The Nail Biz

Blog Posts that apply to the Nail Industry

Your Eponychium is showing!

Your Eponychium is showing and what are you going to do about it!

Well…. not a lot because it is supposed to show a little.    It has a job to do.

When a client sits at my table, one thing I always make sure to do while performing PREP is to discuss the eponychium, it’s purpose, and the difference from the cuticle.

ahhhhh haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  The cuticle. You think you know what that is, right?  Ummmm nope, you probably don’t.  In all my years, I have not had one single client sit at my table that KNEW what it really was.

Why is that?

It’s because, in some cases, bad information is passed on from educator to student.  An educator that hasn’t updated their own EDUCATION.  At other times, the tech does know the difference BUT doesn’t explain because she figures you don’t really need to know and you probably don’t care.

I have learned otherwise. My clients do want to know and they DO care.

Soooooooooo what is the conversation I have with my clients?  Well, I direct their attention to the eponychium – that ridge of skin found at the base of the nail plate. I explain that the eponychium is much like rubber on a car window. In simple terms: it keeps crap from getting into the matrix such as dirt and bacteria.  It’s from the matrix that the nail is developed and grows and the last thing you want is an infection in there that can termporarily OR permamently distort the nail plate OR WORSE cause the nail never to grow again.  So in short – NEVER cut the eponychium, never break the skin of the eponychium.  We only gently push it with a ‘cuticle pusher’.

A CUTICLE PUSHER?

Yeah, I know, it’s a misnomer, but that wasn’t my mistake, so let’s leave bygones as bygones LOL  Anyway, the Eponychium has a job to do. It is the security guard for the Matrix.  So DON’T CUT IT.  Now, the cuticle. What is this cuticle everyone talks about that we have to remove?  I explain that it is a very thin layer of dead/dry skin that remains attached to the nail plate as it grows out and leaves from underneath the eponychium. THAT we can remove.  We can use a cuticle removal solution and pair that with a ‘cuticle pusher’ (there’s that funny name again) and gently scrape the cuticle from the nail plate.

So there you have it, the difference between the Eponychium and Cuticle.

yes, I know that terms ‘cuticle pusher’ and ‘cuticle oil’ are really ridiculous, but what can I say… they’ve been around longer than I have hehehehehe

Please visit these two links for further details and info.

One is a video provided by the lovely HOlly Schippers aka Fingernailfixer and the other is an article by Scientist Doug Schoon featuring diagrams with further explanation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttxRWkbwGIg

http://www.dougschoon.com/nailpros/article_ProBeauty-2007-07_Where-Is-The-Cuticle.pdf

and video by Doug Schoon  http://www.dougschoon.com/video-Wheres-The-Cuticle.html

 

(Original Source for this Blog Post is my “Note” as it is featured on my Facebookk Business Page, https://www.facebook.com/notes/victorious-nail-styles/your-eponychium-is-showing/236253373205568)

Dadi’Oil VS Solar Oil (Tocopherol VS Tocopheryl Acetate)

Recently there have been several discussions on nail tech boards, groups and forums with regards to which Nail Conditioning Oil (aka “cuticle oil”) is better, and what is the primary difference between the two?

Famous Names Products Dadi’Oil VS  CND Solar Oil?

Nail technicians (myself included) reviewed the MSDS  (Material Safety & Data Sheets) for both products and we found that Dadi’Oil contained Tocopherol, while Solar Oil contained Tocopheryl Acetate.

Jim Nordstrom is the creator of BOTH oils.  When I asked him on the subject, this was his reply.

Tocopherol is NATURAL Vitamin E.  It is a potent anti-oxidant.   The Acetate is SYNTHETIC and it is not a potent anti-oxidant.  I have been told that is has about 1/100th the anti-oxidant activity that the natural version has. 

So, as I’ve said many times on the forums; if YOU were going to do something a second time and recreate it, wouldn’t you IMPROVE upon the original?  Jim Nordstrom did in fact IMPROVE upon the original.  He brought you Dadi’Oil.

Dadi’Oil contains 3 Certified Organic Oils, and 21 Essential Oils. It also contains Natural Vit E (Tocopherol) and NOT the synthetic version (Tocopheryl Acetate).

So for those of you with a great appreciation and preference for Natural and/or Certified Organic Products for Skin Care, you will likely prefer Tocopherol, the Natural form of Vitamin E.

There is a GREAT deal of difference between the two, in my humble opinion.   Further research into the differences provides the following information that was common amongst several resources.

