Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Beauty of the Industry

I decided to use today's blog to actually talk about myself! For anyone that has ever attended one of my seminars you already know I have a hard time with this. However, I do have a message behind telling my story and I hope you stay awake long enough to get the message.

I'd love to say I have always wanted to do nails or be in the nail industry. It would be one of those stories that's off to a great start. The plans for my future were supposed to be get a sports scholarship, go to college and be an architect. By the time I got to senior year I burned out of sports. All of my hard work paid off but ruined my desire. I ended up working in a local grocery store behind the financial desk.

My sister, Janis, was already a licensed Cosmetologist and managing a salon. One day, I decided, "I'm going to nail school.". Why? Because it was faster than Cosmetology and cost less money! Besides, who wants to do what their older sister is already doing? My father urged me to go for the entire thing and not just nails. He said, "You're going to starve.". This was back in 1994 when nails were just booming in Maine. I got super lucky. My business was off to a great start before all the Discount Salons popped up.

My first gig was working in the salon my sister managed. In my free time, I did lots of nail art and displayed it. I credit my natural artistic ability for drawing in a crowd and building my business. My clients didn't all want the art, but being amazed by my ability made them want to come to me.

Shortly after I got my license, my dad announced he was retiring from "fitting pipes on nuclear submarines" and going to school for COSMETOLOGY! Ya. We were all shocked. His reasoning was, "it is a great business to start. It's cash and carry.". I have to hand it to my dad, he dove right in and was great at it. As graduation got closer he and I began to discuss opening a business together. He would own his hair business. I would own my nail business. I was a little surprised that he'd want to share a space with my "stinky" business. As a teenager he used to complain if I polished my nails in the living room while watching TV. The smell was quickly forgotten by the smell of money!

Right around the time we opened our business, I attended the Boston Beauty Show where I met Tony Cuccio. I'll never forget that first lecture. I couldn't wait to get back to my business and make all kinds of changes that he suggested. Two months later I was at a Star Nail training and became an educator for him.

It wasn't long before I was really busy between my nail business and educating. My dad and I got a lot of local attention and even made the front page of our local newspaper. Later on my sister moved her business to the salon and we all got to work side by side. One day, as I was working on my clients nails, I overheard my dad talking to one of his clients. "If I had smaller hands and better eye sight I'd stop doing hair and just do nails." I couldn't believe my ears. "Elaine sits over there having a good time with her clients, they never cancel when there is a snow storm, they bring her gifts and she makes more money." It was as good as hearing him say, "You know Elaine, I was wrong about telling you not to go to school for nails." Not that I want my dad to be wrong....BUT boy did it feel good to hear I was right.

So fast forward 14 years. Where has the industry gotten all three of us?

Well, my dad used his experience to expand to a different area. He got trained as an educator for Shears and implements. Learned how to sharpen shears, got a mobile van and started a great business going to the local salons and sharpening their shears right then and there. He also carries a great line of shears to sell them as well. The best part about his profitable business, he can do it ANYWHERE. My mom (Nancy) and dad (Bob) live half the year in Florida and the other half in Maine. It's just enough time to see everyone that needs his services and he's gone just long enough that they are due to see him when he returns.

Janis is still doing hair and has the nicest group of clients any stylist could ever have. I still get updates when ever I call along with a "so and so says HI". It's a great career for her. She gets to be the worlds best mother because she is free to book around all the many things our 12 year old Athletic Marissa has going on.

And me, well, my husband and I moved to Los Angeles California (for MY career). I've been working full time in Star Nail International for three years. I get to research and develope new products. Travel to foreign countries and give seminars to Nail Technicians and our Export Customers. I get to see my artwork on the covers of magazines, advertisements, posters and on show billboards! It's been a long hard road, my 14 years. But entirely TOO much fun. How could anyone enjoy the job they do any more than I enjoy what I do?

What's my message? Sure you're a tech at a table now. And if you love that, you can continue to do it and from anywhere in the world. OR skies the limit. You could go on to do much much more. Life has been so rewarding, setting goal after goal and achieving everything I've set out to do. Of course I didn't do it alone. I have soooo many people to thank, who've helped me out along the way. But I always say, "If I can do it, so can you."

It really is a Beautiful Industry!

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

No comments: