With a growing number of men opting to pay bills and forge careers from behind a nail table, NAILS takes a look at some male techs to find out what they think of their chosen profession and how they’re making it in a female-dominated industry.
Thomas Huynh, Regal Nails, Fargo, N.D. • Years doing nails: 13 • Specialty: gel polish
Huynh poses with the catch of his life on the banks of the Red River near Fargo, N.D.
Born and raised on a cattle farm in Charlotte, Ark., Huynh first started doing nails to help pay his bills while he attended Moorehead State University in Minnesota. His father had been a nail tech for some time back home in Arkansas, which is why Huynh first reasoned he could make some money in the trade. He figured after his graduation his nail career would likely end. But the money was so nice he kept at it, and he now owns five salons in Fargo, N.D. He still regularly services clients and is an avid educator for Young Nails.
The man who invented the glitter press technique is also an avid outdoorsman. When he’s not doing nails and running his salons he’s taking hunting and fishing trips back in his native Arkansas. His old friends have long since accepted his profession. He does well for himself and his employees. And he has also become quite adept at nail art.
“It was a mistake, for real,” says Huynh of his discovery of the glitter press technique. He was doing a gel set on a client using Young Nails’ ManiQ color soak-off gels. The client had requested glitter, but Huynh was in a zone and forgot to apply the glitter before giving the client her final cure.
The client removed her hand, with Huynh staring blankly at the glitter-less tacky layer. He apologized profusely and said he would apply glitter to her next time, but that because he had already cured there’d be no way to put glitter on — and then it hit him.
“What if I just push the glitter into the tacky layer?” He applied the glitter to the tacky layer lightly with a brush, and then smashed it flat with his finger. A final top coat and cure, and the holographic glitter press effect was born.
“I thought for sure it would chip, so I offered the client a free fix and said for her to come in as soon as needed. But I didn’t hear from her for three weeks, and she said it was perfect. We tried it on the girls at work, and then started offering it to clients and it’s been a huge success ever since.”
Huynh surrounded by his salon staff
Chris Mans, Jeweled Nails, Irvine, Calif. • Years doing nails: 4 • Specialty: Bio Sculpture gels
Chris Mans at Edward James Salon where he rents a booth under his business name Jeweled Nails.
Mans started his career four years ago when he became part of the marketing team for Bio Sculpture Gel USA. He was still a college student at the time with a passion for graphic design. But after working with gels during the boot camp that’s required for all Bio Sculpture employees, Mans’ creativity piqued and he dove headfirst into nails. He quickly earned his license and now works trade shows at the Bio Sculpture booth and is helping to further develop the company’s education program.
“Go big or go home” is a mantra Mans has been repeating since way before his nail career ever started, and now as his momentum gains he’s determined to get the most out of everything the nail industry has to offer. He has become an integral member to Bio Sculpture’s education program, having recently developed the Bio Sculpture USA nail art course and taught the entire group of Bio Sculpture USA educators at the annual seminar.
And by the time this article is printed, he will have just returned from a whirlwind schedule that started in Seoul, Korea to compete in the Global Nail Cup — an international competition that attracts thousands of competitors each year — and then flying straight to Japan to give a nail art seminar at the Empire NY Nail Academy of Tokyo.
He plans to travel to several trade shows in 2012 to give demos, compete, and educate. “I have several photo shoots booked this summer and will turn my attention to the entertainment industry to continue growing and challenging myself. I am launching my website, www.jewelednails.net, which will not only provide basic information and details for making appointments, but also become a go-to informative site with everything from art galleries, client FYIs, professional troubleshooting, nail industry updates, nail fashion, and of course a blog!”
One of the more elaborate 3-D pieces Mans created using gel, rhinestones, and charms.