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The Nail Hub Podcast Transcription: Interview With Suzie Moskal

In this transcription of The Nail Hub Podcast, Elizabeth Morris interviews Suzie Moskal about nails, the industry, how she got started, and how she became a YouTube star.

Below is a transcribed version of The Nail Hub Podcast, Episode 101: My First Magazine Cover. To listen, click here.

Suzie: I can hear you now.  

Elizabeth: Yay. I love how I'm telling you how easy this is to use and I can't even get it to work.   

Suzie: That's okay. It's okay.  

Elizabeth: Oh, so thank you so much for being on here this morning.  

Suzie: You bet.  

Elizabeth: You got a busy week behind you and a busy week to come so...  

Suzie: Well, I've got Celina.  

Elizabeth: I know, that's so exciting.   

Suzie: Celina Ryden.

Elizabeth: Celina Ryden.  

Suzie: Rayden.  

Elizabeth: Yes.  

Suzie: Celina Ryden, okay. I'll try to get that...  

Elizabeth: She's gonna... she's still gonna laugh because I suck at saying her name.   

Suzie: Yeah. I think we all doing. We don't have that special accent that she had.  

Elizabeth: I know. Yeah. But she'll have to teach you some funny Swedish stuff so...  

Suzie: Oh, no.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. All the bad stuff.  

Suzie: I was gonna say.  

Elizabeth: That's exciting. So she comes in...she comes in tonight?  

Suzie: Yeah. She's flying in tonight. And then she will get a good night rest and then we'll shoot a video on Friday.  

Elizabeth: Cool. That would be cool.  

Suzie: Yeah. I'm looking forward to it.  

Elizabeth: Very cool. So, I'm really excited that you're on the podcast. And thanks for doing it via video.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: Everyone loves to see who I interview, so this is fun.  

Suzie: That's great. That's awesome.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. So, I wanted to...I wanted to talk to you for a while now and I know we've kind of seeing each other at trade shows. We've never actually gotten a chance to sit down and talk.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: And hopefully we're gonna be able to do that in Orlando or Vegas, either one.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: I'd love to actually like to actually...  

Suzie: Yeah. are you going to be...  

Elizabeth: ...hang out. Yeah. I'm gonna be... I'm gonna be working Orlando and Vegas, so, we'll have to find some time to, you know, grab a drink or hang out for a bit and chat.  

Suzie: Sounds great.  

Elizabeth: I think that's fun.  

Suzie: Yeah, maybe cool.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. And it's funny because my... my family, so, I used to live in Vancouver when I was a kid and my grandmother actually used to live on the island in Qualicum. So, my whole family is Canadian except for me. I'm the first kid to be born in the U.S.  

Suzie: Really, that's pretty cool actually.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. Yeah, so, my parents are from the prairies and then we lived in Vancouver when I was a kid. And then my grandmother lived on the island for a long time. She lives in Saskatchewan now, so...  

Suzie: Oh, that's really small world, right?  

Elizabeth: Very small world. So, that'll be fun. So I wanted to talk to you about what you do, because I think you've gotten very well-known for one piece of what you've done which is YouTube.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: But I really wanted to have a chance to sit down with you and ask you a little bit more about your story because I think people immediately see Nail Career Education on YouTube and they get a certain idea, you know, which is what you've done there is amazing. But I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about like, how did you get started in the nail industry? Like, how did this whole thing start for you?  

Suzie: Yeah. Going back as a nail technician you mean?  

Elizabeth: Yeah. Like, what was like the first in, you know, introduction or experience you had with the nail industry?  

Suzie: Okay. So, my first experience with nails, I was getting married at 18 and I thought it would look cool to have some longer nails. So, I went to the store and got some fake ones and put them on, and filed them, and thought they looked pretty good. They were kind of crappy. And it was... I didn't know nothing about it.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: So, five years later. I had no idea there was an industry for sculpting nails onto the nail and like you go every month and get... I had no idea. So, I saw an ad in the paper and I kind of... which was that's how he saw ads back then. If you were looking for a job, it was in the paper. So I saw the job in the paper, so I went and she interviewed me and the other girls. She hired me and the next day she brings me back, and I put a set of nails on and that's where I first... my first introduction to sculpting nails.  

Elizabeth: Wow.  

Suzie: Yeah. So, it was just an industry that was just like, wow, I didn't any...you know, really it was a baby industry. Nobody did it.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: It was just a little pocket salon. It was the first only nail salon in Victoria. And that was mid-'80s. So, she trained me and it was literally two-week kind of on-the-job and then she pushed me out into the... well, I was always on the floor. And she just said, "Okay, do it on your own now."  

Elizabeth: Just sink or swim.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: Awesome. And then, how did you end up, you know, evolving in your career? Like what was the next step for you? I mean, did you work as a nail tech for a certain period of time before you started doing other things or...?  

Suzie: Yeah, yeah. I did. I was lucky enough that my husband was in... his line of work and it made enough money that I could, you know, do nails and not make any because let's face it, doing it for art.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: And doing it for fun. It's like a musician or an artists, it's your passion that pays you.

Elizabeth: That's true. That's very true.  

