SHELDON—Opening her own beauty salon was a now or never moment for Christina Baker of Sheldon.
The 38-year-old opened her shop, Christina’s Hair & Nail Salon, inside of the former Eagles Club at 914 Fourth Ave. in downtown Sheldon on Saturday.
“I wanted to be my own boss,” she said.
Her timing could not have been better since the seven-week ban on operating barbershops and salons imposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, in an attempt to limit spread of the coronavirus, was lifted on Friday.
Having her own salon was a big leap for Baker, who also works part-time at Sanford Sheldon Medical Center under the title of inventory control assistant material management, since doing hair was something she kind of just fell into.
The mother of three — she also has one grandchild — went back to school in 2010 to become a nail technician at Minnesota West Community & Technical College in Worthington.
“My youngest started kindergarten so we actually started school the same day,” Baker said. “I have three kids so we took a picture of all of us for the first day of school that year.”
Baker’s instructors also suggested she study cosmetology while at the school, something she resisted at first but it turned out to be a natural fit.
“I went ahead did it and I just enjoy it,” she said. “I didn’t think I would like to do it all but now I do more of hair than anything.”
In addition to completing school with a 4.0 grade-point average and honors, she won first place in the 2011 InSalon Student Women’s Evening Total Look Comb Out Competition.
The event is a styling contest for student beauticians across Minnesota to test out their training.
For the category that Baker won, students had 60 minutes to “Create an evening look for the appreciation of the customer featuring elegance, grace and beauty based on the elements of the hair, nails and makeup,” according to the Minnesota School of Cosmetology.
Baker’s trophy from the event rests comfortably on a shelf in her new shop.
She got her start as a professional in the hair business working at Great Clips in Worthington in 2012 and she has worked there on and off in a variety of roles over the years including as the manager.
Baker went back to school again and earned her certified nurse aide certificate from Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon and started working at Sanford Sheldon before switching to her current role with the hospital. Her plan is to work at Sanford and use her off days and time when she is not at the hospital to operate her salon.
Baker is a little nervous about striking out on her own but credits her family and her boyfriend, Mark Bouma of Sheldon, for supporting her dream.
“I didn’t think this would ever happen,” Baker said.