Here’s a photo of my most recent practice set.
Here are nails by top international competitor Lynn Lammers.
So, I'll be headed to the IBS Las Vegas show in just a few weeks. I'm excited because I haven't had a chance to attend a BIG show for a few years now. So even though it is sure to be 382 degrees (Fahrenheit) on the weekend of June 13, I'm counting down the days.
This year I am competing again for the first time in seven years.
Mind you, I do some work I am proud of, but when it comes to competition nails I am in way over my head. I found that out the hard way back in 2002 and now, seven years later, I have joined a competition team and am trying my darnedest to learn from one of the best. And being reminded on a daily basis just how far I have to go before I can realistically expect to make space for any trophies.
Normally, I am easily frustrated and very good at throwing up my hands and running off in tears to hide under the covers. This is no different, but I am working so hard at keeping that proverbial stiff upper lip and hanging in there. Maybe in another seven years, if I don't "retire" (yeah, that's it, I retired from competition!) again, I might at least qualify for the "veteran" division.
Thing is, I'm really surprised by how little encouragement and support I'm getting. The coworkers keep watching me sitting at my desk during my downtime, making practice nail after practice nail on flat forms. I have the hardest time keeping the air bubbles out of my pink, and getting a clean swipe on the smile lines … and let's not even discuss sculpting moons! But they watch me and they wrinkle up their brows and ask me "what on earth are you doing now?" Well, the coworkers I see every day are the stylists and, honestly, I expect them to be perplexed by me. But what about my clients?
Shouldn't my clients be interested? Shouldn't they at least be supportive?
I have met with two reactions within my clientele: one type of client hears that I am going to be competing and instantly decrees that I will win everything. It is of no use trying to make them understand why doing nails for a competition is entirely different from doing nails on them every two weeks. And then there are the ones who change the subject immediately, or roll their eyes, or make that irritated sighing noise, or just flat out say, "Oh great, so you're going to raise your prices again if you win?"
Talk about insulting! Someday I'm going to win the lottery and have the financial backing so that when someone acts like that I can just say, "No. I'm just going to ask you to find another nail lady NOW. Buh-bye." Until then I clench my jaw and halfway smile and tell them that I raise my prices when it's time to raise them.
Maybe I ought to do a practice set of competition style nails on every single one of my clients. I did my first practice set on the person who is going to be my model for the show and it was a big eye-opener for her. She walked away with a much better appreciation for why I am so anxious about this. Hopefully, after soaking off her nails and doing a new set every week for the next — OMG! I only have five weeks! — five weeks, she'll still be willing to be my model and I'll be feeling at least more relaxed, if not more confident.