Pattie Yankee, who lives in North Babylon, was close to giving up when she saw that Chrissy Teigen had posted on Instagram about struggling with her nails. So she sent a set of her custom press-on nails, and after a pair of social media thank-yous, business is booming.
"You never know when the time will come when something will open up for you and everything will change," Yankee said.
In the past, she would do about 10 orders a week. After Teigen's post to her nearly 30 million followers gushing over the gift, Yankee got about 400 in 24 hours.
Yankee is the go-to artist for people like Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian, and her work is featured on runways and in magazines. But the single mother found her business dropping off amid the outbreak.
"I was kind of at the point of giving it up, and then this pandemic came," she said. "And I was like, should I do nails anymore?"
She was also feeling guilty, because the last time Teigen was in New York, Yankee couldn't fit her in. And so after seeing the initial post, she sent her that $30 custom nail kit.
The polish color, ironically called "Hope," proved to be a major a turning point.
"All of a sudden, I just started getting order after order, after order," she said. "It was overwhelming."
She's now up to more than 700 orders, including one with a special request.
"She's like, 'I just found out on the down low, I'm getting engaged May 4. Can you rush my order?'" Yankee said.
And she's paying it forward. She knows that others are struggling financially, and so she linked up with two other single mothers, who are now making custom nails for her.
"This is the time we grow and self reflect and see what's really important in life," she said. "And that's relationships and being kind to other people."
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