Nail Technician of the Year: Honorable Mentions

These techs gave this year's winners a run for their money!

Maisie Dunbar is all about wellness, which is reflected in her salon and the services she offers. 
<p>Maisie Dunbar is all about wellness, which is reflected in her salon and the services she offers.&nbsp;</p>
Combining Beauty with Well-Being

Maisie Dunbar sees herself as a nurturer, one who fills the needs of her clients and transforms lives through the art of touch. This attitude has distinguished Dunbar and her salon, M&M Nails & Wellness Center in Silver Spring, Md., from the rest of the salons in her area. 

Unlike other local nail salons, Dunbar chose to specialize in maintaining the integrity of natural nails, while providing wellness treatments. "Wellness and holistic treatments go hand in hand with nail care," she explains. "Getting your nails done should be more than just sitting in a crowded room with the harsh smell of chemicals while someone paints your nails."

Her formula has proven so successful that Dunbar expanded her salon to offer the ultimate in nail care, skin care, and body treatments.

Dunbar is more than happy to share her knowledge, acting as a business consultant to other nail techs. She says that education is important for everyone. "Advanced technical and customer service education helps to maintain your credibility and allows you to stay on top of the changing trends within the industry," she says. "It also helps you solve problems and make sound recommendations to clients about techniques and products." To encourage her team's advanced education, Maisie established an education fund for her staff in which they receive money to use for advanced education.


A top-ranked competitor, John Hauk recently joined the OPI team as technical advisor.
<p>A top-ranked competitor, John Hauk recently joined the OPI team as technical advisor.</p>
Always Motivated

You'd think after all his accomplishments John Hauk would rest on his laurels. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Hauk says that nail techs with a real passion for the nail industry constantly find ways to challenge themselves and in a nutshell, that describes him perfectly. Hauk, who owns Belle A'Rever in Dayton, Ohio, has worked hard to build a solid reputation for himself. He's a regular fixture at many nail competitions and was even NAILS' top-ranked competitior of 2002.

"The time and money invested in attending trade shows, taking classes, networking, competing, and practicing have been well spent," he says. "The knowledge and skills developed from these experiences have enabled me to achieve a great deal." And that's no understatement. Besides being a top-ranked competitor, Hauk was first runner-up in this category last year. And he was recently named technical advisor for OPI.

Although his work in the salon, with OPI, and competitions keep him occupied, he's never too busy to help out his community. He can often be found at local beauty schools, where he donates his time teaching and giving demos. Some nail techs may find his schedule a bit too hard to handle, but Hauk takes it all in stride. After all, he figures it's only fair. "I constantly remind myself that without the generosity and dedication of those who shared with me, I would not be able to give as much back to the nail industry."

MaeLing Parrish loves to educate herself and others about techniques and trends in the nail industry.
<p>MaeLing Parrish loves to educate herself and others about techniques and trends in the nail industry.</p>
A Creative Touch

How does MaeLing Parrish attract and keep her clients? It could be due to her great customer service skills, quality of work, and dedication. But it's also likely due to the fact that clients lover her innovativeness and creativity. Parrish, a nail tech at Nail Sensation in Columbus, Ohio, enjoys making the ordinary extraordinary. She takes basic craft materials, including shaped hole punches and tissue paper, and incorporates them into unique designs. Clients praise her artistic abilities. 

Her personalized service includes individual kits for each client. Each kit contains more than just files and implements, including a client card with personal information, from favorite polish to birthdays, allowing her to personalize each service.

Besides working in the salon, Parrish is also an international master artist educator and trainer for EZ Flow, which means she gets to travel around the world sharing her techniques. And she makes sure not to forget about herself. Although the state of Ohio only requires eight hours for license renewal, Parrish has logged nearly 45 hours of continuing education. 

It's a busy schedule by anyone's standards but Parrish doesn't mind at all--and neither do her clients. "They know there's no place I'd rather be, or anything else I'd rather be doing," she says. Now that's what we call true passion.

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