Watching her in her element was moving. I’ve been getting my nails done bimonthly for 10 years and I’d never been to a nail salon owned by a woman who looked like me.

Photo c/o @yupp_naildit

Who is Ashley Harper?

Ashley Harper, better known as Harper, began doing nails six years ago. Harper had dreams of being a museum curator before becoming a licensed nail manicurist. She graduated from North Carolina A&T graduate with a degree in Liberal Studies and Communications. Like many of us (I wanted to work in a mental health hospital until I worked in a mental health hospital), quickly realized that this wasn’t her calling. She interned at museums and even worked at her alma mater before realizing her dream of becoming a nail manicurist. Harper made the decision to follow her own path after her father passed in September of 2013. When asked what made her decide to do nails, she said, “I thought of what I spent the most money on and went with that.” Harper went on to talk about how nails have always made her happy.

As an Artist By Nature, Doing Nails Comes Easily

As a natural artist, doing nails came easily for Harper. Her studio, currently based out of her home, is adorned with her artwork. This includes the piece prominently displaying her manicurist license.

Nail Salon with Durham, NC Roots

Harper is a Durham native. She lived in Greensboro, NC for 10 years before she returned home two years ago to start her business (from scratch might I add). She had worked in a nail salon previously, which she enjoyed, but knew that she wanted to eventually work for herself. Word quickly spread of her return home and she has built a loyal following. Harper puts her artistic abilities into the work that she does with nails. When asked if she still sketches or paints, she replied, “I save all my art for the nails.” From geometric shapes to marbled designs, it seems there’s nothing Harper can’t do. She even does her own nails! I can’t even polish with my left hand! See some of her work below.

Orange and plum colored marble design stiletto acrylic nails
Nude acrylic short stiletto nails with gemstone accents
Short square shaped nude acrylic nails with cheetah print accents
Photos c/o @yupp_naildit and @harpersparlour

Nail Salon for All Coming Soon!

Though Harper’s Parlour currently exists in her home, it has all the makings of a traditional salon. Getting your nails done by her is like being a member of an exclusive club. I didn’t even get the address until hours before my appointment! However, Harper has plans to open her talents up to the general public come early fall as she will be opening her first salon in Durham. Harper currently offers acrylic and gel nail services but has plans to expand her services to include pedicures once her salon opens. Harper is available by appointment only and takes clients from 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday.

Instagram Worthy Nail Salon

If you’re in the market for Instagrammable, swoon worthy nails, Harper’s Parlour is where you need to be. Harper has set up a GoFundMe which she is using to raise funds to establish her salon. Click here to donate.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions talk to me. If you like what you see, subscribe!

Talk soon!