Tocopheryl acetate is derived from Tocopherol, by a process that uses Petroleum. Tocopheryl acetate is the ester form of Tocopherol, meaning it has an alcohol in the structure.

Short Detour: Please be reminded that Petroleum is derived from Crude oil. It sits on the skin’s surface and potentially blocks pores. It can not be absorbed, the molecules are too large. It will trap dirt and bacteria.

The natural Tocopherol is better retained by the body compared to the synthetic form Tocopheryl Acetate. “The bioavailability (available for use by the body) is 2:1 for natural-source Vitamin E over synthetic Vitamin E.”    (In other words, you need twice as much Synthetic Vit E to equal Natural Vit E.)

Borochoff, M.D. of Houston, Texas points out, “When present in nature, vitamin E is found only in the alcoholic form. It oxidizes readily. But when it is extracted in esterified form as an acetate, the vitamin E cannot be oxidized. To act as an anti-oxidant the vitamin supplement has to oxidize itself to prevent the oxidation of something else surrounding it. If it cannot oxidize, the vitamin E form is worthless as an anti-oxidant. In contrast, the primary benefit looked for in vitamin E is its anti-oxidant qualities.” Thus, the tocopheryls (synthetic form) do not serve as anti-oxidants.”

Keeping in mind that when we use Vitamin E in skin care products, the purpose is the ‘anti-oxidant’ properties!

Not only did Jim improve upon the original, but he is also providing a product that provides Nail Technicians and Clients with better value for their money!  It’s well known that when using Natural and Organic ingredients, that a little goes a long way.  Less is MORE.

Despite providing you with a higher end product that uses more costly ingredients, Dadi’Oil is still priced competitively.  How do I know they are more costly?  From my own forays into making natural skin care products such as body balms and such, and purchasing the necessary ingredients to make them.  I can tell you that I found Natural Vitamin E (Tocopherol) to be more expensive than it’s synthetic counterpart Tocopheryl Acetate.

So ask me again why I think Dadi’Oil is better?

Click to read the MSDS.

MSDS CND Solar Oil                   MSDS Dadi Oil

 

 

Please, read the menu…

Other Nail Technicians and Stylists will feel my pain, and regular client’s will nod their heads knowingly as they’ve sat there with me when I have received ‘one of those’ types of phone-calls.

The reason to read the menu – KNOW your options.  Yes, you should know them before you call.   I have lost count of the times I have received a phone call that went like this:

  • Caller: Hi, how much for a French?
  • Me: What kind of French would you like?
  • Caller: I just want a regular French, how much is it?
  • Me:  Well, do you mean Natural Nails with a Nail Polish French, or Natural Nails with a Shellac French, or UV Gel/Acrylic French extensions?
  • Caller: I just want a French! Why won’t you tell me how much?!

Not all salons offer the same services, and/or use the same service descriptions.  This is why reading the menu and service descriptions is important.  I’m a Grand Master Nail Stylist, my menu is LONG and the options are limitless. I have no way possible of knowing exactly what is on your mind.  To BEST meet your needs,  I need your help to answer your questions. I need to understand your expectations.

We spend hours preparing a service menu that is clear, and outlines everything that you need to know. We’ll go over it back to front, sideways, inside out and upside down.  Sometimes we have more than one version; one for brochure, one for website, one for online booking system and etc. Some of us will bust our nuts providing detailed descriptions of our services so that everything is clear and all the answers are there for you to find. BEFORE you contact us.  BEFORE you sit down for your appointment.   BEFORE we begin your service.

Why am I emphasizing ‘before’?  Because we are paid for our time.  When we book appointments, they are booked by time required for that service and frequently clients are scheduled back to back without a thought for a ‘break’.  Unless you specify and/or ask for a ‘consult’, we do not include extra time in your appointment.  Sorry, but that is the reality. YES of course you may ask questions, and it’s our pleasure to answer them… within reason.  But if you are unsure of what you want and intend a 30 minute discussion, and you think that you might have 50 questions to ask us; then you really ought to book a consultation.  That is what a consultation is for: answering questions, providing options and ideas to best meet your needs and goals. To best satisfy YOU.

Many salons will offer you a consult free of charge, as long as you book an appointment for said consult.  I offer FREE consultations with pleasure. In fact, I ENCOURAGE consultations.  But I do need to know ahead of time in case the person booked after you doesn’t want to start her appointment 30 minutes late.

