Years ago, when she was working as a dental assistant in Virginia, Stephanie Bricker was amazed to find out that dental acrylic was used to make artificial nails. When she moved to California 13 years ago, she was even more amazed at how popular artificial nails were in the Golden State, and yearned to learn how to do them. After completing a manicuring course, Bricker worked as a nail technician for two years before changing salons. It was at her second salon where she met fellow technician Paula Gilmore. The two became fast friends and worked side by side in the salon for four years. Says Bricker, “We were the only nail technicians so we were placed in a very tiny spot in the corner.” In discussing their views on how a salon should be run and craving a new challenge, Bricker and Gilmore realized they shared a common vision and goals. “Since we worked perfectly together and had fun, we knew opening our own salon would work,” says Bricker. So seven years ago, Tips Nail & Image Center was born. At the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based salon, co-owners Bricker and Gilmore now each have a very comfortable workstation to call their own.
Says Bricker, “At our salon, we offer a total look from head to toe.” The upscale salon offers nail care, color consulting, and makeovers. In addition to doing nails, Bricker is also a color consultant and works part-time at the salon as a makeup artist for a manufacturer.
Transforming a model’s nails into photo-shoot nails was a first -time experience for Bricker at her NAILS cover shoot. “It was similar to creating a competition nail,” she says.
And while she’s new to photo shoots, Bricker is well-acquainted with the demands of competing. She competes regularly and has always placed in the top 10. Says Bricker, “I enjoy competing, but it’s very nerve-wracking because of the limited time. Competing makes you challenge yourself: and it’s also a good way to see how others perceive your work.” Comparing a salon nail to a competition nail, says Bricker is like comparing a regular car to a race car. “They are two very different things,” she says.
At the November ‘94 NAILS Magazine Show in Las Vegas, Bricker won the Station Management Award for the cleanest and neatest “manicure table manners.” “I had set out to win that award because keeping my workstation neat and having the products labeled is very important to me. Keeping your work area organized helps you work effectively and efficiently,” she says. “As for competing, I think judges should take everything into consideration - table management, your appearance, the nails, etc.”
Bricker’s future plans include more competitions and work as a manufacturer’s educator. She’d also like to get into salon consulting where she would go into the salon and train the technicians. So be on the lookout for future Station Management award contenders.