I’m not perfect but my nails are. | Young Valpo entrepreneur’s pathway to living her dreams.

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Business, Business Spotlight, Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on March 03, 2021 with No Comments

By Carol Biancardi

Grandparents, Jesse and Jackie Ramos pledged to follow her wherever she’s chosen to go. Jordan had to trust the good advice from the good people and family she had as her strength and support.

She’s not yet reached the age of 30, but Jordan Ramos has not only created quite the name for herself but also one of the most unique and stylish nail salons in the region.  JLR Nails, the initials for her name, is located at One Center for the Arts at 1150 West Lincolnway in Valparaiso.  Her success story is simple yet remarkable. It’s one of circumstances and relationships; of not knowing what you should do with your life but having the courage to find out.

Jordan, like most of us, experienced that “what’s next, what should I do?” time of life after graduating from Hebron High School. For sure she was eager to be out on her own, exploring the possibilities, so it was on to the bigger city, Valparaiso, where she set up an apartment, worked two jobs to sustain herself, and ultimately decided to try college, hoping to somehow get ahead of it all. Overwhelmed, feeling like she was on a treadmill with all her circumstances and not really getting satisfaction she was seeking from college courses, two aunts stepped in with advice and support that proved to be the turning point.

She listened and learned.  Aunt Mel told her to use money to further herself with an education in something she loved. Now Jordan had an affinity for fashion, make up, beauty, even photography—everything but hair, as she describes it.  Aunt Becky did hair, was a cosmetologist and told her to “go for it” by enrolling in beauty school as the jumpstart to finding her passion. Jordan felt she should focus on a singular interest and figured nails would be the most fulfilling. It wasn’t easy to find a beauty school with that singular focus, but Aunt Becky located a school in LaPorte.

Determined to accelerate what she finally realized as a career she could enjoy and be a springboard to who knows what else, Jordan decided to blitz the 300 hours of course work needed to obtain nail technician certification. Still working but switching from college to vocational studies, three months later she had completed the task.  “That crazy time and everything I was doing all at the same time taught me so much that I was able to use later on with my own business venture.   Of course, you never realize it at the time,” she reflected.  “Nail school was a surprise, there was so much bookwork and studying:  anatomy, recognition of nail diseases, for example.  But when I was able to ‘work on the floor’ giving manicures and pedicures to the seniors who would come to the school for services, I was surprised again. I thoroughly enjoying talking with them, listening to their stories.”

Degrees, certifications can certainly be solid foundations but another thing most of us know is that there are no guarantees.  Finding experience, getting that first break, are the next life-changing turning points all the young and eager seek.  Jordan found hers the day she walked into Salon Amara on Lincolnway in Valparaiso and met owner JoAnne Resenow.   “In beauty school I learned nail basics, but my experience at Salon Amara enabled more nail training, the art of technician/client relationships and a lot about business, too,” Jordan explained.

Jordan started as the front desk receptionist where she could meet Amara clients, develop relationships, and eventually begin to build a cliental for herself.  When Jordan had no appointments for manicures/pedicures she could work the front desk and learn other tasks. Finally, she could sustain herself with one job and the commissions from manicures.

When JoAnne decided to retire and close the salon, this opened the way for Jordan’s true career move.  Jordan’s boyfriend Martin told her to “go for it, open your own nail salon.” Jordan describes that moment as the biggest decision of her life yet, one where, once again, she had to trust the good advice from the good people and family she had as her strength and support. She had the opportunity to purchase equipment including the manicure table and” the pedicure throne” at great discount.  She also purchased hundreds of beautiful bottles of nail enamels which festoon Jordan’s salon and nail art samples which her customers love when they want something different.

Finding the right place—Martin said, “I’ve got this,” one day after chatting with his friend Paul Schreiner at Radio Station WVLP in “that big building” on the corner of West Lincolnway and the Joliet Road intersection.  Jordan recalls her first look at the space Martin found that was available in this very urban renewal environment. “It was on the ground floor—easy access for my clients, some who are wheelchair bound.  I liked the idea of being close to our apartment less than a mile away; I loved the vintage atmosphere, but that room –it was scary and dark!”  A major discouragement that added to her intimidation about going solo quickly turned into hope, thanks to Martin, who was also a creative person—artist, writer, musician.  “We can fix it up, you can do this,” he urged.

That turning point occurred on March 1, 2019 when she signed the lease for JLR Nail Design with then-owner Walt Breitinger, who had a dream of his own for “that big building” as an art center. He recognized Jordan’s nail artistry and was incredibly supportive of her as a young entrepreneur. He told her she could fix and decorate the scary dark room however she desired, but to keep the exposed brick integrity.  Together with their families, Jordan and Martin created an outstanding environment in just three weeks. By March 20, JLR Nails began receiving the cherished and supportive clients who encouraged her to “go for it” pledging to follow her wherever she would choose to go.

“My customers made this all possible, too.  I did not want to disappoint them; Salon Amara was beautiful.  We decided it would be best to ‘go with the flow’ of the building; make the best of the pipes, in fact, using more pipes for shelves. My dad and grandfather constructed a divider wall between client service and a waiting area from corrugated metal. The contrast of the beauty and nail products created Industrial Chic and my clients absolutely love it!” she exclaimed.

Jordan’s growing success is also made possible by the beautiful work she does and continued support from family. “Mom is my biggest cheerleader and best customer! She is always showing off my creations and sending new clients. When it was construction time, she was right in there, too,” Jordan said.

The attractive and unusual salon makes an impact. People who come into the building for other services peek through her window, take her cards for contact information, and schedule appointments.

“I found out a lot about myself through this journey, what I wanted, what I didn’t want. I knew when I was job hunting after nail school that being in a shop that took walk-ins was not for me. Working in a restaurant, giving the manicures to the seniors, making relationships at Amara, created a sense of valuing individuals, getting to know them, inviting them into my life as well,” explained Jordan.  “My customers are friendships. Nearly a year ago, when our baby Charlotte was born, just as the pandemic started, we were showered with baby gifts, accessories, beyond any expectations.”

Jordan emphasizes how grateful she is to be in this position of entrepreneur in a city she loves, with people who gave her opportunities, young as she was, and followers who are more like family and friends.  She pays it forward by encouraging others, to “go for it” when space is available in the building and she knows there is a young person who wants to be their own boss. There is her friend Laura next door, who does hair and soon she’s opening a brow salon on the other side of JLR. There is the nurse who transformed a tiny narrow space into a holistic Reiki spa; and there’s Cousin Nathan who expanded into an art studio by the entrance.

Jordan is indeed grateful to live in such an amazing city, with amazing Martin and Charlotte and Martin’s three daughters on weekends. They love their vintage apartment where Orville Redenbacher once lived.  Her advice to the young, now that she’s nearing the ripe old age of 30, is to first find what you love to do, be sure you are prepared/know your basic skills, place yourself in a growing environment, surround yourself with family and good people, let everything else fall away. Learn from whatever circumstances you’re in — it all works together to move you forward.

JLR Nail Design is located at One Center for the Arts, 1150 West Lincolnway, Valparaiso. The appointment scheduling link is jordanramos.Setmore.com; she also accepts texts or calls at 219-545-5944.

 

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