Is she toe – tally mad? Woman swaps high earning job to cut toenails
A woman who once earned six figure salary has traded in her glamorous career in the corporate world to CUT TOENAILS.
Melissa Harrison, 46, Sydney, Australia, now makes a living running The Toenail People, a mobile business that solves the simple, if not repulsive, task of toenail trimming.
While the job may make some people squeamish, Melissa has no qualms getting down and dirty and in just two years, she already boasts a client list of over 400 people.
With the treatment costing on average $45 (£27) and proving popular among the elderly community, business is taking off and she’s now gearing up to take it nation-wide.
Melissa said: “Before, I had no experience cutting toenails.
“A friend told me about toenail cutting and at first I thought it was disgusting.
“But then I did some research and realised there was no one else doing it, except for The Toenail People, a company that offered franchises around Australia but were only operating in Queensland.
“Though I wasn’t that excited initially by the job itself, I loved the idea of managing my own workload and getting to spend more time with my husband Paul and our two sons.
“Paul thought I was mental when I told him about my idea, but once I explained it to him he began to see the vision.
“So I bought the Sydney franchise for $40,000 (£25000) and learnt how to cut toenails professionally.
“A year later I was doing so well, I took over the entire business.”
Of course, handling feet took the mum-of-two some getting used to initially.
She said: “When I first started, it was all very foreign to me. No one prepares you to see older peoples’ feet!
“These feet have seen some years and walked a lot of miles. They have lines and wrinkles. They really have a personality.
“It shocked me at first, but I got used to it quickly.
“Now I don’t even flinch when I see a set of neglected toes, in fact it excites me.
Before turning her talents to toenails, Melissa spent nearly a decade working as a business manager for an oil and gas company.
She said: “I enjoyed my job but the long hours meant I spent a lot of time away from home.
“When I came down with glandular fever in 2014, I was left her bed-ridden for two months and had plenty of time to think.
“Being at home with my family, I realised how much I was missing out on and decided to look into new options.”
Despite spending hours researching new careers, it was only when a friend jokingly mentioned toenail cutting, that she had her light bulb moment.
Melissa said: “I thought it was really strange, but I began Googling toenail cutting and realised how brilliant it was.
“Toenails don’t stop growing, and neither does the ageing population. The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.
“If your toenails are an inch thick, how is your frail and elderly partner going to cut your them for you? It’s a real necessity for many people.”
Melissa dove head first into her new line of work, taking a nail technician course and buying ad space in local newspapers, targeting areas with large elderly and disabled communities.
She said: “About 85% of my customer’s elderly, so I try to make the service as convenient and affordable as possible.
“I travel to their homes and am there for about 40 minutes.
“It costs about $45 for my services, which includes a gentle trim, filing and cleaning followed by a relaxing foot massage.
“I work six days a week and see up to 13 clients a day, who range from 29 years old to 102 years old.
“With the business expertise I learnt in my previous job, business really is booming and I’m struggling to keep up with the demand.”
Although her job isn’t the most glamourous, Melissa has found an unlikely benefit to handling other people’s terrible toes.
She said: “Without a doubt, the best part of my job is meeting so many beautiful people who have so many stories to tell.
“Many of my clients are housebound, so they can feel pretty isolated and will forward to my visits.
“To help people, even with something so mundane, has been a great opportunity.
“I don’t miss my old job at all.
“Many people think what I do is disgusting, but they don’t understand the necessity of it.
“It’s not something you have to think about until you can’t do it yourself.”