A new kiosk at Nittany Mall, Nu Beauty, recently opened to provide State College with top-quality hair products, cosmetics, extensions, wigs, braiding hair, and other accessories.
Cosmetologist Callie Turner moved to State College when she was in second grade. She eventually acquired her cosmetology license and attended a business school for a year and a half. She has spent the last four years planning and working to open her own beauty store, Nu Beauty.
When Turner first started the project for her business, she was thinking about creating just an online store for her products. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Turner decided to do things a bit differently.
“We’re not in lockdown anymore, and I just got inspired about people doing different things,” she said. “I decided to think outside the box and see if I could rent a kiosk inside our local mall and see how much that would cost.”
In the beginning, Turner said it wasn’t easy because there were a lot of steps she had to take, and she was still figuring out which products she wanted to have at her store.
“I was wasting a lot of money because the product was not good,” she said. “With any type of retail, you have to research and see the good products and how much you’re spending.”
She said that as a cosmetologist, she knows a lot about hair. The twist is that instead of doing the procedures, she is now selling the products. To her, big retail stores have access to bigger companies and more money to spend on products.
As someone starting off small, she adopted a different strategy. Once she announced that she was opening a store, some people reached out to her to ask if they could sell their products at her store. She also personally contacted others and asked if they wanted to have their products featured at her store.
Once people delivered the products to her store, she sells them and, once they sell, she pays for the products. This process ensures that everyone is being paid fairly and she doesn’t need to spend more money on other people’s products when she is already buying her own products for her store.
“So far, it’s been working really well because they know how much inventory is in my store,” Turner said. “I communicate with them, and they get paid out weekly, and the process just works!”
She also said that she is very picky with the products that she offers at Nu Beauty. Turner wants to make sure that everything she is offering is the best quality possible for her clients. The main reason for the creation of her business was to provide the community with hair products that they can’t get locally, so they’d have to get things online or travel outside of State College to get them.
“When it comes to wigs and hair extensions I feel like it is very limited here in State College,” she said. “I am never going to sell anything that is not good. I am really picky myself, so whenever I do anything, it has to be perfect.”
The quality of the products is of major importance to Turner. She said that every product available was hand-picked and she uses them herself.
However, feedback from clients is vitally important, too. She said her favorite part is getting to know the people that come to her store. Knowing where they come from, what products they use, and what things they are looking for helps her grow her business.
“The people that come to my store are from ages 16 to 80 years old. They are Black, white, Hispanic, Asian…all ethnicities, because a lot of people wear wigs and hair extensions, and I have what they are looking for,” Turner said. “I’ve had women who have had chemo, so they don’t have hair or they have very thin hair and they want wigs. They come to me and I help them choose a product. We have cosmetics, too, so if they want to buy any type of cosmetics, I have it.
“In my store, there is no gender, no race, no prerequisite,” she continued. “It’s all about you and wanting the best products for you.”
Turner said that she likes having the ability to create what type of culture her store will have. Getting to know the clients on a personal level and helping them with their needs is one of her goals.
“I want people to know that they can come to me and get good quality products for whatever their price range is,” she said. “I want to be able to help people.”
Turner also said that she wants to help new entrepreneurs. She said she knows how hard it is to start alone and without loans so she wants to be of assistance to whoever is starting.
“Everything was me saving my money and putting it towards my business,” she said. “I was working like three jobs so I want to be able to help young and old entrepreneurs because, you know, it’s hard.”
Turner has been receiving a lot of support from Penn State students. She said that as soon as she started promoting her business on Instagram, students started sharing and reposting her publications on their stories.
“You guys were so happy and you started spreading the word, and that was amazing. I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “I just feel welcomed by Penn State students. The local people that I grew up with have been really supportive too. I feel welcomed and loved.”