Tosa's Nail Design a home away from home

Business has helped family stick together, grow

April 1, 2013

Without Rose Bui, generations of her family might never have left Vietnam and come to the United States.

But without her loyal customers, Bui said, she never could have established Nail Design, the North Avenue salon where so many of her nieces and other relatives have worked while attending school and working toward citizenship.

"It's the whole community (supporting my family)," Bui said. "They know us. It's not about customers; it's friendship."

It's not the life Bui imagined when she came to the United States from Vietnam in 1980, hoping to build a better life. At the time, she thought that life would be in California. And, for a while, it was.

California was where Bui went to college, learned about the nail business and, 25 years ago, opened her first shop. It's also where she met her husband, who brought her to visit family in Wisconsin.

"I liked it so much, I decided to move here," Bui said. "I loved the people here - they're so nice and they're more relaxed. That's the way I work. And I wanted to move to a smaller town."

She found a home in Wauwatosa and, 12 years ago, opened Nail Design.

When the shop first opened, Bui sent money back to her family in Vietnam, so the children could attend school.

"When they finished high school, I brought them over here," Bui said.

Today, her five employees are all relatives, the children of her siblings or cousins, who attend school during the day and work in the afternoon and evening.

"It's a family business. It's wonderful," Bui said.

She most enjoys interacting with her customers, advising them on which treatments to get and which polish colors to avoid.

"You have to be honest and tell them the truth. You have to tell them if something isn't right," Bui said.

Her best advice?

"They say, 'Don't pay for the expensive lipstick, but pay for the pedicure,' " Bui teased.

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BUSINESS: Nail Design

ADDRESS: 7221 W. North Ave.

PHONE:(414) 302-0111

OWNER:Rose Bui


TYPE OF BUSINESS: nail salon

PEARLS OF WISDOM: "You have to be honest and tell (customers) the truth. You have to tell them if something isn't right."



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