Which brings me back to ‘Read the Menu’. Yes, the one we laboriously spend hours creating.  My most sincere apologies, but I most certainly can NOT read out the entire menu to you over the phone and all it’s options.  If I’m busy on the phone, then I can’t do nails. It’s that simple.  I’m sorry that you felt I was unreasonable to request you visit my webpage and or schedule a consult for me to go over my entire menu in minute detail.  BUT the lovely lady seated in front of me will NOT appreciate it if I take a 20 minute phone call during her time that SHE is paying for.  She wants me to herself, she wants my undivided attention devoted to HER and HER nails.  That’s what SHE is paying for.

So I beg of you, if you have absolutely no idea what you want, PRETTY PLEASE WITH A SWAROVSKI RHINESTONE ON TOP read the menu before you call.  Read the descriptions of the services. PLEASE refer to my Facebook page as I strongly suggest to look at pictures and to get an idea of what you want BEFORE your scheduled appointment. And PLEASE request a Consult.

There is nothing I like more than to give a client exactly what they want and then have them leave with a million dollar smile.   But if our time is cut short by 30 minutes playing 20-questions, sadly there won’t be time to give you what you want.  😦  If I have a client booked immediately after you, and we have used up 20-30 minutes of your time just to reach a decision on nail art… The odds are pretty high that you will NOT get what you want and I’ll have to do the ‘short version’ to finish you in time for the next client.

As a proud Nail Stylist, the ‘short version’ is the absolutely LAST thing I want to do….

 

 

Assuming the worst.

Assuming the worst.  We’ve all been witness to this.  All of us are guilty of  it, to one degree or another.   However, for some, it’s instinctual. It’s incessant.  It’s a sign of a deeper problem.  They will hear and/or read what they CHOOSE to.  They will apply a negative slant to the words and there is nothing that YOU can do about it.

I see it time and again on online chat forums; where a member of the group will assume the worst and spin what was said into a negative attack against them. They seek out insult where there is none.  They assume they have been criticized where no personal criticisms were uttered.  They feel slighted, insulted, attacked, belittled and the list goes on.

There is apparently a ‘condition’ that causes this.  it is known as “Cognitive Distortion”.   Apparently those that struggle with depression and anxiety will habitually suffer ‘Cognitive Distortion’.  It is defined as “Jumping to conclusions is a type of negative thinking pattern. When a person is jumping to conclusions, they are drawing negative conclusions with little or no evidence to their assumptions”.

This link http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/livingwithpd/tp/Jumping-To-Conclusions.htm  goes on to say

“Jumping to conclusions can occur in two ways: mind-reading and fortune-telling. When a person is “mind-reading” they are assuming that others are negatively evaluating them or have bad intentions for them. When a person is “fortune-telling,” they are predicting a negative future outcome or deciding that situations will turn out for the worst before the situation has even occurred. ”

Those that are insecure about themselves, whether or not they suffer the above condition are also guilty of assuming the worst of someone to whom they compare themselves to, and feel threatened by (although no threat exists).  Someone who IS secure doesn’t assume the negative and doesn’t feel threatened by the intelligence or success of another. Someone who IS secure will deliberately seek to learn from others who are more successful and/or intelligent than they are themselves.  They will applaud that person.

Buddha has this to say ““Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”

I usually choose to walk away from the negative energy. Save yourself the heartache. You’re not a shrink. Neither am I for that matter.  We can’t fix these people. It’s up to them to want to fix themselves.  So if someone finds insult in your words where none were intended, apologize for their misconception and for not having explained yourself well.  If they continue having a meltdown once you’ve apologized, then walk away. Close the door. End the communication. You have better things to do with your time and so do I.

After all, once a negative-minded person has made the decision that you are the devil incarnate and that you have grievously offended them with innocent words, there is nothing that can be said to change their mind and odds are you’ll only make matters worse. And dollars to donuts, if they perceive personal insult where none is intended, you can pretty much guarantee that they will go on the offensive and start slinging actual personal insults.  Then the next thing you know, a total shit-storm is taking place.

Who needs that?

So my advice for the day – steer clear of the negative and embrace the positive.

Negative attitude

Hitchhikers in Marketing- It’s NOT a Gel

Hitchhikers in Marketing. It happens all the time.  A product is advertised, with emphasis on certain words.  Certain words that have earned a specific reputation. You get excited! You want it! It’s exactly what you want! However, CHEAPER than the original alternative! Gotta have it!

