How did some of the industry’s lead nail artists get to the top of their game? We’ve tapped the pros to find out.
Becoming the top of your class is no easy feat. Everyone has to start at the beginning, and that goes for Alisha Botero, executive vice-president and creative director for Artistic Nail Design, and Rita Remark, lead nail artist for Essie Canada. Whether you’re starting at the bottom or hoping to take the next leap in your career, you’ll discover that even these pros had to start somewhere.
Take every experience as inspiration
Whether you have just started your journey in the nail industry or have been working the tips for a few years now, both pros agree that each and every job is a learning point in your career. As Botero explains, “I may have had my hands in almost every role available in this industry, from nail technician to distributor sales rep, international platform artist/trainer to product developer.” Each gig has brought her to where she is now, creating each and every Artistic Nail Design colour, while she contemplates upcoming trends. Remark, on the other hand, has made sure even her pre-manicure life was a learning experience, including her very first job on a farm, which “taught the definition of hard work.” While working in the salon for several years “honed [her] skills and taught [her] to work as a team,” which is one of the most important attributes in this industry.
Find a mentor and build your network
There’s a reason they say “two heads are better than one,” and this rings true for being an aspiring nail tech, too. Find someone who inspires you and will help you grow in your career. while giving you the criticism and praise you need in the right way. “Starting out, make sure you surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you because they make all the difference,” says Remark. She explains that when she went on her own for the first time, it was her network of makeup artists, photographers and stylists that helped her learn the ropes in the industry, building her confidence along the way. When it comes to building this network though, attitude will get you everywhere. As Botero puts it, “I can teach you to do nails, but I can’t teach you to be nice.”
Focus and master your skill
If you’re aiming to take your career to the next level, whether it’s going solo, working backstage at fashion week or becoming an editorial nail artist, you need to make sure you have the basics down to a science. “Nail art skills are an asset, but understanding how to perform proper manicures and pedicures is a must,” explains Remark. And when it comes to working backstage, this fashion week vet understands that “you must know how to polish very quickly with absolute precision.” For Botero, she turns to the old adage. “Practice, practice, practice” and suggests taking it one step at a time instead of focusing on mastering several skills at once.