Suzie: Yeah. Basically smiles and happiness, not money. So, I did that for well, 30 years and obviously I was, you know, a couple of companies over the years did ask me to... because they could see that I did have some talent for nails and they're always looking for good people to promote their product naturally.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: So, on that note they did ask me if I would travel around to do that. I was raising kids at that time. So, I was 18 when I got married, I didn't have kids until 28 but I was well into the nail field by then, a good five years. And I owned my own salon and stuff. And I had a salon about eight years before I had kids. So then kids became the passion but nails, this was a good income. So I stayed with the income and I did it with the kids. And I moved a really beautiful business that I had eight years Downtown Victoria which was the second only nail salon.  

And then I moved it to my house which was really far away at the time. Now with, you know, progress, everything's joined so much closer. But... and I did that at home for 17 years until I opened up the salon when I started the YouTube channel at the same time. And the only reason why I started that YouTube channel, to be honest with you, was just to... I had a local school here that I was kind of competing with. And I felt every time... I wasn't in a downtown location with a big storefront, it was in my house doing nails. The education was really top-notch but the location didn't look like it. So I thought opening a salon would be more...my kids are grown now, it's time for mommy to do something that she likes, which is a salon.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: And I really love the whole day-to-day managing of a salon. And honestly, I probably love decorating it more, so that was probably a big part of my drive. So I thought, if I get an advantage over the other school, one advantages when they meet me, they usually, you know, 99% they sign up. But they got to meet me first, and because I was so out there it was hard to find me.  

Elizabeth: Oh, okay.

Suzie: Well, my husband was said, "Well, hey, I'll do a video for you." And so, he did. And it's his profession, and he didn't know where to put it, he's, "Well, if I put it on your website, nobody's gonna see it." So we put it up on YouTube. And okay, I didn't know anything about YouTube. And so he put it up on there and it just started to gain some traction. And people were commenting on it, and I'm like, oh, that's great but I haven't got any new students. So what's it doing? And then I felt the frustration for the person who was commenting on my videos, like where did you get that product from? You know, what knowledge you do have? Can you tell me this? Can you tell me that? And I'm like, that such an involved answer. It's like, why are my nails lifting? As you know as a tech...  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: ...you can't...that's not a one answer. There are many reasons why it might be lifting. So, it was a little frustrating for me in trying to help them to figure out who they could... buy the products from was also frustrating because you have to be a licensed nail tech. You know, especially in different areas, it's really, really strict. So I felt frustrated for them because I couldn't give them the answers that I so desperately wanted to give them and the answers was just kind of dead. Where do you get that product? At my distribution store, I mean.

Elizabeth: Great.   Suzie: So, it just started to gain more attraction, and more attraction, and then I realized that I'm missing, I'm thinking so small. And I still do my school here locally and I love it. But I'm thinking small in the sense I can help these people, just answer the question. So I started spending a lot of time answering questions and of course more. And then, I realized, let's do a video on that because so many people ask questions.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: And it kind of snowballed into this, and having 30-some years behind me certainly does help.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. That's amazing.  

Suzie: Just took off.  

Elizabeth: And that's so cool.  

Suzie: And I am grateful, it's so much fun .I'm having a blast doing it.  

Elizabeth: Well, and I think that's... I think that's a very good kind of testament to online education because I know a lot of people in our industry are very hesitant to do online education. And people have a lot of, you know, strong opinions to the online education.  

Suzie: Honestly, Elizabeth, I did not know that until I went to a show in Vegas, a couple years ago. I thought I was getting back into the circuit. I hadn't been into a show for like 20 years. 

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: So, I went into a show and somebody was teaching about drilling and stuff and...or a filing, now they call it the e-file.  

Elizabeth: Right.   Suzie: And so I popped in there and I thought, you know, there's always something to learn. If you walked into a seminar and somebody's teaching, you might pick up one tip. It could be the tip that's like, oh, that really changes that...  

Elizabeth: The little golden nugget.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So, I sat in on the class and I was watching in it. It was really cool to watch this demonstration by this person. And then somebody says, "Oh, would you been in YouTube? Are you having any videos?" And he just looked at him and like, why would I do that? Why would I give my information for free? And I'm like...and some people...when the audience was watching him as well picking up tips and they recognized me. And they kind of a little wave which is really cute because it's his thing, right?  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: And so, I just felt like uncomfortable, like I'll just hide.  

Elizabeth: You're looking all the side and go away, no.  

Suzie: Doing that and giving like that. So, that's where I learned that oh, some people really don't appreciate this. And I respect that, I totally, totally respect that.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. And I think that's everyone's individual choice but I'm glad you're doing it because like you said, your whole goal started with reaching people in your local community. But then you started to see globally, right? Across everywhere. People need help, people have questions.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: And I think that's so amazing to answer those questions and actually give people a helping hand.  

Suzie: Yeah. And I read them all the time and that gives me ideas for what are they having most trouble with. And I think, what I was trying to figure out, why does anybody care what a 53-year-old lady from Victoria thinks about nails? But what I learned was...what I think I'm learning when I went down to the show and I learned from a lot of people that I don't think a lot of people are actually forming and sculpting. A lot of people are just putting tips on.   

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: Which there's nothing wrong with tips if it's built out properly.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: But sometimes the tip allows you not to build out properly.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: Or, you know, think you can't build it properly. So, the illusion is sometimes when you use a tip that it is not as good a nail. And it doesn't have to be not a good a nail, it's just because they're not building it probably but the education is so lacking.

 Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: And that's crucially what I learned. And that's why it sort of now answers my questions is why did my channel blow up so big? Is I just learned because I'm showing them that how nails could and should be if it's built up. And everybody has a potential to do it, they just need the knowledge. And I feel bad for techs who are not building it that way because it's not because they're trying to annoy us as a client. They're not trying to do a bad job, it's the lack of knowledge and education that they just desperately need and they don't have. So, now I'm trying to give that tips and I'm trying to give that information as much as I can on YouTube and other social media things. So, that's what I've learned, that's why it propelled so fast. They just desperately need questions answered because they genuinely want that information.  

Elizabeth: Oh, yeah. Well, and I think the other thing too that I've noticed about your channel that is different is, I see lots of channels and lots of information out there. And I think the other thing that's really great about what you've done is you've created almost like a tranquil environment for people to belong to. And so, you've really created a sense of community with your channel which I think is also really important for people that are trying to disseminate that type of information. It's not just about, here the facts, you know, and writing a little response to people. It's really about creating that sense of belonging, and friendship, and relationship, you know, across the internet, right?  

Suzie: Right.  

Elizabeth: I think that's pretty cool.  

Suzie: It is. And the reason why I do that too and it wasn't set out to like I didn't say, "Okay, this is how you to look and this is how I..." I just look this way, this is have fun, this is it. This is all I got. So I can't pretend to be anything different but when I found that I'm teaching people, I mean, as you know as a nail technician you just sort of, you know, you talk to clients and keep your head down, you just do the best job you can. But being as personable to that person, that's what, that's the interaction that makes your business grow. Yes, they're looking for good work but they also wanna sit down with somebody that they relate to on some kind of level.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: Whether they just like your hair, or they just like the environment, or they just think you're funny, or they really like you, or they just a little like you, it doesn't matter. They just have to find something about you that they like. And that really is 50% of the issue and I always say to my students, "It's 50% how nice you are and you relatable, and 50% how good you are at nails. But you have to be a 100% good at both of those things."  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: And that's what's really important. So, I've met a lot of techs that are really good at what they do but they're not very personable. And it's not to say that they have to be fake about it, they just maybe they're a little bit more introverted. And they'll find clients that don't relate to them, and then I've met some clients that are super friendly and super sweet but they're not really that great. So, we all have that thing. We still hone in on becoming a little bit more conversational. And it's hard to do when you're focusing on trying to make this nail so perfect to try to also have a conversation. You really engage genuinely because it's easy over tea than it is over trying to create. And sometimes when they express, they're getting more tense and you're trying to do the nail.  

You know, so there is a lot of...there's a lot to it. And unless you're a tech you don't really realize that. So I try to create an environment that when they come even in my school, I even set the rules. The first thing I do when I open up the floor, I say, "Hey, everybody." And it's very casual and I said, "Look, I just want to talk about the rules." Number one rule, there really aren't any rules, because I want them to feel relaxed and comfortable. This is not, you know, like sargent. They are here because they want to be. It's not like a school where I'm, you know, hey kids, get in your seat.  

You know, they want to be there. They paid good money to be there, they've taken the time to be there, so they're like all attention. So, I just make it really casual and friendly, and make it open so that when they have to ask a question, just like when you were in school, when you're a kid and like, "Oh my God, I'm gonna ask this question but it sounds so stupid. Is anybody else thinking this question? You know what? Just ask the question and I'm...but it's easier to say that we need to make them feel relaxed so that they feel comfortable, so when they ask that question we don't all turn around I go, "Did she just say that?" You know, we just trying to be comfortable that we can ask any question.  

Elizabeth: Yeah, because that's how it all starts. And I mean, I've been in classes before where people asking very basic questions and there is kind of that element of, "Oh my gosh, like that was a dumb question." It's really not a dumb question because half the time it opens up this whole thing about, oh my God, that little golden nugget of information like you were talking about might come out at that moment.  

Suzie: Yes.  

Elizabeth: And usually if one person has a question, there's at least another person or a handful of people that have the same exact question.  

Suzie: I agree.  

Elizabeth: They're just afraid to ask it.  

Suzie: I agree. And what I say to them, "If you are asking the question it's not...it's not a stupid question. It may fall on me that I haven't taught you that yet."  

Elizabeth: True.  

Suzie: You didn't pick up on what I meant by that because we all learn so different. Some people learn very auditorally, some people learn just very visual, some people are more sense, they need to touch. So, we all absorb information differently, so if that student didn't get that and she had to ask that question, I sort of look at that as a reflection of me. It's like, okay that's pretty basic and I really didn't explain that to her good enough.  

Elizabeth: Yup. That's a good point.  

Suzie: So, I'm going to break that down a little bit better.  

Elizabeth: I love that.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: That's so true. Now, for you, what would you say... so this year and, you know, everyone I've been talking to this year, this year for me has been kind of about, okay like, what are we doing in our industry, right? And you and I actually were both featured in NAILS Magazine's 35 people that have changed the nail industry, which amazing. Congratulations.  

Suzie: You too.  

