When she left her native China to come to the United States, Bei arrived anxious to realize her own American Dream. Despite her skill-set and education, she instantly faced challenges, coming to the harsh understanding that the business degree and experience she worked so hard to gain in her home country held no credibility here. With limited employment options, she soon started working as a waitress at the restaurant where her mother managed.
Like most immigrants, Bei had to rely on her family and community as she struggled to learn a foreign language and assimilate to a new culture, while also trying to figure out how to make her dreams a reality. She shared, “I always had the support of my family, and I knew that if anything went wrong, they would always help me.”
Bei eventually went to beauty school and received her esthetician and nail tech license in 2010. She started working at a nail salon with a close-knit group of immigrant estheticians who taught her the trade and helped polish her skills. During a visit back to China, Bei learned about reflexology, a type of acupuncture treatment for the feet that helps relieve stress and pain, and she decided to incorporate this practice into her treatments.
Combining her experience in nail care and reflexology, Bei is now opening her very own salon that promotes both beauty and healthy living. She is seeking a $10,000 Kiva loan to set up her salon, purchase equipment, and install a pedi-chair.
After years of dedication and self determination, Bei has finally discovered her American Dream. Remembering all those who helped her along the way, Bei is looking to pay it forward. She has a strong desire to create employment opportunities similar to those given to her during the course of her challenging, yet rewarding journey.