Melitza Roman fell in love with nails and beauty care at a young age and recently, her lifelong passion was recognized when her salon was named the best in the state.
On Sunday, October 27, Stiletto Goddess Nail Salon, 724 Van Nest Avenue was the recipient of the 2019 Nail Salon of the Year at the inaugural New York Hair and Beauty Awards. It was the only salon nominated from the Bronx.
The event was organized by Creative Oceanic and held at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale.
“I was so proud I got picked,” she said. “I’m happy that I could do something where I grew up and give back to the community.”
Roman, 37, was raised in the projects on Webster Avenue and always envisioned having a career in beauty.
She used to paint Barbie doll nails and find ways to make things pretty.
In high school she did her friends’ nails and hair and at the age of 18, went to school for nails.
The Allerton/Pelham Parkway resident honed her skills at a few shops while in her 20s and early 30s, and learned the ins and outs of the business. She observed her owners, colleagues and managers and learned how to deal with people and more importantly, understood the value of being a hands on owner.
“It was like me preparing myself to do now what I really wanted to do,” Roman remarked.
So, after having five kids, now aged 19, 18, 15, 11 and 6, she told her husband Anthony, it was time to have her own shop. So, they looked on Craigslist for a location and found one across the street from where they are now.
When they arrived there, she immediately was drawn to the vacancy at her salon and said to her husband that place is perfect.
After 25 calls to the landlord and some convincing from her hubby, the spot was theirs.
“When I looked in there, I could just envision everything,” Roman explained.
With numerous clients from 20 years of doing nails, she opened the shop’s doors in 2016 and has been a smashing success from the start.
In fact, appointments are already booked until December 2020.
But, in August, everything changed when Creative Oceanic called saying a few clients nominated the salon for the prestigious award. She submitted her portfolio and then received an email saying the store was a finalist.
“I was still in shock. I kept it secret,” she said.
She told the employees a week later and everyone was on ‘cloud nine’ and could not wait for the ceremony.
Chatter built on social media and eventually, Stiletto Goddess took home the prize for best salon. The salon will automatically be invited back next year.
According to Roman, the award is only the tip of the iceberg. She plans to build on her success, and one day open a larger store.
She and her employees are one big family and support each other through good times and bad.
“I just love how I make women feel,” Roman said. “I like doing nails because it allows me to be creative. Once they leave, it’s like they have a piece of me.”