Trendy boss lady: Inspiring aspiring businesswomen

Tracee Hester, left, and Myha Thi Luong, better known as "Lovely Mimi" from the hit show "Love & HipHop," are promoting girl power. Mimi, who is also a nail technician, stopped by Hester’s Trendy Nailz Nail Salon in Durham and showed her some support. (Photo taken from @TrendyNailzSalon Instagram page)


         Durham native Tracee Nichole Hester wears many hats. Some refer to her as the modern day “Renaissance Woman.”

            She is a “Good Samaritan,” a wife, mother of three boys, motivational speaker, radio personality, business owner, nail technician, an advocate for young and underprivileged community members, and somewhat of a local celebrity after appearing in many magazines.    

            Hester is the owner and founder of two nail tech institutes, an all-in-one salon and an online boutique.


Ladies from all backgrounds gathered at the Trendy Nailz Institute in Durham to get a video lesson in. These ladies can accumulate credit hours in order to classify as a licensed nail technician. (Photo taken from @TrendyNailzSalon Instagram page)

  “I’ve been in the business of nails for 26 years,” Hester said. “I hope to create influential nail techs, like myself, who will positively pour into each and every person they service.”

  Trendy Nailz Institute, located at 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy., Suite 102, in Durham, is the first black-owned nail school in Durham.The second school, Trendy Nailz Institute, is in Greensboro.

            These nail schools train aspiring nail technicians for 10-12 weeks to become professionals. But that’s not all. The nail institute helps students with business startups and developing their companies.

            Hester says that her manicuring program within the school inspires individuals to start their career as a nail technician and help people deal with daily life challenges through sound counseling and advice – similar to the typical nurturing environment of the barbershop in the black community.

            “I want to teach women how to move towards positive change by bettering themselves and the community through beauty,” Hester said. “Trendy Nailz Institute prides itself on being a vehicle of hope that creates jobs and promotes individuals to start their journey towards success.”

            The institute equips students with the employable skills and knowledge of nail trades to start their licensed career. Hester says that this creates a means for individuals to maintain self-sufficiency and independence as a manicurist.

            “We welcome sponsors for students who may be financially impaired to help them reach their dream of becoming a nail tech,” Hester said. They offer financing and affordable payment plans as low as $450 to start.

            Hester’s school also offers day and evening classes to accommodate working women. If a student is a parent, the school also provides childcare and even transportation to and from the institute. To further assist the students, Trendy Nailz Institute helps with job placement so students can start their professional careers.

            “Our Trendy Nailz Nail Salon is the actual salon for licensed nail techs that graduate from our institute and other licensed nail technicians,” Hester said.

            The Trendy Nailz Nail Salon is located at 2000 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite 38A, in Durham. Hester also owns Nail Liquor, an online product line that sells acrylic powder, nail drills and nail art supplies.

            Hester has been featured in Fortune 500 magazines such as Entrepreneur Magazine, People Magazine, and twice in Black Enterprise Magazine.

            Hester says that the most exciting thing about it all is the fact that she is in a position to help someone who is now where she once used to be in life.

            “I do what I do to make my mark in the ever-so evolving culture of nails and to be known as the vehicle that drives others towards the success of their passion,” Hester said with excitement.

            Seven years of planning went into Hester’s businesses to execute the initial startup.

            “I’m most passionate about providing students with secret tips of practical hands-on techniques. From nail tech life, to salon life, to entrepreneurship. This stuff took me decades to learn — and now, I love the teaching aspect of it all,” Hester said.

            Hester says her goals motivate her to keep pushing through her busy schedule.

            “I always had the dream of owning a nail school as a final chapter of my career, but the grim reality is that there is a shortage of diverse and skillful nail techs. This propelled me to create the pipeline that would supply the industry with more distinguished nail techs,” she said.            

Hester’s current goal is to start a chain of Trendy Nailz Nail salons for students who complete their nail program.

            Hester has always considered herself a hard worker and an advocate for multiple groups of people. She started her first business at 16, Tracee’s Young Adult Job Service. She hired young adults to work as assistants for NBA players. Her first major employment contract was with NBA player Jerry Stackhouse.

            Because of her independence, hard work, community leadership and community involvement, Hester was honored and awarded by a former Durham Mayor Nick Tennyson, who officially proclaimed May 4th as “TRACEE HESTER’S DAY!”  She was also honored by recently retired Mayor Bill Bell.

            Hester is always interested in people who may want to partner in any of her businesses and can be contacted at 919-241-3193 or

            “We are always looking to partner with companies who share the same desire of bettering the community through beauty,” Hester said.

            For booking, email Hester at Hester’s product line can be found and purchased at

            Lastly, Hester wants to make sure that she spreads love, happiness, community services and healing through beauty to everyone reading.

         Hester said in conclusion, “Leaders create leaders. Let your gift make room for you and it will never be work. Most importantly never compare others’ accomplishments to yours. We all have our individual direction in life. Stay focused on what’s ahead with a clean pure heart and don’t worry about what’s behind you or on the sides of your now. It is the future that holds your success.”



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