- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) - At 24 years old, Jarrel Baccus is an established business owner with a clientele that goes beyond the Pee Dee area.

Baccus opened Pinky Promise Nail Studio in Quinby on her 23rd birthday, something she said she never envisioned herself doing. What she initially wanted to do following high school was receive a Ph.D. and become a school guidance counselor.

“I wanted to become a guidance counselor, and I wanted to work in a school system,” Baccus said. “My focus was to just help younger kids who didn’t have the backing that they needed at home. I wanted to help push them in a positive direction.”

After graduating in 2010 from Wilson High School, Baccus attended Florence-Darlington Technical College to complete her prerequisite courses before planning to transfer to a university to pursue a Ph.D. But what happened was totally different.

While in school, Baccus was working seven days a week at a nail salon. She had received a cosmetology license upon graduating from Wilson and after attending the Florence Career Center. Doing nails was something she loved since the sixth grade.

“One day, I was literally talking to my client, and she said, ‘What are you in school for?’ And I said, ‘To get my degree in psychology,” Baccus said. “I was like, ‘I want to help people. I really enjoy talking to people.’ And I was like, this doesn’t make any sense. I just got finished talking to Keisha over here about her problems, so I am helping people.”

Baccus realized that she could still counsel people while being a nail artist. She could do both at the same time. So, after graduating with an associate’s degree in art, she moved to Atlanta to pursue her nail career.

“I graduated and moved to Atlanta, because one of the things I really enjoyed doing is nail art,” Baccus said. “So I just felt like me being in the city, that would give me exposure.”

In Atlanta, Baccus worked at Candy Coated Nail Spa, where she said she worked with motivated, like-minded individuals. She was even able to provide services to celebrities, she said.

While working in Atlanta, Baccus still had her clientele in the Pee Dee. She’d leave Atlanta to tend to her Pee Dee clients once a month, which later turned into twice a month because of high demand.

She wanted to be in Atlanta for exposure but realized there were different avenues within the nail industry that could be taken to grant her exposure that didn’t require being outside of her hometown.

So Baccus moved back to Florence and opened her own nail studio.

“Me opening was all about me just being able to provide people with quality service, for you to actually get more than what you pay for,” she said.

The nail studio offers manicures, pedicures, nail enhancements, gel polish, full sets and nail art, among other services. While clients are pampered, they can enjoy mimosas, water, soda, champagne or wine, courtesy of the studio. Brianna Stancil is another nail artist who works with Baccus. Jarrel’s sister, Jasmine Baccus, is an assistant at the studio.

“We actually service nail care,” Jarrel Baccus said. “It’s not just, you’re in and you’re out. We’re going to use the right tools. We’re going to go the extra mile to make sure that you’re serviced. We’re going to make sure you get quality service.”

Baccus said she realized people weren’t getting that before.

Deborah Baccus, Jarrel Baccus’ mom, helped jumpstart her nail career when she was much younger. She bought Baccus her first professional nail tables when she was only in the sixth grade, along with a box of polishes from a nail salon that was going out of business in Florence.

Deborah Baccus said she knew nail art and care was her daughter’s gift.

“You don’t pass up on whatever gift God has given you. This is obviously (her) gift, to do it and do it well without any instruction,” Deborah Baccus said. “Her passion is actually designing, the actual art aspect of it.”

For her daughter to be in her early 20s and to have the business mind that she does, Deborah Baccus said it leaves her overwhelmed.

“It keeps surprising me,” she said. “What just blows me away for the most part is how much she’s willing and how much she gives back.”

Baccus has hosted a drive for the homeless and is planning an empowerment tea. She also mentors at her former elementary school, Timrod Elementary in Florence.

Baccus said she doesn’t know what her next move is. She’s just waiting to see.

___

Information from: Morning News, http://www.scnow.com

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