Or is it?

Let’s look at “Mineral Foundation Makeup”.  When Mineral Foundation first hit the scene, it changed things.  It became the ‘must have’ for every woman wanting healthier skin and easier to apply makeup.    A short while later, well known companies were producing “Mineral Makeup” too.  But wait!  Did you read the ingredient’s list?    REAL and TRUE “Mineral” makeup contains ONLY minerals (micas and oxides). That’s it, that’s all.  Nothing else.  So really, the ingredient list for REAL Mineral makeup should never exceed 3 ingredients.  Have you purchased mineral makeup at the department store lately?  I’ll bet there were more than 3 ingredients in the list…

So your question becomes “if it’s not mineral makeup, then why is it called that”.  Why? Because companies want to cash in! It’s all about money of course.   “But how is that legal? They’re lying to us!”  Oh, but they’re not.   Your mistake was assuming that because it said “mineral” makeup, that it was 100% pure minerals with no other additives.  WRONG!    All they did was add minerals to a regular makeup ingredient list and wham-bam-thank-you-mam, all legal and justified.

Welcome to Hitchhikers in Marketing.   Businesses that have watched a product/brand explode onto the market with all kinds of success and they want to hitch a ride on that train and get a little bit for themselves without doing any of the work.    They just walk down the hall to their marketing team, and that marketing team employs a word that they KNOW will deliberately mislead you.  A word that they KNOW means something in particular to you, the consumer – but can be used in so many ways.  All perfectly legal of course.

So on that note, the next craze…. Gels and Gel Polish.    Let’s be 100% clear:  REAL AUTHENTIC UV Gel and Gel Polish absolutely MUST HAVE a UV LAMP with UV BULBS to cure (ie: dry).  If your gel cures/dries without one, it is NOT a Gel product.  Yet again, Beauty companies are playing on the masses.  They spotted a trend and want to hitchhike on the success of other products and their businesses.  UV Gel & UV Polish are relatively new to the Beauty Industry in comparison to much older products (such as traditional nail polish and acrylic).  Companies everywhere are scrambling to cash in on this cash cow.  Consumers LOVE the stuff.   So how do they do it, they slap the word ‘gel’ onto whatever they like.   So unwitting consumers purchase a ‘no light gel kit’ from the pharmacy, get home, apply the product. HEY! It’s not immediately dry!  HEY! It’s not lasting 2-4wks.  Why? Because it’s NOT UV Gel or Gel Polish.  Why is the company allowed to slap the word ‘gel’ onto the product?  Because the product is of a thicker consistency… That’s all.

“Gel” is defined as “a jellylike substance containing a cosmetic, medicinal, or other preparation.”

THAT’S why they are allowed to advertise their product as ‘gel’ despite it being nothing like the product that you anticipate it to be.

So before you run off to the pharmacy, be sure to educate yourself and learn exactly what it is that you are spending your hard earned money on.   Are you getting the real deal? Or a Hitchhiker?

Hitchhiker Marketing

Hitchhiker Marketing

Why am I making a Polish Rack?

So here we are at the new salon, and wall space is at a premium in my room.   Out of necessity, I must be creative with using my space as effectively as possible.  So with that in mind, my 2 Shellac Wall Racks and my 2 Vinylux Racks just will NOT fit.   I absolutely MUST create a more space effective wall rack for my bottles that are growing in number.

Off to Google I go. Looking at this and that, and the other.  Either it’s too small, too large, or too expensive or just plain ugly.  Like this one. OMG I would kill for this.  But hey ho, not in my budget.  Maybe one day.

Tree polish rack

 

So since I don’t have a fairy god mother, and Santa doesn’t like my chimney (must be something to do with all my swearing, I must be on naughty list), I have to construct my own to hold my collection of OVER 200 bottles and growing. I also want it to be cost effective in addition to space effective (read that to mean CHEAP since moving is expensive enough!)

Off to the hardware store.  I have put my brain to work and with a bit of input from a team-mate at work, have come to a conclusion.  I will use molding, five strips measuring  1/4 x 1.5 x 36″.  Then I’ll connect small L-brackets to them, and pop those suckers on the wall.  Hubby pre-drills (so we don’t split any more pieces…) and we attach everything, then I paint.  Set them aside to bring to work.

