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Nailed it!

Maggie Coors ‘25

Nov 13, 2023

In the past year, Barbara Gamboa ’26 has started her own manicure business on campus. She creates nail art for her friends and peers, and her services have become very popular lately. 

Sofia Martin ’26 got her nails done last winter by Gamboa. “I really loved them and they lasted a really long time! I can tell that Barbara knows what she is doing. She has all of the tools and materials that she needs to do whatever you ask for,” said Martin. 

Gamboa takes her business seriously. She taught herself the proper ways of doing nails to make them look professional and last for multiple weeks. 

“She adapts to people's schedules and the prices are reasonable,” Cyn Carter ’25 said. Her customers trust her to use good quality materials and to make their nails look nice. 

She is a committed nail artist now, but doing nails started as a fun, bonding activity for her. Gamboa says, “I mean, I have always done nails my whole life, not as a business but just painting me and my mom’s nails on the weekends to get prepared for school each week. We would sit on the floor and give each other mani-pedis and then after lay in her bed and put on a movie until I had to go to sleep. This was a usual thing that we did, like our little Sunday routine.” 

“I really enjoy doing nails and it’s a fun way to be able to bond with people because I feel as though I’ve gotten closer with people due to having the opportunity to do their nails. I feel really lucky that people trust me with this and that I have made friends from this,” said Gamboa. 

“I will definitely be getting them done again in the future, I have so much fun talking with her and hanging out while she does my nails!” says Martin. 

“I feel like the best part about getting my nails done by her is that I just feel more comfortable,” says Carter. 

Nail art went from a fun weekend activity to a business idea when Barbara arrived at Mercersburg and realized that her creativity and skill were profitable. “What got me to do it as a business was coming to boarding school honestly. I had thought about it over [the] summer thinking that I would be able to do girls in my dorm's nails, but I didn’t automatically connect it to having my own business,” says Gamboa. 

She now has regular clients and tends to get very busy around dances and semi-formal school events. 

“I even trusted her to do my prom nails!” Carter exclaims. 

Her business is going very well so far and she plans to keep it running for her entire time at Mercersburg Academy. Gamboa says, “Honestly, I don’t know what I want to do with my business in the future. I think I would really enjoy continuing with nails. I do know for sure that I will continue with my little business at school though.” 

If you are looking to get your nails done on campus, Gamboa’s business is definitely worth checking out!

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