      Stickers: If your feeling like cheating on nail art, these are your best bet.
      Brushes and tools: For doing gorgeous nail art.
      Total cost for everything- around $200 USD
      How much I charge for my sets: 10 dollars for a simple set, 17 dollars for a set with gems/accessories, 25 dollars for a custom set.
      Tips:
      Start social media accounts for your business.
      Tell your friends about your business.
      Wear your nail designs out in public.
      Make sets nobody has seen before, something new and fun.
      If you have the money, make an advertisement on YouTube.
      Ask a blogger/youtuber for a sponsorship.
      Good luck starting your business!

      1. Vanessa Jefferson

        Chenille
        Thank you so much for your advice and knowledge. I am new to this business thing even tho I have been wearing false nails since I was 10 im 60 now and I love nails. I decided to do this as a side job. And I’m excited and didn’t k ow which way to start. I did get me EIN number. Now I know what to do next. Thank you very much.
        Respectfully
        Vanessa

        1. We definitely encourage you charge more… but we also understand that new press-on designers have to first get comfortable with charging period, and receiving feedback.

  1. hello i have a question that i hope you can help me with. I am filing for sole proprietorship in Illinois. I will be selling press on’s as well. I’m currently stuck on the part where Its asking for business type. i selected Manufacturing for Primary Business Activity and Retail for Secondary Business Activity but i am confused as to what to enter for Business Type. If you can help me out I’d greeatly appreciate it. Your blog is the best and most informative I’ve come across so i figured you might know. Thank you so much

  2. Hi I have a question about the whole technician license and selling. If I want to start a press on business and I don’t have a tech license, can I put stuff like nail glue and I file in my packages for customers?

  3. Hello! I am a new business selling custom presson nails. An expo reached out to me asking to be a vendor at their next event. They are very successful in the customer turn out rate which is exciting knowing the chances of making a sale will be high. It’s my first time at an event like this and I’m usually used to creating custom fitted sets. Do you recommend selling one size fits all sets or should I go with small medium or large? This part is killing me.

    1. OOooh! What an opportunity! I would go with one size fits all (assuming you’ll be providing about 20+ nails per set?). Can you imagine if all of your Medium sizes are sold… and then cannot make a sale any more because the next customers are neither a small or a large? Just thinking worst case scenario… and I could imagine putting the work of 20+ nails is what is setting you off?

  4. Just a business license. Not a professional license. You would be selling a retail product, not a personal service.

  5. Hello! I am currently setting up my online store and have a few questions. What should I type up, if anything, for Terms & Conditions, Return Policy, and Privacy Policy? Thanks in advance! Also your videos and advise are amazing and really boosted my confidence that I can do this! Thanks!

  6. What do you put your nails on while your painting them? A practice hand? A stand? A tray? Please email me the link or drop it below so that I can buy it. I tried to click your Amazon supplies link and it did not work.

  7. Thank you so much for this information! Im interested in starting my on nail business and I’m very excited about it. I have been doing my research since I’ve read your article. You make it clear and easy to follow. I know the start up will be a bit overwhelming, but, it will make my dream conme true! Thank you, again!

  8. Could i just sell a few sets on etsy to see how it goes and if i see that my sets are actually taking off, i could start the process on making a business and to collect taxes or do i need to get started right off the bat if i actually want to sell one set on etsy?

    1. You should get into press-ons because YOU LOVE the process of creating, not to see if it will make you money. There are many other things we can pick up to make money <3

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