2014-08-12 16.20.35      

 

Murphy is at it again.  It would seem that the section of wall where I want them has a DIP in it.  To such a degree that my ‘mini-shelves’ won’t fit flush and are now slanting… I have a few choice words for this dilemma. Back to the drawing board. In the meantime, I have to buy some polyfilla and patch & paint the holes I made in the wall.  <Insert @#$%^&@#$%^&*  right about here>

So my decrepit van and I head off to the hardware store again. Only this time, I didn’t find the same gent as I had before.  This one NEEDED me to draw a picture of what I was doing.  He just couldn’t grasp it.  I did all the math for him, told him exactly what I needed.  That it needed to be thick enough so that screws in the 3/8th size didn’t go all the way through.  That it needed to be 27 x 36.  He assured me that the wood panel he chose would be fine and then he cut it.  I bought MORE paint.

2014-08-13 17.37.06

So without double checking, I painted it. Wait for it to dry, then woke this morning intent upon assembly.   NOPE.   NOT…….. GONNA……….. HAPPEN.   For one thing, it’s NOT thick enough, the screws will go all the way through and scrape against the wall. For another, he cut it the wrong dimensions and cut it 26 x 37 instead of 27 by 36.  Now I’m going to have to play some more with layout.  Another trip to the hardware to find the gent I had the first time around.  THANKFULLY someone who knows his stuff!   So he hooks me up with some scraps to make braces on the back so that the screws will hit the braces.  Free of charge. YEAH, I hope so!  That last screwup was NOT mine!  So, my awesome neighbor helped me out and cut my strips to length.   They are now sitting on the back of my panel, waiting for the glue to dry so I can affix the ‘mini-shelves’ on the front side.

2014-08-14 14.23.18  2014-08-14 14.35.13

 

So with a screw at either end, and a paint can smack in the middle of each, pushing the strips down flush to the panel… I sit and wait.

Stay tuned for the next segment on this drama.  It seems I must always do things the hard way HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

 

HERE’S THE FINISHED PRODUCT!

09062014  13.25.38 Nail Polish Rack

Moving Day… Again

It seems that I have done nothing but pack and unpack in the last 10mths.  Let’s hope I’ve seen the last of it for a while.  I am so sick and tired of boxes, I am beginning to think I never want to sell my house ever, even if the kids get too big for their rooms or we win a loto large enough to buy a mansion.  The thought of moving again stresses me to no end.  But to recap…

In October of 2013, my family and I moved from Quebec to Ontario. Packed up the house, the kids, the dogs, the cat, and the fish and here we are in Ontario. This task required two trucks, a minivan x 2, an econoline and a carload.  You would think that would be the end of it.

I then had to find a location for my business since city bylaws didn’t permit me to work from home.  Apparently there isn’t enough room on my street for one more car? And according to them my driveway isn’t large enough despite that we can park 2 cars plus a mini-van end to end in it. Right, because the first 20 feet of my lawn belong to the City and it’s called Frontage and so they said it doesn’t count. Craziness, but no matter how I logically argued this or suggested clients could park at the grocery store up the street, the City Bylaws Officer wouldn’t relent. So I looked around for a suitable salon.   Thinking that I had found one, I loaded up the mini-van and installed myself.

In the meantime, every second weekend, I made the trek back to Chateauguay Quebec.   I would load up my mini-van with assorted nail supplies and equipment at 6:30am. I would drive to Chateauguay about 1hr away, to unload and set up my work station at a friend’s house (thank you Val! Love ya!) and open up shop to meet the needs of my former regulars.  It was a small group. Mainly those that had been with me the longest (one as many as ten years!) and from 9am to 10pm on Saturday, and 9am to 8pm on Sunday; I would bang out one set of nails after another.  THEN I would pack up my kit/equipment, clean up, load the van and drive home.  To repeat the process two weeks later.    This allowed me to continue to make my gals happy, and also permitted me to have a small dependable revenue while establishing myself in Ontario.   I am THANKFUL for it.  But packing and unpacking to pack and unpack again every 2nd week was tiresome.

And of course,  those that know me also know how much Murphy’s Law loves me. Every single time I made the trip. weather was CRAP!  I drove through torrential rains, hail stones, snow so thick you couldn’t see beyond the front bumper so you watched out for tail lights.  Every single weekend, it was SOMETHING.   I am CONVINCED that Murphy’s Law and Mother Nature are in cahoots and figured they’d torture me for shits and giggles just to see if I’d ever cancel on my gals due to bad weather and treacherous highway roads. I never did.  I’m a stubborn bitch that way.  I NEVER cancelled due to weather a single time! I refused to let anyone down.  Keeping in mind, I have only 9yrs of driving experience. Added to that, most of the experience was in the wee little suburban town of Chateauguay. NOT highway driving with crazy people going at 160km/hr.   But I will say, I’m now semi-crazy and go 120km LOL   I learn fast 😉 if you’ll pardon the pun.

