Traveling isn’t just for vacation. Many nail techs work as manufacturers’ educators and they’re on the road often for their “second” jobs. Here’s a glimpse into the life of a few nail professionals who are always on the go.
Melissa De La Cruz
Senior mentor for Young Nails International and nail tech at Tiffany’s Luxury Medical Spa
Home base: Visalia, Calif.
Travels for work: One week a month; two during beauty show season.
Miles traveled last year: Over 35,000
Reasons for travel: Tradeshows, Roadshow (taught by De La Cruz, Greg Salo, and Tracey Rierson), and editorial work.
Making it work: De La Cruz usually works for three full days in the salon. When traveling, she moves all her clients to work a packed five day schedule to get them done before leaving. When returning from a trip, she goes back to work the next day and manages a full schedule for the week. Her husband Eric actually travels with her quite often.
Travel essentials: Hair products, lip gloss, travel blanket, and pillow.
Staying connected: “Doing the everyday things I do for myself on a regular basis, like exercising, talking to loved ones back home in the morning and evening, and trying to get a good night’s rest.”
Travel tips: “Always have a back-up credit card. Sometimes your accounts freeze because of abnormal charges or using it in a different state or country. I would never want to be caught without access to money.”
Favorite destination: Ireland. “I’ve been there five times and it’s never enough. I love that they speak English, so it’s easy to communicate. It’s the greenest, most beautiful place I’ve been. The Irish people are all so kind. I have awesome memories there.”
Melissa De La Cruz (right) with the ProFiles girls at a beauty expo in Florida.
De La Cruz with Greg Salo (third from left) and students at Relax and Learn in Mexico.
Holly L. Schippers
Education ambassador for CND, nail professional at the Hairport
Home base: Bussey, Iowa
Travels for work: Weekly, with a few exceptions throughout the year.
Miles traveled last year: 25,000-30,000 via car, 19,613 via plane, and 175 via train.
Reasons for travel: Tradeshows, salon visits, guest artist appearances, distributor classes, networking events, editorial shoots, and educational appearances.
Making it work: “My husband is my anchor and makes it possible for me to do a job I love.” On the rare occasion that her education schedule disrupts her salon schedule, her clients skip the appointment or have their nails done by her best friend. Depending on what she is being asked to do, Schippers will book a “smart schedule,” meaning she tries to plan other events in the area while she is there.
Travel tips: “If you do a lot of driving you need a Buff & Go hand portable station. It will make your life so much easier. That has impressed many people when I walk into a sales meeting, store, or hotel situation and there is not a table available. I walk in, pop up the table on my Buff & Go, pull the products out, and have a full salon set up in minutes. It is heavy-duty enough to fly with; however I like to condense when flying so I keep mine for driving only. I use the Wrist-Assist for the comfort of the model, and Soft Landing disposable towels to avoid traveling with dirty towels on long trips. (Towels mold fast in the trunk in the summer.) The last thing that comes to mind is luggage locks; you may not be able to have them on when you fly but they are a great way to lock things up in your hotel room.”
Pack like a pro: Schippers doesn’t pack jeans because of their weight. Instead, she wears her work clothes all day, and therefore doesn’t need a change of clothes. Also, Ramen noodles and instant oatmeal are always in her suitcase because “you never know when you will need free, easy food on the road.”
Favorite destination: The U.K. “I love cooler temperatures, so that is a plus, but I think it is more about knowing so many people there due to Salon Geek. It feels more like going to visit friends than working when I go there.”
Holly Schippers loves visiting the U.K. the most.
Educator with Hand
& Nail Harmony
Home base: Washington D.C.
Travels for work: Seven times a year. She reduced her travel since her daughter has entered her final years of high school.
Reasons for travel: New York Fashion Week, photo shoots, and tradeshows.
Making it work: Before leaving for any trips or events, Makong contacts clients who have pre-booked and negotiates other arrangements. She typically extends hours or adds days to accommodate clients. Her client base is flexible since they know she is not glued to the salon. Weekly standing clients might get complimentary upgrades on their services from traditional enamel to Gelish or Shellac to ensure they are perfectly polished in her absence. When it comes to home life, Makong is lucky enough to have older children (one in high school, one in college) so they are more self-reliant, freeing her up to travel. After returning from a job Makong is back in the salon the same or next day with a three-hour start time delay. Makong has turned down jobs when she is given short notice for travel. “I like to make sure my clients are aware with ample notification. I believe that is the best way to conduct business.”
Travel essentials: Tweezerman Pro Nail Kit, Kindle Fire, and a new notepad.
Staying connected: Makong keeps two cell phones on her at all times. She has a Kindle Fire and laptop nearby for extended stays.
Travel tips: “Make a checklist in advance of all the things you need to take with you. Plan to check a bag (when flying) since we carry sharp tools and liquids. Print your itinerary and have all confirmations on one page. Download any travel apps that will keep you alerted to flight delays and gate changes.”
Pack like a pro: “I pack all of my lightweight clothing in an overnight bag; shoes and larger clothing items are packed with my nail supplies. All valuables I keep in my handbag and close to me at all times.”
Favorite destination: Puerto Rico. Although Makong traveled there for a tradeshow, her evenings were free to enjoy the beauty of a tropical environment.