Elizabeth: I was like, what the heck, I was like who...what are you talking about? So, that was amazing and I...it made me think about like what are we doing in our industry, right? So, you know, by chance, same thing as you. By chance, I started a random podcast. My husband gave me a microphone and was like, here. You're gonna record all your thoughts and feelings. I'm like, our husbands are behind us.  

Suzie: Yeah. They're pushing.  

Elizabeth: So, you know, it's kind of one of those things. I think some things happen by chance and then pretty soon you wind up and you're like, okay, so what am I doing with this? What's my goal? So, what's kind of your goal? What's the mark you want to leave on the industry? What's kind of, you know, where you are right now and what you'd like to achieve for yourself and other nail technicians?  

Suzie: Yeah. And you know, I had to really think about that because honestly, when I set out to do this, if somebody said to me, "Hey, I'm gonna make a big YouTube for nails, you'll have to...I'll get behind the scenes.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So, I haven't signed up for that, not to say that I don't like it or love it in any way. It's just I... it wouldn't...I didn't know anything about it. I had no idea. So here I am in this situation which is so much fun and I'm so grateful. And so I have to, you know, I never it like...because I never thought of this getting this far, I never thought of having just answer that question.  

Elizabeth: Right. No, it's the same, I agree. It's a weird situation to be in.  

Suzie: Yeah. But I would have to say, the mark that I...there's a most important thing that I'm trying to get across is that all the information should be available to everybody.  

Elizabeth: I love that.  

Suzie: Yeah. I think that...and that's what my channel does and the new generation is different. We're doing that with music, and my whole family is musicians. And that's very different. Music is a very different platform. And I don't think the arts and we own to the arts, that's what we do. Artists, we're nail artists. We're not musicians, we're not painters.  

Elizabeth: That's right.  

Suzie: But we are nail artists. This is just a different category of art. And it does fall into that category. So for me, I just wanna be able to that nail technician who's frustrated and she can't get that information that they...has either paid for or they're looking for, I wanna make that easier available, so they can sit at the nail table and their clients can be happier with the end result.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. I think that's...I think that's great. And I agree with you about the availability of information. I feel like a lot of the stuff in our industry is held very secret. People are holding their cards really close to their chests. And I don't know about you but I've never felt that sharing information is somehow giving my competition the upper hand. I always look at it as, you're never gonna be me. Just like artists, right? You can copy my paintings but you're never really gonna be me.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: So I'd rather help people and see where they can take it then, you know, be...no, no, I'm not gonna tell you anything. That's my little trade secret, that is the secret to my success.  

Suzie: Yeah. It's sort of like the mom when she gives up her recipe to the daughter-in-law. Elizabeth: Totally.  

Suzie: And you know what? Maybe it's a generational thing, you're obviously quite a bit younger than I am but in...I would, maybe it's my generational thing so I would safely say that in my generation, they kind of did feel that you hang on to those trade secrets. So, I kind of probably felt that way too. But then I started thinking, "Well, wait a second. I'm like 53. I'm only...how many nails years left have I got in me? If I don't pass this stuff on to somebody, you know, somebody's gonna be able to use it. And I also look at it this way. Even if I was 33, when I build my clientele and I get going, I can only take so many women.  

Elizabeth: Oh, thank you for saying that. That's so true.  

Suzie: We have probably, let's say, 300,000 of downtown Victoria or down to the Island. Half of them are women, 75,000 of those are gonna be the ones that want nails. I can't take 75,000 people.  

Elizabeth: Right. I can take about a max, maybe if I book full-time six days a week, every hour on the hour I could probably take about 150 of those, okay. I'm gonna be greedy, I'm gonna...I'm gonna hoard away 150 clients. So, I have like, where I'm located I have eight or nine salons, nail salons around me. When I had a salon in downtown 20 years ago, there was only a couple. I have eight, and literally I could throw a stone at eight of them. And people say, "Oh, you have a lot of competition in the area." Well, it's not like I'm in my football stadium. I'm only a salon that I have four, or five, or six girls, each girl can only take about a hundred clients. So, we literally move about 400 or 500 women out in a month. Then that salon can do what they're doing and that, we all can share a clientele. So that's sort of my thought behind the teaching is, we can all be happy and do all of the ladies, all of the men who want their nails.  

Elizabeth: All of the ladies.  

Suzie: Yeah, all of them. So, yeah, I just...I can't horde clients like that.  

Elizabeth: I love that.  

Suzie: So, sharing the information. And obviously I share it with my girls and I've just spread it around, well, I guess the world now with the YouTube channel, you just...and I haven't even got started yet. I mean, I just feel like I've been painting nails half the time. But, I mean, I do sculpt a lot too. And sometimes I feel like its maybe too much, but they really want that information and so...  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: We're gonna do it a bit more, we're gonna do some online live stuff training as well soon. So we've got a few things coming out 2018 that will hopefully make a bigger impact on those educational services that so many people need that. They can't fly out to Victoria to meet me, or take a course, or go down to the IBS show. So, that's what I'm trying to reach everybody that I can.  