A couple of months in, things aren’t going so well at my new location. It seems that some can’t abide by the terms of an agreement, so I cut my losses and I politely said “no thank you” and parted ways while I packed up my gear again, loaded up the van and trucked my stuff home.

During this time, still making my biweekly trips to Chateauguay.

I looked everywhere for a location.  Checked out several places. Contacted several salons. I simply could not find a good fit.  Then I saw a place that was opening soon, and wondered if they had a nail tech?  I issued emails and left a few phone messages (ok, I was a tad pushy hahaha) Finally the owner agreed to meet me. Bianca’s Salon then became the new home for my business.  So packing and unpacking again to set myself up in Bianca’s Salon.  YAY finally at rest!

Whoops spoke too soon.  Forgot- still making biweekly trips to Chateauguay and packing and then unpacking, to pack and unpack again.

did I tell you that I am heartily sick and tired of packing and unpacking?  It is enough to drive you insane because no matter how many times you’ve done it, or how thorough you are, you ALWAYS forget something – EVERY TIME.  No matter how careful you are, and fastidious, something always gets broken or spilled.  Without fail.

As I said, moving stresses me out and aggravates me.  So when the time came to quit my biweekly trips to Chateauguay, as I became more in demand here in Ontario, I breathed a GIANT sigh of relief, happy danced all over my house and at the salon. Several times.  I repeated over and over how thankful I was that it was DONE! No more packing and unpacking. FINISHED! That’s it that’s all.

Damn Murphy. DAMN DAMN DAMN MURPHY!  When I find Murphy and his book of laws, I’m gonna beat him with that book until he cries like a little girl!  And if that doesn’t get the job done, I’m going to hop into my 15yr old rusty mini-van and run his ass over a few times, just for good measure!

We’re moving again.  Yup.  It turns out that our landlord really should go by an entirely different name.  Suffice to say the electrical aspects of the salon were severely lacking and even dangerous. Yes, a ceiling light fixture erupted into sparks, smoke and FLAMES right over a client’s head.

Damn…………….. moving again.

So now we’ve moved and omg point me to the right god to pray to that I don’t ever have to do this again in the near future but I have had enough.  As with moving, there are ALWAYS hiccups, and things broken, things forgotten and things lost.  But, we got it done.

On the bright side?  Our new digs are super hot and I can’t wait to see you all there!

PS: if you see Murphy, please tell him I’m looking for him…………………..

Words matter

I love words. As far back as I can remember, I have LOVED words.  I would voraciously read anything I could get my hands on.  Growing up, one wall of our basement was floor to ceiling with shelves of books. We had books in our bedrooms. There were books everywhere and that was fine,   I loved to read.  Every time I came across a word I didn’t know, out came the dictionary.   My parents even invested in “The Encyclopedia Britannica”  (oops, showing my age here!).  There were days I would pull one off the shelf at random and flip through it, reading a bit here and there. No rhyme nor reason to it.

Funnily enough, one year, I was failing English class in Elementary.  I think it was grade four.  Not because I wasn’t bright. More-so because I was bored in class, the teacher talked too much.  Curious, isn’t it?  hehehe  That summer I was made to read book after book and write one report after another, by my parents.  One book was ‘The Complete Tales of Washington Irving’. You might not recognize his name, but he is the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Better known as “The Headless Horseman”.  I also read several pieces by Jack London. Yes, he did write other books aside from ‘The Call of the Wild’. There were several other classic authors whose work I read. When I began writing those book reports, I muttered and grumbled.  At the outset, I wasn’t the happiest kid. It was summer vacation! I wanted to be out playing!  But then something happened.

A writer was born.

I’m certainly no great Shakespeare.  I often think I should like to write a great novel.  But there’s only 24hrs in a day.  I make no claims to eloquent inspiration of others, but have often been accused of being a walking dictionary.  In adolescence, as most girls do, I dabbled in poetry. I’ve been told I’m good. But HEY, your friends HAVE to be nice, right?  😉   I do sincerely enjoy playing with words, and trying  to bend them to my will to paint a picture in one’s mind.  I enjoy using words that are lost in today’s modern vocabulary. Just as I don’t like to do the same French manicure over and over, WHY should I want to use the same words over and over when there are so many different ones out there? Ahh but therein lies the crux.

