Q&A

Reader to Reader: When it comes to other techs duplicating your nail art, is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Q.

When it comes to other techs duplicating your nail art designs, is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? (And where do you personally draw the line?)

A.

I look at other techs’ nail art for inspiration. There are designs that I have loved and replicated. I also use those designs to build my own ideas. If another tech wants to use my designs on her client, I would have no issue because we are all here to learn and be the best nail techs we can be — and sometimes we need a little help to do that. I hope my nail art will spark new ideas for anyone who needs it.
Melissa Schumann
Bella Hands, Milwaukie, Ore.

I always make something I replicate my own in some form, and I always give credit to the original or at least state that it was copied. When my artwork is duplicated it makes me feel honored that someone liked my design that much! I don’t care one way or another if they give me credit, but it is nice when credit is given. However, taking or changing watermarks, recopying the photo onto Facebook or other online venues, or saying “I did this” when you did not is not something I approve of.
Kathie Kirkpatrick
The Vanity Shop, Crockett, Texas

I look at a lot of nail pictures online (mostly via Facebook) for inspiration. Normally I tweak a design to make it more my style. We are all so busy making people’s hands beautiful that it’s hard to think up new things all the time, so this helps me. I have heard of people using others’ work and passing it off as their own and that’s wrong. I have a lot of nail friends, and some share their how-tos and don’t mind others duplicating.
Regina Contreras
Premier Nails, Fremont, Ohio

I think art being someone’s inspiration is flattering. It will never be the same. We all have our own style and flair no matter what we do. However, the use of someone else’s pictures as your own is not only disrespectful but it’s a disservice to you. When a client asks for that and you can’t duplicate it, then what?
Shawn Wilkins
Pampered Soles, Chicago

I had a friend use one of my photos (from a photo shoot I did) for her business card. I was caught off guard and surprised when I saw it but flattered at the same time.
Vicki Peters
Brea, Calif.

I love it when I inspire others with my art and am flattered when someone copies it. However, it is not OK to use one of my photos to promote your business. Others should always use photos of their own work for that. Also, it’s not OK to remove a watermark from someone else’s photo for your own use. That said, I have had many clients show me photos and ask if I can match them with my own twist and that I will do.
Danielle Gauthier
Fingernails, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I actually like seeing what different twists other nail artists put on my designs. If my work inspires you, then by all means replicate it and add your flavor and creativity to it.
Yamira Arroyo
Arimay’s Salon and Spa, Orlando, Fla.

I am not a very artsy or crafty person when it comes to nail art. I am happy that other techs have shared their talents, and some have even shared their tricks with me. I have been able to increase my menu and have grown over the years to be able to embrace the art world. I am fine with others copying my designs. However, I would never post or display someone else’s work as my own. It really only comes to bite you in the end.
Ruth Windsor
Angelic Beauty Works, Dearborn Heights, Mich.

Illustration by Yuiko Sugino

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