Outside of classes and campus life, some SUNY Plattsburgh students have found that starting a business is a beneficial way to spend free time and make money. These small businesses provide services to students without having to travel far. Hair, nail and food businesses can all be sought after here, it’s all a matter of knowing who you can go to.
Alicia Fisher, a junior math major who hopes to go into math education, runs a hair business. Fisher started out doing her sister and cousin’s hair, but after her mom suggested she make an Instagram page for it, @doneby_denise was born. Mostly wanting to do braids and box braids, Fisher’s business is currently at a standstill due to COVID-19. When the COVID outbreak first took off in March, Fisher was able to do hair for a few students and close friends. She followed mandatory mask regulations and made sure to take the temperatures of all her customers at the door.
After covid continued to rise and the number of cases around the world increased, she decided to stop promoting the business on Instagram. “I haven’t gotten many requests to do hair mainly because I stopped advertising and didn’t feel comfortable with doing hair with either my roommates around or in someone else’s apartment where I might be exposed,” she said.
For now, Fisher is accepting DM requests on Instagram from students who want a braided hairstyle, as long as the customer has been recently tested and has had limited contact with other people.
Hillary Salazar, a sophomore currently majoring in criminal justice, runs a nail business. Salazar thought of the idea to start her own nail business after constantly being disappointed when she’d get her nails done from other people. As a result, she decided to teach herself. When she first began,
Salazar struggled to put money toward all the things she would need for a successful nail business because materials were expensive and sometimes hard to find, especially when trying to buy items for specific nail designs. Even with these struggles, Salazar has found starting this business to be beneficial because it has forced her to become organized.
“I adjusted my schedule for myself so I would have time for my business, school and a social life. Salazar began gaining exposure through close friends and sorority members who would share her Instagram page to their stories and feeds. Since covid, Salazar hasn’t been able to take in just anybody. Like Fisher, she has been careful to only provides nail services to people recently tested who wear masks during the entire time she does their nails. She also requires customers to sanitize when entering and exiting her workspace. Sophomore journalism and public relations double major Melanie Lonzo, a customer of Salazar’s, gives her nails a 10/10.
“I didn’t need a fill-in until 3-4 weeks later, and I usually do a lot of work with my hands but they still lasted a long time,” Lonzo said.
Salazar is still accepting appointments through direct messege on her Instagram page @nailsbyhills_ for anyone who wants their nails done.
Cathy Concepcion, a senior majoring in biomedical science, runs a food business. @Cats.concina on Instagram offers “good quality meals’’ to students on campus. While other small businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, Concepcion doesn’t find herself in the same position. After constantly cooking for herself and her friends during the start of quarantining, a friend convinced her to start a business.
Concepcion thinks covid has actually helped her business.
“A lot of restaurants got shut down and campus no longer provides the same food options they once did, so students are always looking for different things to eat and try,” Concepcion said. Some of Concepcion’s meals have consisted of rasta pasta, mango chicken, mango salmon and other foods not offered in food chains here in Plattsburgh.
Concepcion’s menus always include vegetarian and/or pescatarian options for students who have food restrictions. Senior and sociology major Jonathan Benjamin used to buy from Cats.concina every week when she was still putting out new orders every week.
“Every week you’re getting something new, unlike the food on campus. Plus, you get a good amount of food that’s still going to be less than $20 bucks even when I get a drink and dessert,” he said.
To keep up with her business, Concepcion had to learn to balance her business with her extensive workload. When Concepcion first began her business, she would post the week’s menu on Fridays, giving customers until Wednesday to place an order on the ordering sheet in her bio and receive their food on the day of their choosing- either Thursday or Friday. But with her hectic schedule, Concepcion now only takes orders through DM, and has let customers know she’s usually available Monday-Wednesday for anyone who would like to order food.