In just six months since its official launch, The Creative Academy has graduated hundreds of nail technicians, providing them with enhanced skills and a closer working relationship with Creative Nail Design Systems.
Creative Nail Design Systems had a problem: When potential salon clients called the company headquarters asking where they could get their nails done, the company didn’t always know where to send them. Worse, when the editors of consumer beauty magazines asked for the names of the top nail technicians in a particular area, Creative was also at a loss. Oh, sure, says company president Jan Arnold, they have a nail technician database just like other companies, but she doesn’t want to make a recommendation unless she can guarantee a nail technician knows how to do nails the way Creative says they should be done.
So Arnold and her educators came up with the idea to develop a curriculum that progressed technicians through the fundamentals of nail care to “the most sophisticated techniques of nail enhancement artistry” says Arnold. The result? The Creative Academy, which graduated more than 300 nail technicians between September and December 1995.
The Creative Academy comprises seven classes: Dial 911 Nails, Nail Makeover, Magic Forever French Lessons, and No More Fills are required classes. Natural Nail Fitness, The Polished Nail, and Nail Style ’95 are electives. To be designated a “Master Technician” by Creative, a technician must complete at least four required classes and one elective. For each class a technician takes, she earns a certificate. After completing the four required classes and an elective of her choice, the technician trades her five certificates for a. Masters certificate.
The response from technicians, says Arnold has been tremendous. I am seeing that technicians are energized when they are challenged to achieve a level of higher education. We are seeing fuller classes and greater participation in education,” she says.
Tracy Harrison, owner of Hairlines & Nail Designs in Montrose, Colo., says her salon has been using Creative’s products for 13 years but that she and her three nail technicians are always learning new things. While these aren’t the first of Creative’s classes Harrison has taken, she says they are the best. They put everything into a format and it was much better organized,” she says. “We were able to pinpoint a lot of potential problems we may have. They were very thorough on each area and there was a lot of input from the technicians attending.”
Likewise, Lori Jones, owner of Create-A-Nail in Morrison, Colo., says she learned a lot in the classes. “I really enjoyed the Forever French class because I hadn’t done a French manicure before. I learned a lot of technical information in the classes, such as choosing the right nail shapes.”
The most popular class, reports Arnold, is Dial 911 nail. “We discuss the causes of the most common problems found in the industry. Then we offer preventive solution to the problems … things like lifting, cracking, breaking bubbles, and fungus.” The class is so popular that Arnold is working with the company’s and dermatologist to develop a second part.
When she is issued a Masters Certificate, the nail technician’s name is also entered in to the Masters Program, a database of Master nail technicians whose names are given to the media and consumers calling for a technician referral. “Once someone is a Master, we know she’s not only using our products but our techniques as well, so we can pretty much guarantee her skills,” says Arnold. Master technicians also qualify for co-op advertising support from the company, special product deals, and a special newsletter with tips and technical updates.
Arnold says the curriculum will continue to expand as the company develops new products and programs; existing classes will be updated as well. Currently, Arnold is developing a manicuring class. “I went to about two dozen salons looking for the most wonderful manicure. What I found is many different interpretations of what a manicure is. I’m not sure there is a standard, so we are analyzing what the objectives of the perfect manicure should be, what it should entail, and how to make sure each client gets the ‘perfect manicure’ no matter what her need. We’re going to call it the Creative Manicure,” she confides.
As for the success of the program, Arnold will be happier when there are “tens of thousands” of nail technicians she can refer people to across the country and around the world.