Katie Lou - My journey as a nail tech
A little about myself:
I'm a mom to two cheeky boys and a recent newlywed as well as fur momma to our Rottweiler, Phoenix.
My career path straight from school was never meant to be nails. I wanted to do a degree in fine art at university and then maybe progress onto teaching art within a high school or college. This was never to be (typical 17 year old thinking she knows best and wanting to do what she likes)..I ended up getting a job as a waitress in a pub and losing the direction of my career path.
So this is where nails began to happen with me. In 2004 did my first short nail course in fibreglass nails and cracked on with doing that as a hobby. I guess you could say the art was still a major part of the process!
This then developed into retraining with Essential Nails and becoming qualified in acrylics, which is when I started to set up a side business alongside family life and my part time job. And overtime, with dozens of recommendations from friends and family, I eventually became busy enough to leave my part time job and go full time as a mobile nail tech. I did this for a couple of years and then went to work in an amazingly supportive local salon for 6 years. During lockdown I gained an award in education and training which meant I needed to branch out. So in 2021 I finally opened my own studio where I carry out several nail services on my clients as well as teaching and workshops.
What do I love most about the industry?
I have to say the industry now compared to twenty years ago is a completely different spectrum. I had no where near the level of support and empowerment from within this industry like I did as a fresh faced 17 year old not having a clue what to do with her career. It's such an incredible community and I'm proud to be apart of it.
What is the highlight of my career so far?
It absolutely has to be finally passing my AET in 2021. The immense level of pride after becoming an educator was overwhelming. It's something I've wanted to do for probably the best part of ten years, but put it off for one reason or another. I love to help and guide people within our industry and let their potential and confidence grow.
What is next to achieve on my goal list?
Having made the first baby step last year of opening my own studio, my next goal is to open a bigger salon and training academy. I'd love to have a team of therapists and technicians to bounce ideas off with, a hub of loads of different treatments to offer clients. That's the next thing to tick off my list.
What would I tell myself as a beginner nail tech?
Don't expect instant miracles! Building a client base and establishing yourself takes time. It won't happen overnight. And expect to continually learn throughout your career. I think this is the problem for a lot of 'failed' nail techs who do a course, think they will have a full client book within a few weeks/months, don't attend skill workshops and give up 6 months down the line. It took me about 5 years to fill my client book! Never give up!