Elizabeth: I love that. I think that's amazing. And that, a lot of what you said is exactly what I also try to preach so that people realize that, if we all hoard our secrets we get nowhere, right?  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: So, if everyone is successful, the whole industry is gonna blossom and everything's going to evolve and change and improve. And so I really am so excited to hear you say this. And I hope people really take this to heart because it's a very, very important thing to think about which is, you can only fit so many people in your chair and someone in, you know, New York isn't really competing with you. So what does it matter if you share your trade secrets with them. And if we're all successful nail technicians and we're all profitable, it just helps the industry grow, manufacturers can make more products, we can get a new cool of things going. I mean, the whole thing really starts to just be a snowball.  

Suzie: I mean, I think...I mean, it's not unlike music. It's like another music artist? We don't need any more music in the world. I mean, I can listen to your song and then I can listen to your song.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So, and as far as nails go, I can teach somebody everything that I need to know and make them as close to what I think is perfect that I'm trying to do. Nobody is perfect no matter how hard you try. But, they'll develop their own style and they'll be Sally, they'll be Theresa, I bet all those are all old names, I'm old. But, you know, whatever the new names are. Allie and Elizabeth. I just hired two new girls, Allie and Elizabeth, and they're in their 20s. So, I'm gonna steal their names for this. But yeah, I just think that we develop our own style. I think we should even go even further. I think that the trade shows, as you know, some of the numbers are declining on trade shows and that goes across the board on all the trade shows. I think we're missing the boat on not opening the door to people who are thinking about getting in the industry.

  Elizabeth: Yes.  

Suzie: So, they can't purchase any stuff that's professional, if that's what they're trying to protect, but let them get in and get a taste of the industry. Let them get in to talk to people like you and I.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: Let them to get and go up and smell the stuff and see the how the stuff works. Give them a little sample stuff. I mean, they're not gonna make, what are they gonna do, resell that? I mean, we need...and then, we would open the platform for schools to rent some of this space in the trade shows. It would just open up the whole industry to invite these people who want to get in this little, this again, we're trying to protect this trade.  

Elizabeth: Right. Secret society.  

Suzie: Yeah. I mean, we do that, you will limit everything about that.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: Everything will be limited. If you're gonna close the doors to some people, I mean, and let's say, face it, the DIY market is huge.   Elizabeth: Totally.   Suzie: Opened the doors. They could turn the trade show numbers around and it might make it so the booths want to rent there more because they've got that information there. That they can get in there and touch, and see, and feel.  

Elizabeth: I could not agree with you more. I mean, I started out, honestly, my career started out as a DIYer. I learned everything on YouTube, and it wasn't until I went to some rinky-dinky nail school and was like, please license me so I can get into doing this professionally. I can buy all the amazing stuff.  

Suzie: Wow.  

Elizabeth: But I totally agree, I mean, you know, channels on YouTube were things that really, really helped me out to understand the products. And I completely agree with you that if we opened this up a little bit more so that people could get a taste of it before they actually commit to beauty school, I think that is like the most genius thing ever. So I'm glad I have another person who agrees with me on that because going back to the competition conversation, a lot of people are like, my license is what protects me and my job. And I'm thinking, no, it really doesn't. It's who you are, what kind of, you know, clientele you're able to commit to, your conversations, your skill level, where you are, what you're doing. I mean, I just think we'd really need to, again, rethink what we're doing with this industry.  

Suzie: Yeah, and I had a bit of taste of it. Excuse me. In 1985, when I got into it, there was no licensing. And they worked so hard to try to get nail technicians involved in that licensing since they did from the 60s. It was just hairdressers at the time. So, they worked hard to...and so in 1995, the licensing came through. Well, I had my salon by that time, about 10 years. So, I'd gotten to know all the really bad salons and all the bad work because clients would come in crying and they would have all this bad work, we'd have to fix it and for years we did that.  

Elizabeth: Yup.  

Suzie: So, when the licensing came in out, I was like, "Oh, this is so fantastic, we're gonna clean up the industry and I'm gonna...like I'd love to be a part of this. We'll get a 1-800 number, we can phone up and say, is this nail technician any good? Is she had any...?"  

Elizabeth: Right.   

Suzie: ...complaints about her and she, you know, and there will be a little review on us all, and it would just clean up, and I'm so excited. So I went and did my exam. And I got my results and of course I passed the thing, and then I was so excited. And all it did was, I just found out the people down the street that was doing such bad nails they got one too. I was like, oh God, and then I was just mad. Now, we all have our licenses, but what does it really say? Apparently, nothing.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So we're no better off. So 10 years after that, they got rid of it again. So I had been around when we had it, and I've been around when we didn't have it. And honestly, to me when we have it, it looks like it's a false sense of, oh, they're good because we have this thing. But in the 10 years that I had it, not once or in my whole entire career, not once has anybody ever, ever asked, that I do what I do.  

Elizabeth: Oh my gosh, yes. I love this.   

Suzie: I have the frame on the wall and it looks really good.  

Elizabeth: Right. Look at it, look. It's right here.   

Suzie: Here, yeah. No, and you know why? Because their girlfriend didn't say, "Hey, go to the salon. This girl's really good, and don't forget to check her license."  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: Nobody said that. All they go is, "Look, finally I found somebody. Go to her." That's my license.  

Elizabeth: Oh my gosh, you're my new hero, Suzie, seriously. Yay. Oh, this is so rewarding to actually talk to someone who, you know, can see things.  

