Business phone # (901)-299-9727
As part of our follow-up to the progress the Daughters of Zion SBA CNPP grantee is making within Memphis, Shelby County, and beyond- we are highlighting the weekly Entrepreneur of the Week Award. Michelle Woods was chosen as entrepreneur of the week, and when asked why, Dr. Gerald Kiner, Ph.D. declared, “ Michelle is an extraordinary woman, business owner, and woman of faith. Her story is transformational. Michelle embodies the American spirit of entrepreneurship. I am so blown away by how she incorporates her other skills such as reflexology into her pedicures which makes her stand out from the competition. This is an example of Michelle incorporating the “ Blockbuster Ideas “ we motivate our entrepreneurs to think about incorporating within their businesses to gain an edge over the competition. Michelle’s gifts have definitely made room for her and she’s only going higher from here.”
Michelle Woods answered several questions for the Entrepreneur of the Week.
Q: Please tell us your full name and the name of your business.
A: Hello, my name is Michelle Denise Woods. I am the proud owner of HappiFeet & Nails Studio.
Q: How did you come up with that name?
A: I came up with the name Happi, I spelled it H-A-P-P-I. And I’ve had several names out of the 30 years, but that is my latest name. And it came from that song, Pharrell Williams, “I’m So Happy.” And also, my clients, when I give them a pedicure that is the first word I’ve heard most and majority of the time, “they had happy feet and their feet were happy.”
Q: What started you to get in the business that you’re in?
A: It started in my prayer closet. I was working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, had been there for five years, and I got to the point where I was like, “Lord, I need something to supplement my income.” And this particular day I was working from 3 to 11, so it was about 10, 11 ‘o’clock a.m. I was praying out to God and crying to him, and asking him for a skill that would supplement my income.
And the Holy Spirit said, “Nails.” And of course, my sister was a nail tech and she often tried to get me to go to school to learn how to do it, but I wasn’t interested. But this time it was different that the Holy Spirit said nails, so I immediately got the telephone book and called every school in Memphis, Tennessee, and came across a school named and they had a special. You know, women, we always want to go for the special.
So, I went in the very next day because I needed to join before the Fourth of July, and I think it was around the 1st or the 2nd of July. So, I got there and they gave me all the information. I took a tour around the school, and was able to speak to some of the students that were in the classes. I left there very encouraged. I said, “This is it. This is where I want to be.” So, it started from there in my prayer closet.
Q: How many years ago was that?
A: I celebrated my 30th year in the business on August the 12th of 2022. So, that was in 1992 when I first got started. When I went to school and got out of school, immediately started working at a salon.
Q: Are you full-time now?
A: Yes, I am full-time.
Q: What have been some of the biggest compliments you’ve received from your clientele?
A: Being an African l- American nail tech, while the industry it’s mostly Asian. That’s one of the things that my clients often highlight- having me as someone who they could relate to and understand their feelings and ideas. I’m a counselor as well ( giggles).
Q: What has caused you to have such longevity in the business?
A: When God gives you something to do and you follow through with it, He said that, ‘your gift will make room for you and bring you before kings.’ And I consider my clients as kings and queens. So, that’s the passion that I have for what I’m doing over the 30 years. When I started I went hard. Like, one of my friends who was in the industry, she would stay up with me to two, three ‘o’ clock in the morning making sure that I stayed inside of the line. So it was fun. When I got started, it was soothing. It was kind of relaxing.
Q: What is your slogan?
A: “Why go to the rest when you have the best?”
Q: How did you find out about the Daughters of Zion CNPP Program?
A: I was riding down 240 headed to the salon, and it came on the radio. And, not only the one time, but two times. I heard it the one time and then the second time. I was always in traffic, on the radio is where I got the information. And I said, “You know what? That’s what I need.” They are helping people, new business owners, grants, and business plans. Yeah, I needed to be there.”
You know, after being in the business for so long I found myself being really kind of a complacent person. And everything that I heard it tweaked my ear. And I was like, “This is it. This is another opportunity. So, I came on that Saturday, and the platform, and the people that I met, again, was confirmation that’s where I needed to be. During the pandemic things had slowed down. And Dr. Kiner, Natalie, Kim, and a host of other people all took me in.
Just being able to meet people and put them in my contacts, it’s been very resourceful and beneficial, and I enjoy everything. I mean, you can’t get a better place that gives you all of this information, a host of information that you can use in your business, you can use for your job. It’s been very good. It’s been very good for me. And I, actually, another one of my friends, Rochelle… we’d meet up at the place from time to time. But on Saturdays, my biggest work day, I sometimes have to just sit on the Zoom call. So, even the technology allowed me to meet and not be physically there. It has been a blessing as well.
Q: What has surprised you the most being involved with Daughters of Zion CNPP Program?
A: I guess the people who you meet. The platform, it’s free information. Like everything, people say things are free, but when you get there it’s always catch-22. But literally the information that you all have given, has shared with us, continually to share with us. You all doing the research and finding out all these things, and just freely give it to us, that’s what I like. Like genuine, transparent people, transparent about where they are. And, you know, very hopeful when we’re leaving. And then, you all even fellowship with food after the meetings and even the food is free. Wow, you can’t beat it.
Q: What would you say to somebody that says, “Hey, there’s 1,000 nail techs in Memphis, why should we come to you, Michelle? What stands out about you to make us want to come to you, other than all these other people we have to go to?”
A: My skill set of working with the feet. I’ve learned reflexology, and reflexology allows you to deal with the pressure points. And the nerve, a lot of our nerve endings are…at the bottom of our feet. So, reflexology is used to reduce the pain someone could be having, stress, anxiety and after you’ve had a good session with a reflexologist, it promotes sleep, it relaxes you. Immediately there is pressure released from pain, immediately you can feel it. If you get the right spots you can really feel the difference. And it’s, you know, I don’t necessarily charge extra for it, I probably should but that’s just what I offer my clients. And like you said, I need to promote it, because I don’t know many nail techs that provide that service.
I learned reflexology, so, you have those pressure points. When people are dealing with their sinuses I can go to the tip of their toe and massage it and that releases sinus congestion. If they’re having heart palpitation, the middle of the feet is where the heart is, I apply pressure there. Even the shoulder’s hurting, the part of your feet that’s on the side of your foot, I apply pressure there. So, a lot of people have said that I’ve healed them. That‘s the purpose of HappiFeet to bless people and heal them.
Q: Any thing else you want to let the world know about you?
A: I want people to know about me and the nail industry HappiFeet. I have a passion for this. I’m so grateful that in my prayer closet God answered and I followed through.
I want people to know that I have 30 years of experience with doing nails. I’ve never literally had anyone to say that they had a nail fungus, they’ve lost a nail. Ninety-eight percent of my clients leave satisfied, and I’m blessed to have clients, pretty much that I’ve started with over the years, I still have those clients. So I want them to know, if they give me a chance, I can say that they won’t regret it.
To sign up for free DOZ CNPP business coaching and training use the link below:
Or call 901-260-9933