In addition to salons, nail techs ply their trade in a range of locations — from military bases to senior homes — targeting different clientele across the world and bringing nail services to new markets.
Nikki Humpherville Clifton comes from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, which is in a secluded location. (The closest Wal-Mart is an hour and a half away.) It’s on the Alaskan border and predominantly a First Nations (Native American) community.
Nikki Humpherville Clifton (third from right) volunteers with the Rupert Chicks organization, which teaches young girls in Alaska how to live a healthy life and cultivate technical skills like cosmetology.
Clifton volunteers for Rupert Chicks, which is a local group for girls ages 17 and under, where they do group activities like listen to speakers who promote a good quality of life, have dinner together, cook and clean, and learn about a healthy balanced diet.
“I went to them and did mini manicures and nail art and spoke about how I was 19 when I first got interested in school. I told them about the steps I took to get funding from a local association called Metis, which helps aid native peoples, and used that to help pay my tuition at esthetician school,” Clifton says.
Giving back to the community has helped spread Clifton’s name to others about her services. This year she even helped two girls meeting Metis requirements get funding for esthetics and nail school, and she says it feels great.
Clifton had a home-based business for the last three years while having children, but since February she has opened her very own nails and esthetics salon. “It’s basically just me working in the shop and it’s small but very comfortable and cute,” she says, “And people know me from the work I’ve done so I’ve kept pretty busy.”
Schèrézaad Panthaki works as a celebrity manicurist in Mumbai, India, servicing many of the country’s top Bollywood actresses for filming and events, as well as a healthy clientele of regular appointments. “There isn’t a specific style of nails here, but clients prefer the gels and acrylic traditional methods and the French tips,” she says. “The nail art designs are quite traditional and Indian when given the option and occasion.”
Schèrézaad Panthaki (left) working on-location with Indian actress Vidya Balan.
India does not have a licensing requirement so nail education is pretty limited, but over the past five years Panthaki says more and more private salons and spa chains are offering basic cosmetology courses and giving out certificates for completion.
Schèrézaad Panthaki takes regular appointments at her home salon in Mumbai, India, and makes a quick pedicure station out of a mobile footbath and comfy bed.
Panthaki received her education while she was living in the United States (in Phoenix). When she moved back to India, she started working at a Hilton hotel located in downtown Mumbai. Soon after, she created a buzz with her work and word of mouth soon took her to freelance jobs throughout the city, doing photo shoots, fashion work, editorial, and more.
Schèrézaad Panthaki has been doing nails for 12 years and enjoys creating subtle nail art designs that are noticeable without being extravagant.
Panthaki handles standing appointments in her home salon and then travels as a mobile tech for her celebrity and fashion work. The challenge, she says, comes during the fashion industry’s off-season when it can be harder to secure appointments. But overall she’s very satisfied with her career and hopes to one day open a salon of her own in India.