( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Manicurist Duriya Caldwell Seeks To Change Lack Of Diversity In Manicure Industry
ENSPIRE Contributor: Naomi Stamps
After witnessing a lack of diversity in the nail care and manicure industry, entrepreneur Duriya Caldwell rewrote the narrative. She opened a full-service manicure school called “Black Pearl Nail Academy,” which is one of Memphis’ best-kept secrets. It’s a full-service manicure school that provides instruction through classroom theory and apprenticeship programs to develop student careers in the cosmetology field. Equipped with a Masters of Business Administration degree with a focus in Business Management and over 20 years of experience, this manicurist instructor gives students the best nail care and business skills.
While many colleges faced a decline in enrollment thanks to the pandemic, Duriya Caldwell experienced the complete opposite. She welcomed many new students and has partnered with a local program to provide tuition grants to those who can’t afford educational costs and licenses. She explains that “Many students inquire with the bigger schools that require a full cosmetology program, which means student loans and private funding, and decide they will just do nails out of their home without a license; I want to show them there is a right way to do it and it is affordable.” Besides business and nail care skills, Duriya Caldwell is also committed to teaching sanitation practices. During the pandemic, she learned that many “skilled” technicians weren’t following required health and sanitation procedures.
While many are taking safety precautions because of COVID, sanitation procedures have been an issue well before the pandemic. Some customers have contracted infections from unclean tools and having cuticles pushed back. Manicurists are also at risk of exposure to harsh chemicals that can affect their health. Duriya Caldwell wants to ensure that her students go above for sanitation procedures to protect their health and clients.
“Black Pearl Nail Academy” is also dedicated to giving second chances to those seeking careers in the cosmetology field. Tennessee law allows felons to get employment, providing aspiring manicurists the opportunities they often struggle to receive. It’s commendable that Duriya Caldwell looks past one’s mistakes so they can follow their passion and make a living from it. This manicurist shows statistics don’t define one’s capabilities. If we don’t see enough diversity in a career field, we have the power to change that. Duriya Caldwell also shows the importance of looking beyond someone’s past. We all have made mistakes in our lives, and many of us are looking to create better futures.
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