Hi, Traci Dungan here. I’ve been a nail tech and salon owner for 15 years with my sister and best friend, Ami McClure, who is also a big competitor. Truthfully, she’s the one who inspired me to add nail competitions to my “to-do” list.
We started doing nails in beautiful southwest Florida in Cape Coral in the early ‘90s. At that time, we both had graduated from high school and I had just started at the local community college.
After many late night talks about opening our own salon we decided to do it. We started in a teeny space just big enough for her and me, but now we have grown to a 3,000-square-foot hair, nail, and skin salon with over 30 employees.
Along the way we also started franchising and now we have four other ProFiles locations in southwest Florida. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it.
As most over-worked nail techs will tell you, becoming fully booked is quite a feat. You work, and work, and work...and you give away services, sell yourself, and steadily build a solid clientele.
You squeeze people in…
you stay late….
You even extend your hours.
And after years of great relationships with great clients — errrrt! You get burnt out.
So what I found is that getting out from “behind the desk” and into the trade shows and eventually the nail competitions was a huge help to keep me excited about nails.
Competing is a great outlet for my brain, and my busy nail tech hands.
Years later, we have encouraged all of our girls who work at our salons to compete. We help raise money as a team even, and I’m so proud of them all.
Not only do I get a huge challenge from competing, I also get to travel all over our great country. I’ve met fantastic nail techs from all over the U.S. and even the world, and I will truly call them my friends forever.
The one thing I’ve learned most from competing is that while yes winning is the ultimate goal, I absolutely love to just be part of it. When you’re in that arena, whether it be a small Nailpro show, or the huge showing at the Vegas IBS show, it still feels cool as hell to be behind the lines with the other competitors.
People come by the competitions and watch, and in my head I’m saying, “Yeaahhhh that’s right — I’m a competitor.”
— Traci Dungan