Words matter. Each and every one of them. Their unique definitions make all the difference in the world as to why one word should be used and not another.  No two words are the same, nor mean exactly the same thing. Some appear to do so, but they don’t. Not really.

And that brings us to the Nail Industry. How? Why?

Because proper and accurate communication is important if you are to be considered a Professional, and regarded by others as  a Professional.  It is paramount if we are all to understand each other correctly.  It is fundamental if we are Educators and wish our students to succeed.  It is vital if we want to improve the status quo of the industry and raise standards.

Imagine if I went to the garage, and said to the mechanic ” the dooflickey is making a whirwhir noise, and sometimes ticky-tock” and then he in turn called his distributor and tried to order the part needed and referred to it as a ‘dooflickey’.  It’s a sure bet that the distributor will hang up on him thinking he’s some idiot and not a professional mechanic.  What if I were to visit the hospital, and complained to the Doctor of my symptoms; and he spoke to me in the same fashion without benefit of proper terminology with regards to my health issues?  Do I want a doctor that doesn’t seem Professional?   OR WORSE, what would be the end result if he wrote down on my file exactly as I described them, with MY terminology and then sent me to a specialist with that file?  What are the odds that the specialist is going to call the doctor and say “WTF are you talking about? Do you even have a license to practice medicine?”  Maybe that Specialist won’t make the call and will just make an educated guess and low and behold, I get the wrong treatment?

“Professionals” are expected to communicate like Professionals.  Not as average consumers.  Consumers EXPECT “Professionals” to be professional.  Now I’m not saying you can’t kid around or share laughs with them.  What I am saying is that when you speak to them, use the right words.

For a very simple example; the word Cuticle is often used in place of Eponychium.  Please note: these are two very different things!

Now there are those that will argue that it really doesn’t matter.  Oh, but it DOES.  If you are asking for help, and I ask you to describe your PREP and you say that you pushed back the cuticle. So I wonder, does she mean she pushed back the eponychium and removed the cuticle? Did she only push the eponyhium and left the cuticle on the plate? Etc etc and off we go, trying to be sure that the PREP was done properly.  Now that is only a simple example, but you get my point.

Then there are those that say “My clients don’t care what words I use and don’t know the difference”.  Wrong!   They do care, and they will know when you explain. I have proven exactly that for several years.  It is very standard at my table that at the very first appointment, I explain all that I am doing to my client and why.  I do use the word eponychium and  I do explain it’s purpose and why we don’t cut it or remove it.  I also explain what a cuticle is and why we DO remove it.   Nine times out of ten, a client will tell me “WOW I didn’t know that!  I’m glad to know! You really know your stuff! You’re very different from those other places. They are so unprofessional”.  AHHH HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA there it is.  You see? Their perception of your professionalism is often based on how you choose to communicate.

When we become parents, everyone offers advice. One bit of advice almost all parents receive is “don’t baby-talk to your kids. speak to them properly and they’ll speak properly”.   I know this to be true with my children who are now 10 & 12yrs old.  Even as infants and toddlers, we never resorted to using baby-words with them.  The end result? Two children who read and write very well, and who are very articulate.   Many parents follow this same bit of advice.

So why is it so difficult to understand the necessity of using the correct terms in our industry?

For more on my rant, see an older post on Facebook   (more…)

