Thao Dunphy always dreamed of owning her own nail salon. Growing up in Vietnam, Dunphy spent a lot of time around her sister, who owned a nail salon business in the city. There, she perfected her craft, learning how to run a business while working in the tourism industry on the side.
Now, seven years after moving to Canada, Dunphy has fulfilled her lifelong dream and opened her own nail salon in Westwood.
Nail House opened its doors on Dec. 1, 2019, at 3334 Portage Avenue. Dunphy took over from the previous owner, renovated the building and is now looking to put her extensive nail salon experience to work for Westwood residents.
Dunphy said she has a deep passion for her work.
“This is my dream. I love to do pretty nail art, I love to meet new people and listen to their stories,” Dunphy said. “It’s like painting or artwork for me, working on customers’ nails … I get to give them these pieces of art they get to take home.”
When she was not painting nails or doing manicures at her sister’s place, she worked for the Vietnam tourism industry. During this time, she met Philip Dunphy, a Canadian tourist who would eventually become her husband. She eventually pursued her dreams in Vietnam, getting her certification to work in the nail salon industry.
The pair dated for a few years before getting married and moving to Winnipeg in 2012. Not long after she got to Canada, she gave birth to two children, who are four and two years old. Dunphy held onto her dream, but thought it would be years before she would have a place to call her own.
When she saw that the Nail House was up for sale, Dunphy knew this was her chance.
“When I first saw (Nail House), I knew this was it. This is the salon I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s beautiful, it’s got lots of parking. I thought, ‘This is the moment, this is the time to do it,’ you know?” Dunphy said.
Before opening Nail House, she worked in several other nail shops while going back to school in Winnipeg for her certification, as her Vietnamese training was not valid when she moved. Dunphy said she’s worked in the industry for 13 years in total.
Nail House offers manicures, pedicures, artificial nails as well as body and face waxing. Dunphy also does a lot of custom design nail painting, using acrylic, powder or liquid gel.
Nail House is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit nailhousewinnipeg.com or call 204-898-8818.