Suzie: Right, so you're getting...I didn't realize that some people didn't feel that way, I just didn't really talk about it because, I don't know, nobody ever asked.   

Elizabeth: No, I agree. I mean, I never really realized how...I mean, I guess also when you start out...I'm kind of on the, you know, the newer end of my career, right? But I feel like I've gotten exposed to a lot in the last six years. But same thing. I remember having these feelings about like, well, why is this so secretive? Like why is this such a big deal? And then you get your license and you're like, I don't really feel any more prepared than I did before I had it. I'm still out on my own, I'm still having to go research stuff, so I have no idea what any of this stuff is.  

And I think that's where a lot of this comes in. This is where, you know, channels like "Nail Career Education" come in. And people in the industry who are willing to share their information is really so important because whether you have licensing or not, it really comes down to the information that you can get for yourself, the communities that you belong to, and, you know, just sharing things so we can all be successful. And I think that's what people are forgetting when they get on this heated debate about, do you have a license or do you not have a license?   

Suzie: Actually, because of social media, I've been able to see some work that was not licensed. And it's better than some people that have work that I've seen was licensed.  

Elizabeth: That's so true.  

Suzie: So, in our province, at right now it stands as buyer beware, that's what the government says, buyer beware. So, if you're not a good salon, honestly, will you really...just like a bad restaurant, "Oh, I wouldn't go."  

Elizabeth: Yeah. You're gonna go back?   

Suzie: Yeah. Word of mouth. You just say, I wouldn't go there and that restaurant, what happens in a few months later? It just folds. So that's...it's being self regulated, it really is because it all is based on word of mouth. Back in the day, we didn't have social media. It was all just women talking to their friends.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: Which worked just as effectively is what we have today. It was just as effective. I built a clientele very quick, but if you're not good, you won't build that clientele and the salons will close.  

Elizabeth: Yes, your time is limited.  

Suzie: Yeah. I'm kind of on board with the whole, and you know, what? Makes us accountable. Just because I have a license doesn't mean I'm good. I'm not gonna stand behind it because it really doesn't mean anything. It's who you are and what you do.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: That you're license. So to me, that's where it counts.  

Elizabeth: I love that. I love that. That's so, so true. So, what are kind of, you know, what are some of the things that you're working on? Do you want to share anything that's kind of upcoming? Do you want to kind of talk about anything that you can talk about, that might be coming up for people?  

Suzie: Yeah. I'm just...I'm such a...I'm not a secretive person, so, I do have some product coming out for 2018.  

Elizabeth: Oh...  

Suzie: We're just on the verge. We've been doing a lot of research and development on it. And learning about a lot of stuff that...and toning in what I want to see, and what I think makes the job easier, and what I think is good. And so, we're releasing top quality stuff. And I'm not saying other brands aren't. Other, I love working with other brands.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: I'm giving someone else an offer of what I'm gonna offer.  

Elizabeth: That's so exciting. So, are you guys planning on doing that this summer, or this fall, or when do you think you're gonna be ready to launch it?  

Suzie: Probably inside of a month, we're gonna do the first video.

  Elizabeth: Wow.  

Suzie: About the first product. And then...  

Elizabeth: That's so exciting.  

Suzie: ...hopefully it'll snowball and go for the ride.

 Elizabeth: Cool. Well, congrats on that. That's a lot of work to do. I mean, even if you have the passion and the drive to create something, the actual process I know is very involved. So, awesome.

Suzie: Because I was gonna do it sooner but every step along the way, you learn something like, oh, great product but the packaging really sucks. Turn it upside down for week and see how it stands up. Oh, that's definitely happen. So, you know, a packaging, and presentation, and product, of course what's in the jar, and how it dispenses, everything is so important.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So, where I'm...I'm in...I'm 53, so I should be rushing a little faster. But I think, I'm in no rush.  

Elizabeth: No.  

Suzie: But we'll just, it will come when it comes and working everyday on it. But I'm really excited about it, I can't wait to do it.  

Elizabeth: That's awesome.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: I love that.  

Suzie: And again, the online where my husband is the whole brains behind all the production. The only thing I take care of is what we're doing, and maybe a little bit the background, the colors, and what I'm wearing. My makeup was...how can I look better today? Well, that's what I take care of and he does all the production. So what we're doing right now is he's, we're getting ready for online courses.   

Elizabeth: Cool.  

Suzie: But we wanna do them live, and we want to do them with the caliber and the quality that we have...  

Elizabeth: Yup.  

Suzie: ...on the YouTube channel. Which is very difficult to do when it's live, because the stuff that we do now is virtually live but he makes it pretty, you know.  

Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah.  

Suzie: If I drop something, well sometimes he leaves it in. If I sneeze, sometimes he leaves it in. But, you know, that stuff, it's boring.  

Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah.  

Suzie: Which is on stuff...but the music, and the style, and the graphics, those things take time. But we want to get that same quality with the lives. So, we're really working on that, we wanted to be ready with that months ago, but...  

Elizabeth: That's so exciting.  

Suzie: We want to be right, yeah. 

Elizabeth: Oh, yeah.  

Suzie: How to be...you know it's one thing, you're getting a Reddit account. Okay, I'm ready. Okay, we're gonna put it?  

