What started out as a hobby turned into a successful career for nail technician Nicholas Miller, who is now building an impressive portfolio.
Name: Nicholas Miller Age: 23
Salon: A Man’s Touch, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Year Licensed: Florida, 1987; Ohio, 1991
Nail Specialty: Acrylics and Acrylic Fills
Tips for Success: “Be persistent. Be professional. Work toward a specific goal. Create your own path — don’t be afraid to do what no one else has done.”
Nicholas Miller first started working as a nail technician only two years ago, and his handiwork already has made it to the cover of NAILS magazine. “It wasn’t easy,” says Miller. “I tried seven times to he on the cover, and I finally made it.” He has had to learn to execute flawless work in a wide range; of nail services and to promote himself to industry professionals.
“Nails are a career,” Miller says. “I want to succeed in nails the same way I would want to succeed at anything else.” Miller earned his cosmetology license in Florida when he was 17, and then went on to college. While in college, he began doing nails on the side. He then entered the United States Marine Corps law program, intending to go into law, but he opted to change his career from law to nails.
The 23-year-old Miller is currently an independent contractor at The Perfect Touch salon in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He calls his business A Man’s Touch.
Miller says he doesn’t just “do nails” — he creates “nail designs.” “We need a new term for what we do. I have ‘Nail Designer’ on my business cards. I want to glamorize nails. I want to be the inventor of nail styles; some day, other technicians will copy my nails.”
Miller’s personal goals are to open his own salon, work on his portfolio, and network with salon industry professionals. He plans to get his cosmetologist’s license within a year; meanwhile, he has scheduled a professional photographer to shoot samples of his work.
Among his many competition achievements, Miller won first place at the 1998 Midwest Beauty Show and first: place at the 1992 Nailco Show in the acrylic nails division (his specialty). And, at the biggest nail show in Great Britain, the International Nail Classic, Miller took second place in the liquid and powder division this year. Miller says he has won 16 awards in the past 15 months, eight: of them first place.
“I pay my own travel expenses and admission and registration fees, I put whatever I earn back into my career and into promoting myself,” he says.
Miller explains that there are two different ways to do nails: for the client and for competition. “Doing nails for the camera is similar to doing nails for competition, except that you have to make sure that the underside of the nail is polished, that the nails are slightly thinner and more tapered, and that you have created a more natural look,” he says.
For the November cover, Miller used an acrylic overlay of ultrafine, fast-setting clear powder.