College students explore plenty of options to fund their education—waiting tables, working in the library, moonlighting as birthday clowns—but these ventures are usually temporary. When Charity Hawk began doing nails in 1999 to pay for college, her client roster began to grow, rapidly. She says, “I realized then, this is what you go to college for,” and being a nail technician became her career. Her clients, some of whom have been with her for more than 10 years, get pampered in the space Refuge at the Mill, formerly known as Nails by Charity, where dark hardwood floors and sheer black curtains balance stucco-textured walls, giving the salon an elegant, vintage feel.
In mani-pedis enhanced with sugar scrubs and moisture masks, Charity coats nails with polish by OPI and formaldehyde-free Zoya as shiatsu massage chairs ease stress. Charity is most adept at working with acrylic nails, on which she uses only Entity products. Her years of experience have given her a talent for correcting acrylics gone awry without reapplying them, damaging the natural nail bed, or forcing them to go to detention.