Elizabeth: Where do we start?  

Suzie: How do we get people to know about it?  

Elizabeth: So, you know.  

Suzie: Yeah. And I never really, I think I used YouTube a couple of times before I got actually got on it, just look for a recipe. Oh, how do I make this? That's what I did.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So, it's a whole new world for me.  

Elizabeth: Well, and there's a lot of just experimentation, that's what people don't realize. It's a lot of hit-or-miss. You just put stuff out there and see what happens. You try something different and see what happens. I think a lot of people think we have some kind of like mastermind, you know, we know exactly what to do with our stuff. Celina and I actually talk about this a lot, it's like, no, half of the time something random that we put out is like super popular and we're like, are you kidding? That's like the dumbest video I've ever made. Okay, great.  

Suzie: I honestly that is so true. I did the ombre like a sponge and I've really...I was having an off day and I really didn't do that good of a job. It's one of my biggest videos and I'm like, oh, so much better than that. But, you know, you just got to learn from that. And like I say, I never planned any of this. So, it maybe looks calculated but none of it was. I'm just sort of, you know, going with the flow and trying to deliver what they want, and stay in tune. Reading what they're looking for and, you know, just really trying to relate to them. That's why we come up with the product. I never in a million years, would have ever thought of releasing my own line, let along branding some of it.  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: But they are asking for it. So, it's like, okay. They want it, let's do it.  

Elizabeth: That's awesome.  

Suzie: So we're just sort of going where they pull me.  

Elizabeth: I love that. And also one thing I wanted to ask you that I was thinking about, while we've been talking is, so in our industry we're primarily women. And women are not great about feeling confident, feeling comfortable, putting ourselves out there. What's some of that, you know, what are some of the tips that you would have for harnessing that, that a little self-esteem, and that little bit of, okay, just put it out there? Who cares what I look like, who cares what's going on, do your best and just put it out there for people to see. What would you say to nail techs who are really struggling with that?  

Suzie: Do it for you. I mean, I did this selfishly. I did this because I'm trying to promote my nail school. I didn't do it because, oh my goodness, they need so much information out there. And had I'd known, maybe that would have drawn me but originally I did it for me to promote myself in school. And, you know, maybe it comes to more of our physical as well. Because I was...my husband sometimes will say, "Oh, I could have done better lighting for you when you shot that on Instagram. We could do better lighting, the better angle," and I just went, "Dear, I don't care. If I was a...be a makeup person, okay, then I need to look better because, you know, this is makeup. But I do nails."  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: It's not about my mug, it's not really about this to a certain degree, I mean, but it's not a little bit. It's about the nails.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: So, this is the focus I try to make it on is the about, that's why we gather. You didn't gather...we didn't get together here because...for any other reason other than the nails, that's why we're gathering. So, we wanna stay focused on that topic and it is. And I think, if anybody's wandering and thinking about all the other things that maybe you're not good enough doing, that's really their problem. That's really their issue of a...my niece is a lovely girl. She said to me, and all the girls at the shop one day were saying, "Oh, Sue, if you got like a little injection and like stuff in there, you know, how great you'd look." And I said, "Oh, well that's thanks sweetie." She goes, "You'd just be like...you be so hot." And then like, okay, but...I said, "That's sweet, and honey I appreciate that."  

And they were kind of going at me and stuff. And then funny, don't you wanna do that? Don't you wanna do that? And I said, "Honestly honey, I'm not really concerned that I'm gonna go through all that because so that when you look at me, when you come into work that you'll feel better because auntie's lips are a little bit bigger or she doesn't have the frown in her forehead anymore."  

Elizabeth: Right.  

Suzie: And then she said, "But you just look, you know, you'd look so much better." I said, "I appreciate that but honestly, it doesn't concern me so much about what you think totally when you look at me how I should be presented so to make you feel."  

Elizabeth: Yeah, there's more to it than that.  

Suzie: That's not my goal. So, I don't mean to be blunt, but if you don't like your ugly auntie, don't look at me.  

Elizabeth: I love that because it is one of those challenging things where often times when you're gonna get on camera, you're gonna do something, you feel this pressure to be perfect. And I think that's why a lot of people don't even start in the first place. They just feel like, I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough, I'm not well-spoken enough, I don't know what I'm gonna say. And I think you find that as you go.  

Suzie: You're absolutely right. I'm not any of those things. I have terrible English. I'd never finished the sentence properly. And my background, I mean, I make everything look even because I'm trying to make it look so uncluttered. Because if I had like bookshelves and the cat and the dog running in the back, and my desk was cluttered with all my stuff on it, you wouldn't be able to focus on what the important thing is.  

Elizabeth: That's so true.  

Suzie: And we need to focus on that. And, yeah, I try to make it look organized. It's also about presentation. Don't get me wrong. I'm not gonna, you know, try to look like a slob or my salon be a mess, because presentation to a client is very important. So, I treat it no different than when they come to the YouTube channel, it's much the same as when my client comes to me through that front door. Everything should look clean, it should smell nice. When she comes to the station she was expected, everybody addresses her, we speak kindly, the desk is clean so she can put her coffee there. We just want it to be clear and concise, and look at its best so that we can try to emulate that to make them feel good when they come in.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: We want...so it is somewhat of an illusion because I'm not a neat freak. I'm not...  

