Competition. Well, I should warn you: This is my new "thing." I have committed to mastering this competition thing. It's the next portion of my resume that I really want to fill out — and if you know anyone who competes or has competed for any length of time, you've heard all kinds of grumbles and rants about all the various things that are wrong with competitions.
Now, let's be honest. NAILS Magazine does not run the current primary competition circuit in the United States. But I don't blog for the people who do. This creates a sort of conflict of interest for me that brings up its own collection of topics to rant about. And I might get around to that eventually too, but not today.
Today is about why I didn't see YOU at the competitions this weekend.
I have followed the competition game for many years. I've seen our competitions in the U.S. go through some growing pains over the last 17 years. I have also lived for nearly 40 years now, and here's the bad news: Politics are everywhere. Let's face it, you can't even balance a BF and a BFF without dealing with politics, so if that's your biggest complaint about competing, it isn't flying with me. Get over it and get out there!
I came home from the show in Sacramento this weekend with two third-place trophies and a medal for finishing this competition season in the top 10! I am stoked about this because it means that I get to bring home some material token of my efforts that I can display at my station that my clients can relate to. And I decided several months ago that that is who I'm doing it for. My clients.
Many of you have listened to me prattle on in the past and know that possibly my most passionate belief about how to solve some of our industry problems is to bridge that gap between the average consumer and the multi-billion dollar industry behind the average consumer's nail lady. And there is no easier way for you to help with this than to compete. Your clients are going to say, "There are competitions for nails?!" And then you are going to explain. Then they are going think you mean nail art competitions or competitions for designed nails like rock star or bling or whatever you call them where you are. Then you get to explain that although there are such competitions, what is really at the heart of it all is the pink-and-white sculptured nail competition. Which will completely befuddle and confuse your clients.
But ultimately, it makes them aware that there is more to doing nails than showing up at your station every day and making their nails sparkle. It opens up their minds to the fact that we are part of an industry that is so much bigger than what they see every other week. It's that "ah-hah!" moment where the average consumer realizes you are not "just a manicurist" and just like those cooking competition shows they watch on Bravo, there's more to what you do than just their nails.
So I'm pretty stoked to be bringing home these trophies because my clients will be able to see and touch something that represents the effort I put into my career. But I gotta confess a little something here. I didn't actually beat anyone. Competition registration is crap these days, especially in the novice division, which is where I am (and where you stay until you take home a first-place win). So in at least one competition this weekend I was guaranteed to place. And I did a crappy set of nails; it would have been easy to beat me! This trophy could have been yours.