What do Madonna, Steve Jobs, and Vicki Peters all have in common? They continue to be at the top of their field and the top of their game by constantly reinventing themselves. What could you have in common with these movers and shakers? More than you might think!
Interviews with Industry Leaders Who Reinvented Themselves (including web-exclusive material!)
Vicki Peters: Competitor-Turned-Manufacturer
Vicki Peters thought she had taken her career about as far as she could. Can you believe she thought she would be in the salon forever? “My competition background had lead me to judge competitions I had won and ultimately to becoming the leading competition director worldwide until 2004 when I retired from the competition circuit,” she says. Training was a natural progression for Peters and soon she was training nail technicians all over the world. Her career path was definitely an evolution. “My career has been unique because I have taken advantage of extraordinary opportunities that have shaped my career,” she says. Peters had long wanted to manufacture her own line of products so she took the opportunity to consult with top companies behind the scenes while she continued gaining higher profile educational positions and writing for NAILS and other industry publications. “Had I not worked for Kupa as a manufacturer I would not have had the skills to have my own nail business and become a manufacturer myself,” she says. She admits to being a risk taker and “flying without a net.” Clearly, the big risks have paid off.
Did you have a long-term career plan when you began in the beauty industry?
VP: No I did not, and had I set goals, I would have gotten to where I am faster. I preach goal-setting in every class I teach because of that. My career has been unique because I have had extraordinary opportunities that I have taken advantage of.
What was your first job in the beauty industry and what was your educational background up until then?
VP: My first job outside of the salon was to manage a nail competition for a show in Las Vegas that later became part of the Nails Magazine’s shows, which I managed from 1989 to 1994. My competition background had led me to judge competitions I had won and ultimately to become the leading competition director worldwide until 2004 when I retired from the competition circuit.
What was your next move?
VP: For 15 years I worked for Nails and Nailpro Magazines and did a lot of consulting and teaching as well.
When it was time to move on, I felt the next step was to develop my own line of products. Kupa agreed and I became part of the Kupa team for four years before I went out on my own and started my own company, Vicki Peters Nail Products.
What inspired the next transition and what was it?
VP: Kupa and I decided to make some changes in late 2007 and with their assistance I was able to acquire my line of products and start my own company. When I went to work for Kupa, this was not in the plan, but savvy business always embraces change. Nothing ever stays the same and you have to go with the flow of what presents itself, which we did.
As far as education, had I not worked for Kupa as a manufacturer, I would not have had the skills to have my own nail business and become a manufacturer myself. I did not have a learning curve, just the opportunity to change and improve the way things were done, which makes me appreciate all the time I did work for Kupa.
Did you deliberately set out to change and grow your career path or did it just evolve?
VP: My career path definitely evolved. I really thought I would work in a salon forever, not knowing the opportunities that would present themselves. My competition experience in the late 80’s definitely played a huge role in the direction I took. I traveled to all the trade show competitions and networked for more than five years and received many job offers, none of which I took. But it let me know I was marketable and I knew the right thing would come along and it did.
Did you work with mentors or coaches?
VP: Yes. Norm Freed was a huge influence in my life and still is.
He always pushed me to think forward in every endeavor I was involved in. I would start a new project and he would ask what’s next before I even had a chance to dig into the project! It was exhausting. I guess that’s what has helped us both stay on top of our game all these years.
What is your advice for newcomers in the industry?
VP: Depending on how open you are to all the opportunities that are out there, your career is what you make of it. Dipping your toes into the water is the only way you can explore, and if you never dip your toes, so to speak, you will never grow, no matter what career path you choose.
I personally am a risk taker and fly without a net, not knowing what’s next and going with it. Not everyone can do that. But on the other hand, if you don’t take risks you will never know what’s out there. The worst thing that could happen is you fail, so what! So always have a plan “B” in place just in case. My plan “B” is doing nails in a salon. It’s like waitressing, you can always do it to make the rent. For me, trying something new and seeing where it leads me keeps it fun and never gets boring. So set your goals and put a timeline to them. Then just do it!