The incredible story behind Lismore mum's new business
A LISMORE mum-of-three has overcome a lifetime of obstacles to open her own small business.
Abandoned by her partner when she fell pregnant with twins a decade ago, Nicole Graham could easily have given up on her dreams.
"I was told all my life I would grow up to amount to nothing," she said.
"I left school in Year 9, left home... (but) I used all those negatives as fuel to do something positive and finally own my own business."
Her new salon, Clawz Galore, has a welcoming vibe and 1950s style.
The first thing you notice is the smell - there are no intense, toxic chemicals here.
And then there's Ms Graham's warm smile.
The 31-year-old's passion for nails came from the love of getting her own done, but after having her twins she just couldn't afford the luxury.
One day she began saving up her parenting payments and brought her own acrylic nail set from the chemist.
Soon after she completed an acrylic nail course and a manicure and pedicure course in Newcastle and began working from home.
"Being stuck at home just being a mum was driving me nuts," she said.
"This is me breaking out and getting back into the work force. This is my coping mechanism and my therapy ... having this job and this shop is me getting back to myself."
Clawz Galore offers all the regulars plus advanced nail art such as lace or dried flowers inside the acrylic, or anything else clients can dream up.
"So far business has been really good," Mrs Graham said.
"I just do nails, I never branched out and did any other beauty services so I could get really good at it."
Ms Graham had a message for other stay at home mums who felt stuck and like they were losing part of themselves.
"Start small, do a small course and keep going," she said.
"After everything, now I have this shop and a wonderful partner. Things work out in the end, if you work hard you can achieve your goals."
Find Clawz Galore in the Strand Arcade, Lismore.