Makong manicured many hands for Essence Magazine’s 24/7 campaign for Ginger & Liz Polish line in New York City.
Makong (left) participatied in the NailPros4Obama Campaign inside Maisie Dunbar Spa Lounge.
Indigo Makong (right) poses backstage at New York Fashion Week with China Glaze.
Team CND education ambassador
Home base: Killer Queen salon, Palmer, Alaska
Travels for work: 6-12 times a year.
Miles traveled last year: 40,000 (enough for her to make MVP with her airline).
Reasons for travel: Editorial photo shoots, New York Fashion Week, tradeshows, classes, and meetings at CND’s headquarters in Vista, Calif.
Making it work: Being an appointment-only nail tech helps her schedule clients around her travel schedule. Help and support come from her family and friends, especially her husband. Reynosa-Davis has two children, but the youngest (7 years old) only gripes when trips get extra long (Fashion Week can have her away from home for a week and a half). She usually gets a month’s notice before traveling to an event, which helps her plan. Reynosa-Davis takes one day off before traveling and one or two days off after getting home.
Travel essentials: Airborne, hand sanitizer, Visine, lint roller, travel packets of laundry soap, snacks (bags of almonds, granola, etc.), an empty water bottle, an emergency makeup kit pre-packed, a sewing kit, noise-blocking headphones, laptop, iPad, cell phone, back-up charger, and a checklist of needs for the trip. “Always wear comfy clothing that’s still cute enough to head straight to work after landing, just in case.”
Staying connected: Everything is on Reynosa-Davis’s iPhone, including Facetime, which she uses to chat with her family while she’s away. She even backs it up regularly for extra assurance.
Travel tips: “Have a sense of humor. Be ready for anything. Always have the number of the airline handy.” The most important tip? “Be nice to airport employees.”
Pack like a pro: “I always have a demo kit with all of my CND products and I try to pack only one other piece of luggage for my clothing and personal items. I pack enough clothing for the amount of days I will be gone, plus two extra so that I have options (something dressy is always good to have in case of impromptu dinner plans).”
Favorite destination: New York. “The city has its own personality and energy and can inspire you creatively for the entire year.”
CND education ambassador Heather Reynosa-Davis does backstage manis and pedis at New York Fashion Week.
CND education ambassador Heather Reynosa-Davis does backstage manis and pedis at New York Fashion Week.
Dean of education and midwest regional education manager for Hand & Nail Harmony
Home base: Nail Sensation, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Travels for work: 2-3 times a month.
Miles traveled last year: 42,000
Reasons for travel: Distributor launches, sales meetings, demo days, and classes. When it comes to tradeshows, Parrish is educating in the booth and in classrooms. Educator trainings, photo shoots, and product testing are additional reasons for travel.
Making it work: Parrish consults with her husband about departure and arrival times because she enjoys having him pick her up and take her to the airport. When it comes to clients, Parrish usually schedules them far enough in advance that they can be shifted around. “I try to be as accommodating as possible so they are not inconvenienced. I usually work Tuesday through Saturday but I work Sunday or Monday if needed when I have been traveling.”
Travel essentials: iPhone, laptop, iPad, travel clock with white noise settings, and facial cleanser from Lush.
Favorite destinations: Japan and Italy. “Japan because the nail industry there is so amazing and so are the people. Italy because of the history and beauty of the country. I could move to Italy in a heartbeat, but my husband won’t move.”
MaeLing Parrish (fifth from left) and company working at a tradeshow in Austin, Texas take time to pose for the camera.
Parrish is always excited to be part of Inernational Harmony Educator Training in Brea, Calif.
The Hand & Nail Harmony booth is all smiles at the Las Vegas show in 2012.
Lead account executive/show lead for OPI Products Inc. Here she is at ISSE Long Beach 2013 with OPI director of sales Herman Paez.
Home Base: Hazelton, Pa.
Travels for work: 3-5 days a week, sometimes more.
Miles traveled last year: 33,000 by car and 10,000 by air.
Reasons for travel: Education, tradeshows, and P.R. events.
Making it work: Meyers doesn’t have a salon to worry about, but she does have a 6-year-old who takes a lot of juggling to plan for his school and after-school activities. “A person who is going to take on a job like this must have a solid support structure at home because when things go wrong and you can’t be there, at least you know you have the right people in the right places to handle things until you get back.” She usually returns right back to work after a trip. “I don’t like a lot of down time,” she explains. While on the road Meyers does enjoy a good book, “It’s a great distraction and it broadens your vocabulary.”
Travel essentials: Hair ties, healthy food (raw almonds, fruit, etc.), and good mascara.
Staying connected: Time zones tend to make things challenging for Meyers, so she relies on social media sites like Facebook or old-fashioned phone calls.
Travel tips: “Only pack what you need. Too many people over pack and after years of dragging heavy suitcases around, your back pays the price.”
Pack like a pro: Meyers has a strict two pairs of shoes limit. “Shoes are heavy and can limit what else you can pack due to weight limits on baggage.”
Favorite destination: New York. “Anything you want or need is there. It’s full of energy and I love its cool trendy vibe.”
Renee Meyers got to polish Betsey Johnson’s nails.