Meet Sasha Massey, maker, singer and teacher. She began her small business, Sweet Nails by Sasha, offering handmade nail oil pens, and has since expanded her product line making hair and beard oils, bath salts, complexion sticks and body sprays. In addition, Sasha is a soprano singer who performs classical and operatic recitals, light jazz shows and as a Cantor at St. John’s Cathedral in Lafayette.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
My purpose for beginning my small project was to take better care of my nails, hair and skin. I only went to the nail salon for my birthday and once a year I’d be cut with an electric file or told I couldn’t have polka-dots on my toe even when I offered to pay more. I chose to learn for myself. I watched tons of how-to videos by YouTubers like Kirsty Meakin, who is a phenomenal nail artist, and the awesome Cristine from Simply Nailogical. I wanted to make nail oil pens that also smelled great and the faster my nails grew the more I realized I could make these for my friends. My best proof that my products work is actually my hair which is also growing rather quickly. I now have a handful of loyal customers who buy kits of items in a one-month supply.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
Being a maker means taking the necessary step to fill a need where you see a lack. It involves being inventive and persistent despite financial set backs or figuring out how to win the trust of your customers and interest them in something new and different.

Who or what inspires you?
My inspiration came more dominantly from Cristine of Simply Nailogical. She’s hilarious, intelligent, irreverent and honest. I respect her for the same consistency I’m trying to maintain by keeping up a small business and teaching.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
My business demands the same consistency and dedication that teaching and performing require. It’s important to have new repertoire for the season just like seasonal and custom items.

Why is making important to you?
Making is important because just as many people in Louisiana and across the country have to maintain multiple jobs, it’s a necessary second income that helps me, and it inspires confidence and curiosity in my colleagues and students.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
With regard to my products, I am most proud of the variety of nail pens and the hair and beard oil which has been a roaring success on my own scalp and for several of my customers. It can be used on the scalp, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s great to see people getting so much use out of what I’ve made.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
With unlimited resources I would make a more consistent amount of product as well as a higher amount of comforting gift sets for women on their cycle.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
Trends that peak my interest are seasonal items that evoke happy feelings and a general sense of whimsy that makes practical needs more attractive. I had a customer ask for a particular one-time fragrance and now for summer only I’ll be making a small batch of body sprays.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Becoming a Maker involves following your passion with a defined sense of direction. It may take time, but your purpose is worth fighting for. Don’t be surprised if strangers make better customers than your friends, but don’t skip on the resource of their word-of-mouth advertising. Be brave even when things get expensive and difficult. Make professional friendships with people who are willing to engage in consistent cross-promotion. We can rise together!

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Surprise…I am an Opera Singer! I’m a professional singer here in Lafayette, Louisiana. I teach private voice lessons, Cantor at St. John’s Cathedral, perform recitals, sing for weddings, funerals, graduations, private party bookings, and more! I’m a vocal chameleon and my voice has been described as; powerful, angelic, Disney Princess, Jazz Muse and Broadway Belter. I also taught myself to do more things left handed before and AFTER fracturing a bone in my right hand. Eyeliner was pure heck! Ha!