“Let your pain drive you to your purpose,” says 31-year-old owner of the new Pink Goddess Palace, Mimi Connor Clay. “Some people get stuck at the pain, and forget their purpose.”
Beauty and self-care has always played a huge role in the life of Mimi, who is of black and Vietnamese ethnicity, after spending time in beauty shops and nail salons while growing up in the West Pensacola area of Brownsville. Mimi learned how to do her own nails at the age thirteen. She would buy nail kits from Wal-Mart, as that was all her family could afford, and managed to always maintain the upkeep of her own nails through whatever means was available for her at the time.
What started out of a hobby for Mimi soon became much more. When Mimi was diagnosed with cancer in her 20’s, she helped deal with her pain and struggle by continuing to do her nails. The nurses and staff who were taking care of during this time were so impressed with her talent and skill. “Your nails always look amazing!” one nurse exclaimed. This statement is what made it click for Mimi that she truly had a talent and artistry for beauty and nails.
Mimi has overcome a tremendous amount of struggle and triumphed over multiple layers of hurt during her young life. While going through a rough divorce, battling cancer, and healing from the trauma of rape, Mimi felt lost for a long time. “I was depressed for almost two years,” Mimi explained. “I was lacking the confidence to really open a store on my own, no matter how many people encouraged me.” This compounded emotional and physical trauma would, understandably, break the spirit of many women. To pull herself out of this negative space, it would take a huge amount of prayer, determination, and self-discovery.
During these tough times, Mimi always relied on God and listened to her inner spirit, which reminded her to keep going and to push though any obstacle. Almost ten years ago, she enrolled in nail school and bought her first inventory of polishes. At 28 years old, Mimi finally took a leap of faith and came to the place where she would open Pink Goddess Palace, her brick-and-mortar store in Pensacola off of Fairfield Drive. Now at 31, looking back, the last few years can certainly feel like a blur.
Pink Goddess Palace is an impressive, spacious, visually stunning achievement. The shop is adorned with colorful flowers, large chairs and luxury seating that are truly fit for royalty, with more nail colors and options than any woman could ever dream. There is a “Selfie Museum” where women can pose with confidence and take photos of their new looks to share with others. The shop has the ability to “bring life back into yourself,” Mimi explains. “Sometimes, as women, we just exist and can feel empty. To come to a bright, welcoming place like Pink Goddess Palace can truly do so much for a woman’s confidence and mental space.”
All this did not simply come into existence overnight, however. It was in 2019 when Mimi was approached by Jamie Lopez, the owner for Babydoll Beauty Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jamie had seen one of Mimi’s nail videos online that had gone viral, and approached her about being a featured nail technician on her show “Super-Sized Salon” which premiered this summer on WE TV. This event really led to the jumpstart of Mimi’s re-emergence into beauty society and business leadership. After going through a difficult divorce, Mimi’s confidence needed a boost, and the compassion and empathy of Jamie Lopez really helped change her life’s trajectory. This path eventually led her to Vegas, and she later made her way back home to Pensacola some time later.
Mimi chose the specific location in West Pensacola off Fairfield Drive because she wanted to be a location “where people say you can’t make it,” she explained. “My family lived in Brownsville, like many Vietnamese families, after they moved here from Seattle, Washington when I was younger. There is lots of traffic along this road, so it’s a great location. I wanted to be that person to give back to where it all started.”
Mimi was happy to open the Pink Goddess Palace at 2506 W. Fairfield Drive, in an area that played a huge role in her childhood. She would always look at this building- which used to house “Labor Ready” as well as “Aqua Massage” – when her mom would park nearby and marvel at the windows and the space. Mimi has now been here off Fairfield for two years with just herself and her shop. At 28, Mimi obtained the space and completely funded the store herself. With no bank loans or collateral to put up for money, Mimi began to save up every paycheck and buy one piece of decor or inventory at a time.
Two years later, Pink Goddess Palace is now filled with beautiful furniture, decor, and products, and has an official Grand Opening on SATURDAY, JUNE 25th from 2-6 PM. The public is invited to check out the new shop and see what all they have to offer!
After the Grand Opening, Mimi plans to operate the shop from 10 AM – 7 PM Monday through Saturday. Pink Goddess Palace currently employs make-up artists, nail techs, waxers, and lash specialists. They offer a variety of services including full sets, gel-x sets, manicures and pedicures, and jelly pedicures, with much more available! Mimi also carries a special line of press-on set of 30 nails for customers to take home. All services and products can be found on their website at www.pinkgoddesspalace.com.
During her first year open full-time at the physical location, Mimi hopes to develop a trusted, loyal clientele and hire a team of solid workers. Cultivating a positive workplace culture is important to her, as well as being more visible in the community. Mimi will also be featured on a billboard which is going up on the 27th of June, advertising her stunning new shop.
Mimi says the best thing about her job is definitely the conversations she has every day with the ladies who come in her shop. Learning about other women’s struggles and how they have overcome obstacles, while making them feel beautiful, is the best part of her job. “This interaction is always inspiring to me, and it’s a huge motivator to be able to relate to others, especially for those who have gone through trauma,” Mimi shared. “I was always told that ‘We are the light of the world’ and people will look at you to see how you overcome your own obstacles, before they are willing to open up the Bible,” she explained. “What we do- it matters. People can be changed by your movement and journey; and everyone that comes in here is on a journey.”
“For us to stay open during the pandemic and to still be in business today-…you can’t tell me there is no God,” Mimi said.
“People always ask ourselves- where do we go from here after having suffered pain? How do we progress? When you apply pressure to someone, it can either break them, or create a diamond. I’m thankful that God is real, and that I was made into a diamond.”
You can check out Pensacola’s impressive, incredible new salon online at https://www.pinkgoddesspalace.com, where you also can book an appointment to go visit the inspirational Mimi Connor Clay. You can follow Pink Goddess Palace on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube @PinkGoddessPalace, as well as on Clubhouse, Snapchat, and Twitter @PinkGPalace to check out all of the latest updates, get beauty tips and to stay in the loop on the hottest nail trends!