Elizabeth: I don't think any nail tech is. We're all hoarders, we love crap everywhere.  

Suzie: My nail station is like, is there a desk under there? Honestly. But I...maybe that's where creative minds are born. But...  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: My nail place where I'm doing on the YouTube channel, that's not where I keep all my stuff. I have a room that I just...that's my art room, right? Where I just create stuff. So here, it's just presented as nice as I can. And of course, you know, I'm gonna do my hair, I'm gonna try to make it look as presentable as possible. But it is what it is, and I'm focusing on the nails. Notice the pictures are all about the nails. I'm not doing this, it's not about me.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. I love that. No, I think that's...I think that's really great and I think that's something I've actually noticed about you. Without even really having a chance to talk to you a lot, it's just...you have this sense of inviting, confident, loving, warm, just let's have fun, let's learn about things, let's just hang out. And I think that is what really drives people to listen to you is that you create that environment not because you have the perfect shade of lipstick on, or you have the perfect hairdo. It's really about what you're bringing to the table. And I think people need to realize that.  

Suzie: Yeah. Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, just let's keep our focus there and focus on what we're really working on. And just be happy with what you're doing and that's what people are attracted to.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: They're attracted to...that you're passionate about your craft. That's what they're attracted to, is that you enjoy and you love your craft. Whether I have green eyes, blue eyes, a black eye, it doesn't really matter. It just matters how much fun we're having to learn. That's what I think about.  

Elizabeth: I think that's amazing. I think that's great advice. So, I don't wanna keep you too long but I do...I just love this, I love everything you have to say, I'm just like digging it. Everything you say I'm like, yay, Suzie, this is amazing. So this will not be the last time we chat because I just think you have such great things to offer up. And I'm so glad we did this. But I wanted, I usually kind of close out every interview with, you know, and you've shared a lot of advice during this podcast. But if there was one thing, you know, today, off the top of your head that you could think of that you would just offer up as personal advice to anyone who's gonna watch this video, what would that be? And it can be anything.  

Suzie: Oh, anything?  

Elizabeth: Can be anything. It can be life, it can be love, it can be nail stuff, it can be whatever you want. What would you say is, you know, your thought right now of what you would tell everyone that's listening?  

Suzie: You know, I would have to...I'm sure after we finish this and I say what I'm gonna say I'm gonna go, "Oh, I shouldn't said this."  

Elizabeth: Of course, you will. But there's gonna be another chance, so it's okay. Don't worry about it.  

Suzie: You know what? I think the most important thing is just, it may be corny, but just do you. Honestly.  

Elizabeth: I love that.  

Suzie: I mean, just be who you are and those who appreciate it will pay attention, and those who don't will walk away. But that's okay. It's okay.  

Elizabeth: I love that.  

Suzie: You just...you just enjoy you and people will gravitate toward you.  

Elizabeth: I think that's amazing. Very good advice, and very simple, and straightforward. I think that's amazing.  

Suzie: Yeah.  

Elizabeth: So, thank you so much. I really, really, really appreciate you doing this with me especially with your busy schedule. I hope you have a blast with Selena, I know you guys are gonna have so much fun.  

Suzie: I look forward to it.  

Elizabeth: And I can't wait to see of what you guys put together.  

Suzie: I'm lazy. No, I get work done but I'm not.   

Elizabeth: Yeah. No, but you just had a huge education week and I wanted to ask you also, so for people that...I'm sure people are already familiar with your YouTube channel, but if they're not, Nail Career Education. You must check it out and subscribe to Suzie's channel. It's amazing. But also, how can they get in touch with you if they are interested in coming to train with you in person? What are some of the ways that people can get in touch with you for future things?  

Suzie: Yeah. They can go to workshop.nailcareer.com, and that'll get all the information that you need about the school, especially if you're long distance or farther away. If you are local, you can call Nail District and that's in Victoria and the girls would give you all the information. And you can email me to [email protected], and I will answer any email if I can if it's not too lengthy, but I try my best to answer all of them. And also, questions on social media, Instagram, Instagram is Nail Career Education. So I just try to, you know, there's so many ways that people get hold of me now, so I'm on everything all the time.  

Elizabeth: Yeah.  

Suzie: But those are the best ways to get ahold. And are you going to the International Beauty Show in June?  

Elizabeth: I am. So, I will be at Premier Orlando. So, I will see you there. We'll have to coordinate for that. And I will also be at IBS Las Vegas, so we'll have to see each other there if we can.  

Suzie: Awesome. Okay. Are you doing some stuff already?  

Elizabeth: I am. So, I'm gonna be doing some interviews with the NTNA folks in Orlando, and working with NAILS Magazine a little bit, and that'll be fun.  

Suzie: Oh, yes. Sounds great.  

Elizabeth: But, I'd love to chat again with you and sit down and, you know, this has been a blast. And I'd really love to hang out with you in person. I think that'll be so great.  

Suzie: Yeah. I'd love to hook up. That'd be so much fun.  

Elizabeth: Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much, Suzie. Have a great weekend and I'll be in touch again since so we can hang out in Orlando.   

Suzie: You bet.  

Elizabeth: All right. Bye.  

Suzie: You too, and bye.

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