I decided to be a nail tech when my former tech caused me physical pain when doing my nails. I began to research everything about nails, which is when I realized she was doing everything wrong. I enrolled in beauty school and earned my diploma. Now I have my own home-based salon. It is very satisfying when a client leaves with beautiful nails. - MARILYN MARTINEZ, Marilyn’s Nails, Manati, Puerto Rico
I knew I loved nails when I was 9 years old. My cousin T.J. and I would play beauty shop. I remember making nails out of wood glue; those nails were lumpy and tan-ish but I rocked them and painted them red. My mom saw in me what I didn’t see; she bought me polish, and I’d paint her nails. And I’d always wear nail art. When I was about 15, I got an acrylic kit, read the directions, and taught myself how to do nails! I played around with all kinds of stuff and did friends’ and family members’ nails for a while. I tried to go to beauty school after high school but it didn’t work out. But 16 years later I got my license and love every minute of it! - SOCORRO “SUKI” LEYVAS, Nailed by Suki, Visalia, Calif.
As a kid, I would put the Dole stickers from grocery store bananas on my nails while my mom and I were shopping and pretend I had nails on. When I was about 12, my mom bought my sister and me press-on nails; we loved them. As a teenager I got my nails done for special events. I watched the nail tech without blinking; it was so interesting. I bought my own stuff and tried to do my friends’ nails. They came out OK but took forever! I thought I just didn’t have what it took, so I didn’t pursue the career. I am now 32 and have been licensed a little over two years and wish I’d done it sooner! - DARLENE HASKINS, Hair Goddess, Red Bluff , Calif.
I realized I wanted to be a nail tech when I would watch my sister get her nails done. Watching her tech create the nails was like “wow”. I wondered how I could create something so beautiful. When I got the chance to go to nail school I knew I was one step away from becoming a nail tech. I also wanted to go into the nail biz because of the creative freedom, to learn tricks of the trade, and for the great clients. I’m going on nine years in the beauty business, and it’s been a great ride and I hope to continue to thrive. - HECTOR TAPIA, JR., Milan Salon & Day Spa, El Paso, Texas
I knew I wanted to be a nail tech during beauty school. My mom is a hairstylist and I figured I would probably do hair. Not! I hated it and it made me nervous. Then, one day we had a class on nails, and I knew it was my calling. When I made a mistake on nails, I could take it off and start over (not the same with hair). I also get to use my creativity. - RITA PADILLA, Rita’s...Not Just Nails, Aurora, Ill.
I actually had no idea I was going to do nails. We were having a holiday get-together and my cousin was complaining about being unable to find a nail tech, so I volunteered to go to school and work for her. Little did I know that it wasn’t just a fluke, it was fate. I found my passion, myself, and my calling! - HOLLY SCHIPPERS, Bussey, Iowa