NEW BEGINNINGS

Where to begin? How far back to go?  How about we settle for 10yrs ago?  At the birth of “Ongles Chez Victoria”.   It was my official opening as a ‘Salon’ versus a part-time hobby nail-tech.  In Quebec, archaic language laws insist that my business name MUST be French.  So why not call my business “Nails at Victoria’s” since that’s where I was working – out of my home.  
I need to point out that I fell into this. While I did start in Cosmetology many moons ago (please don’t count the moons, I’m happier pretending I’m still 29yrs old), I drifted away from that industry for a while and only dabbled on the side.  We had decided that I’d stay home to raise my children BUT I’ve been independent since the age of 16.  Can ANYONE that knows me imagine me having to ask my hubby for 2$ for a coffee?  If you don’t know me, the answer is a big ‘HELL NO’. I wanted my own pin money. So a friend slapped me upside the head and said “just do nails, Vic”.  Ohhh right!  Sooo off to take a refresher course I went, and my home business was born.I started out offering what is commonly referred to as ‘Tip-n-dip’ everywhere but in Quebec where it’s called ‘Gel Resine’.  Shortly after, I added UV Gel to my skills.
I naively believed all the hype of the company. I bought it hook line and sinker – gel is better for your nails.   I know, I know, I know. Hang on, I’m just starting here  😉  
OnglesChezVictoria BizCard 1 numberblurred
Then a short while after just learning this skill, I joined a nail tech forum which was then known as http://www.salongeek.com.  WHAM I took a slap upside the head, a kick in the backside, a punch in the nose, and a few jabs to the ribs.  My pride and confidence had the crap kicked out of them. Because you see, this forum was full to bursting with experienced and knowledgeable nail techs.  EDUCATED nail techs.  Yes, I am from Quebec where there are no standards and most education is absymal.   Added to that, most members of this forum were from the UK and they have a plain way of speaking that leaves NO ROOM for confusion.  They told me STRAIGHT.  So, while previously I had been told that my nails were awesome, at salongeek, I received my wake up call.  My nails were CRAP! Total utter CRAP!  And I was beyond ignorant. Oh boy, did I have a lot to learn!
But instead of tucking my tail between my legs and ducking for cover, I took my beatings and kept plugging on. I took that criticism CONSTRUCTIVELY. I was HUNGRY to learn and learn is exactly what I did. I ate it up like a sponge, trolling those forums for hours at a time, breathing/eating/sleeping anything about nails.   I learned who Doug Schoon was, and what “MIlady’s Standard Nail Technology” is and how important it is for Nail Techs to have this book.  I learned that UV Gel is NOT better for your nails, that it’s from the same family as Acrylic. I learned and learned, and then learned some more.
THEN I put my ass to work. I was NOT going to be just another NSS. I was NOT going to be just an average Nail Tech. I wanted to beat the odds stacked against me and prove people wrong.  I wanted to play with the big dogs and make a difference in this industry, to make a difference for other aspiring nail techs.
Second Business card, with professional logo that I designed myself.

Second Business card, with professional logo that I designed myself.

So jump forward several years and several more classes later, and here I stand.  I’ve been published a couple of times.  I’ve been on the news speaking out against NSS.  I’m mentoring junior techs and will soon start teaching. Most recently, I moved to Ontario away from my home town. It was huge and tore me apart emotionally.  And now the business that I built from nothing was being closed.  My days of being so busy I turned clients away with no openings for weeks at a time were over.   It was time to start fresh.   THAT’S SCARY SHIT!

Third Business Card.

Third Business Card.

There’s nothing more humbling than starting over in a new town where no one knows you. Where you have no network, no friends, no family to support you. No contacts or connections to get things rolling.  Now I have to prove myself all over again.  Establish a reputation, again.   But, this time I KNOW what to do and what not to do. I KNOW I can do this. So here I am, plugging along, starting over.   Frustrated with the slow move forward. Wondering if I’ll EVER arrive at my intended destination.  Then an opportunity knocked at my door. Several actually, but I’ll just talk about one for the moment.  All my hours of nattering, jabbering, mentoring for nails, and also just being plain old me with my big mouth and straight way of speaking amounted to something.  Something BIG.  Something HUGE.  I get to play with the BIG DOGS!  Linda & Jim Nordstrom knocked on my door (ok, they rang my phone LOL).  They invited me to join their team. For those not in the know, Jim Nordstrom is one of the original founders of CND.  Yes, “the” CND.   He now owns Famous Names Products and they want ME!  Little ol Me!

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!
So it’s a new beginning, and time for a new name.   Don’t get me wrong, “Ongles Chez Victoria” did me fine and has established as the only “Ongles Chez Victoria” anywhere on the web and has a fine reputation.  
However I’m not Ongles Chez Victoria anymore. I’m not that same uneducated nail tech bumbling in the dark full of doubts.  Oh I still have PLENTY to learn, and learn I shall.  With GLEE!
So ‘Victorious Nail Styles” was born. I hope you stay tuned and follow my adventures because my future is chock full of them.  I’ll share my adventures, my challenges, industry humor and educational stuff.  But added to that, my own observations and perspectives on a variety of things.  I’ll tell it to you STRAIGHT.   I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do that 😉
ps: what’s my new business card going to look like?  I don’t know. You’ll know when I do 😉