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Nails Saved My Life

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Published Article About Audrey J…

Nails Saved My Life! Before I begin, I want to commend you for establishing your own career as an entrepreneur/business owner by becoming a nail technician. From the nail technicians that started a year ago, to the nail technicians like myself, who have been in the nail industry their entire lifetime. I actually started doing my Granny’s Lee Press-ons when I was about 8 or 9 years old and obtained my license at 17 years old. We are the same. We are ALL attempting to create a lane where we can be both successful in our own right and care for our families…bottom line.    When I began this journey, I was confused on what I was created to exactly do in this life. But nails always stayed loyal to me as I stayed loyal to the industry. At the age of 27, a brand new single, extra protective mother, I would bring my baby to work with me and did not lose my beat or a customer. My love for nails and my relationships with my clients have bless me my whole journey. When I moved to Houston from Nashville, nails continued to save me. I did not have much in the beginning, but I had my hands and my product. My determination and drive pushed me to become the first major African-American nail technician in Houston. Yes, there were other black nail technicians in Houston, but, in my opinion, I hustled so hard for the Love of nails, that I opened the door for others to get a piece of the pie. I made it familiar, acceptable and my work spoke for itself. I say all of this to let you know they’re excuses for you not to join in this movement. Our industry needs more of our faces and more creative minds. It is our time!   Being a nail technician can be unrewarding at times. Why? The simple answer is the inconsistency of acknowledgement. Sometimes we are not recognized after completing a photo shoot. We are compared to the factory assembly line types of nail salons. Some clients are like the proverbial revolving door, in and out, always searching for someone cheaper, faster, more artistic or who’s hot at the moment.   I totally understand that, but here is the thing: Nail Magazine presented some profound research that stated 56% of nail technicians are Asian & 34% are white, meaning, there is an open market in a currently over saturated industry, that we as African American women and men need to utilize, and create our stake in this industry. We began the nail industry. This is our time! Finally, right?!

There are so many nail technicians to look up to and receive knowledge from. When I began my own journey in this industry, there was no YouTube, Instagram or ability to network with other nail technicians outside of your own city or state. Imagine starting a nail business with NO SOCIAL MEDIA or attempting to learn new techniques with No YouTube! My blessing was I had a mentor (who was and still is a nail technician) that took me under her wing and assisted me with my acrylic techniques, professionalism and client retention. I still use her tools on a daily basis. That’s the beauty of having a mentor. The seeds they plant will stay with you forever, whether you’re receptive to the knowledge or not.   My mentor began grooming me between the ages of 16 and 17, with no license, only self-taught application and working out of a friend’s kitchen. I was ready to drop out of high school because I was bored and behind in my education. Once I started making money, or what I thought was money at 18 years old, I dropped out of high school and began my nail hustle. My Mom paid my way through nail school because she saw how passionate I was about my craft. It took me over a year to complete my 300 hour course and once I obtained my license, I took off in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. My mentor stayed on me, but I wasn’t receptive at that time because I was making $1000 weekly and my clientele was overflowing. Thank God for maturity and growth!   Now, as I look into our industry, we are blessed enough to have other nail technicians throughout the country and across the world to assist and teach us more about the nail business and its beautiful colors. Research shows that the average age of a nail technician is between 30 to 39 years of age and can realistically obtain $750 or more weekly (personally I seen nail techs gain $1000 wkly) So, if you are just starting out, stay consistent. Joining the nail industry will change your life for the better. Keep learning new techniques and begin your journey as a business owner professionally. If you are a nail technician that has been in the industry for five years or more and you feel that you haven’t gotten the success you desire, you need to follow the advice given to beginning nail technicians. However, you have to go harder. Your drive has to be like a brand new technician; like you are starving for success! Never stop learning. No excuses, just adjustments. It is so much more for us as nail technicians than just sculpting a nail or creating beautiful art.   I am a nail technician that does it all, from acrylic application, nail art, manicures, pedicure and all things “nail”. I love it! I honestly do not know anything else. I was born to be a nail technician.

Nails literally saved my life. I do not have high school diploma; I got my GED at 24. I have never gone to college either. My life was changed by my hands, a brush and a few nail files.   It is time for us to treat this industry like the treasure it is. We need more industry leaders, instructors, mentors and coaches. We need more people to invest in themselves and reach out to current industry leaders to be pushed and motivated along the path of nails.    From my beginnings of using Lee Press-on Nails, to becoming a single mother, to now, doing nails, have been a constant security in my life. This is what we all want; life security. Nails have given me just that. Improving the overall standards in our industry can give us all life security. For starters, higher levels need to be reached with regards to sanitation. We have to stand above those substandard, lower quality salons by purchasing and utilizing autoclaves, thus achieving excellent sanitation procedures. We can also improve our levels of professionalism. When upgrading your tactics on professionalism, you are creating a platform to learn more about your industry and show your customers that you are passionate about your business; thus gaining an increase in loyal customers and, ultimately, an increase in monetary gain. There are more than enough people and money for all of us to add to the industry by using these methods. Remember, this is our time, so do not take it lightly. Go out and build your kingdom through your passion in the nail industry.

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