Updated: Apr 15
Now that I had a diploma and confidence it was time for me to work, build up clientele and practice on every person I could get to sit in my chair. I got a job in a salon with an hourly wage which is actually a good way to start when you have no clientele. My first strategy was to establish myself as the go to nail art technician. You have to have a plan.
When i was a stay at home mom I learned one stroke painting by Donna Dewberry and tole painting. I was used to painting murals and all kinds of art on large surfaces but as a nail artist I struggled with working on a tiny nail canvas. How do you paint on something so small? I knew it could be done I just had to figure out how. The nails in the photo below are some of my first one stroke designs on a nail.
Thankfully my boss was a huge believer in on-going education and invested in me regularly to take nail art classes and just regular nail classes to perfect my skills. The art was very basic but it was something. As nail technicians we must constantly take classes to refine and improve our skills. The day you stop learning is the day your career becomes stagnant.
Constantly Invest In Your Career It Pays Off
I quickly became the go to person for nail art in our small town. I was doing nail art on everyone. I started entering national competitions and winning etc. I was delighted with my progress and my clientele was rapidly growing. It was growing so fast I could hardly keep up. I was happy but at the same time I was sad.
Every year my boss evaluated our work and made us fill out these forms on where do we see ourselves in a year etc. Every time we had to fill out these forms I asked myself the same questions. As much as I loved my job I couldn't see myself going anywhere beyond the salon I was in. There was absolutely no room to grow, I was stuck being an employee in a salon working for someone else. I started to wonder where do I go from here? Do I just do nails in a salon for the rest of my life? I felt like I needed more but what and where? If I stayed here all I would ever be is an employee I wanted so much more. These questions pondered my mind for many years. It was time I began to do something about it but I didn't know which direction to go in so I kept on working.
I was at the point where my clientele had grown so fast I couldn't take on anymore clients and although I was only hired to work part time but I was coming in on some of my days off. I also wanted to be there for my kids. It was important for me to pick them up after school and only work the hours that they were in school but often I was going back in to work at night when my husband was home from work. I was getting tired.
My boss hired more girls and it became my job to teach them to do nails the way I did. I was expected to teach new staff some of then didn't want my help. Some of the girls were know it alls who were impossible to work with. I found I really enjoyed teaching but the extra work was even more exhausting. Trying to work with those who didn't want to learn made me even more miserable. I was simply doing what my boss wanted. There is nothing worse than trying to teach a person who doesn't want to be taught. I was exhausted mentally and physically and what is so much worse is that I lost the ability to dream!! I couldn't see beyond what I was doing. I was seriously stuck!
Keep Your Junk At the Door
During all these years that I was struggling internally my clients had no idea how I was feeling, my boss had no idea and my co-workers had no idea. I just kept on keeping on and struggled in silence. I believe it's my job as a nail technician to make my clients forget all their problems while they are sitting in my chair so no matter what I never shared my personal struggles. I went to work with the biggest smile and worked hard at making sure my clients had an atmosphere that would keep them wanting to come back. I truly loved the girls I worked with. My clients kept coming back because their time in my chair was completely all about them and how to lift their spirits. This is one of the most important things every nail technician needs to know. NEVER SHARE YOUR LIFE STRUGGLES WITH YOUR CLIENTS!!! Their appointment time is all about them!!
Our of know where my deepest prayers were being answered. I started getting offers from other salons. I looked into some of the offers but for the most part I felt as though the only things that would change was my surroundings. I learned I didn't want to work for someone else only to end up feeling the same way in a few years.
The only thing I could do was leave that salon and open my own place. We looked at renting space to have my own salon and we explored moving home and have a home based salon. Moving home would allow me to get the most bang for my buck and continue my education with the least amount of overhead. This would also allow me to see my children and work around their schedules. And most importantly we had the perfect space for it.
In 2012 I Opened My Own Salon
TPN Nail Salon was born. That was not my original name but that story is in another blog.
Almost all my clients followed me home. I only lost 2 clients which is unheard of in this industry. Within 3 months I went from working part time to working 12 hour days 6 days a week. My clientele exploded! In this small town people love home based salons. Who knew? I had more clients then I knew what to do with and because I was the boss it was easy to work around my kids schedules.
I started getting messages from nail technician students who were wanting me to help them with nails because like me they weren't getting the education they needed in school. I felt compelled to help them because I knew exactly what they were feeling. Slowly but surely I found that I was able to dream again!
There's Nothing Better Than Being Able To Dream Again
Once again I was inspired, once again I had passion and more importantly I had a vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I looked into becoming an educator. From there I became a distributor. My salon expanded to include my daughter as head nail technician. We are now a family owned business that continues to grow!!