Australian Tech Has a Flair for Fun

Geannine Mclnnes has been a nail technician for just two short years, but she makes the most of every day.

Have you ever had a client ask to have Daffy Duck painted on an index finger? How about a Sesame Street character painted on a pinkie? Maybe champagne and streamers for a big party? Geannine Mclnnes, a nail technician at DH&N Beauty Centre in Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, hears such requests all the time.

“I’ve done Big Bird for one of my regular clients. She really loves him. She’s a big kid like me,” says Mclnnes, who recently celebrated her 21st birthday Daffy Duck is a favorite with another client. Mclnnes has been a nail technician for just two short years, but she makes the most of every day. Clients ranging in age from 17 to 70 enjoy the enthusiasm Mclnnes brings to her work, says DH&N owner Peter Hanson.

“Geannine always makes the experience fun for the customer, whether she’s doing a manicure or creating something more unusual,” says Hanson. “She never stops trying to improve her skills, and she just loves what she does. We gave her a travel kit so she could practice doing nails at home, but she takes it everywhere she goes.”

Well, not everywhere, Mclnnes admits. “I also like to do ceramic, go shopping, and party on Saturday nights!”

A native of nearby Dapto, New from Sydney), Mclnnes learned the basics of nail care in cosmetology school, she says. But it wasn’t until she joined DH&N and worked with Hanson’s daughter-in-law, salon training director Nicola Hanson, that her career as a nail technician really took off. “I received very basic training in my beauty therapy class, but once I joined the team at DH&N, I learned the professional way to do nails, and my interest in nails increased,” she says

And underneath her bubbly personality, Mclnnes is just that: a professional. “This is my career — not a job,” she emphasizes “What I really like about it is my working environment. DH&N has 18 employees, including seven nail technicians, working for them between two salons (the Hansons have a salon in Dapto in addition to the Kiama salon), and we are like one big family. Because we are so close, there is a lot of support.”

Mclnnes says Hanson and his wife, Sandra, encourage her and her fellow technicians to attend seminars, competitions, and nail shows, and to continue their training. The owners also offer team incentives to reward their hardworking staff and to keep them on their well-groomed toes. “At DH&N, life is never dull or boring!” Mclnnes says.

In fact, it was the Hansons’ encouragement that prompted Mclnnes to enter the 1993 Australian Professional where she took first place in the novice sculptured nails category and third place in the restricted flat nail art category. She quickly followed her first success with two first-place finishes, in restricted sculptured nails and restricted flat nail art, at the 1993 International Key to Beauty Expo in Sydney.

Not content to take a breather, Mclnnes is looking forward to her next professional challenge: learning to create three-dimensional and fantasy nail art. She’s busy preparing now for her next competition.

Although she’s come a long way in her profession in just two years, Mclnnes still remembers exactly what it felt like to create her first set of nails. And she has a few words of advice for those just starting out. “Try to get the best training available in all aspects of doing nails,” she says. “Be dean and tidy at the work­station and friendly to the clients and staff. And never, ever think you can do the perfect nail. Always try and make the next one the best one.”


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