One of the many casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the cessation of in‐person nail training classes. For the past 18 months or so I, as well as the rest of the world, have been taking advantage of the literally thousands of excellent nail-related videos available on the Internet. And while there are many talented and generous nail experts selflessly giving of their time to produce fabulous nail videos, there is definitely something different about in‐person training.
The dynamics of being surrounded by like‐minded people, the ability to ask questions and even the chance to observe an expert encounter a challenge and see in real time how they overcome it—it’s true that not every nail service goes perfectly, even for the experts—are all very significant differences. But perhaps, even more important, in‐person events afford us the opportunity to meet people and forge relationships in ways that simply are not possible virtually.
My Day at KUPA
A current sign that life may be returning to “normal” (whatever that means) is the gradual reappearance of in‐person training. On September 27, 2021, I was fortunate enough to attend the first in a very long time in‐person training classes at the KUPA Training Center in Anaheim, California. Founded in 1984 by Kito Ochiand and Robert Upshaw—KUPA is an acronym combining the names Kito, Upshaw and Associates—the company first sold electric files for use in the nail industry. KUPA has since branched out to offer many other nail related products, including acrylic systems, UV/LED lamps and, more recently, builder gel. KUPA provides in‐house, in‐person training as well as how-to educational videos. Knowing the company's reputation, I was excited to attend my first in‐person nail technique class in a long time, and my first one with KUPA. And the price was right—free!
The demonstration I attended focused on builder gel, dip powder, acrylic application, and various nail art enhancement techniques, all presented by experienced KUPA Education Team members Akiko Russell (@nailartbyakiko), Jess Alexander (@omg_jess), and Mia Do (@nails_by_mamamia) and led by Director of Education Ann Chang (@annchang_).
. Ann is also the creative director of the popular Nail Tips Show. In addition to teaching, the KUPA instructors see clients in salons and as mobile techs. Lucky clients!
There were 16 nail tech attendees at the event, and we each received a complimentary gift bag of KUPA products. Throughout the day we had refreshments, along with raffles that awarded valuable prizes of KUPA products. (Unfortunately, yours truly was not one of the lucky raffle winners.)
Unexpected Plus: I Was a Model!
I was fortunate to be chosen as the hand model for Ann Chang’s demonstration of KUPA’s new builder gel, ENRICHRX. Seating was in two rows facing the demonstration work area; with the back row elevated so that all attendees had an unobstructed view of the instructor. In addition, the demonstration was televised onto a large, overhead, high‐definition screen. My view was of course enhanced by having an up‐close and arms‐length position. As I enjoyed my privileged position as Ann’s model, I kept the mantra running silently through my head that all nail techs are familiar with: “Relax your hand!” Of special interest to me as a newly licensed nail tech was the thorough execution of the prep work prior to the application of the product. Ann explained the procedures and benefits of the individual steps. When she finished her work, I stated that the enhanced nail was now my favorite of all ten nails. Alas, I was able to admire my fresh overlay only for a brief moment, because the final phase of the training session was a demonstration of the removal of the overlay using KUPA's signature product, an electric file.
Dip Powder Demo and Nail Artwork
Another event was the demonstration by Jess Alexander of KUPA’s DipFinity dip powder products. Jess demonstrated how to use dip powder to create a solid color nail and a multi‐colored nail. I was especially interested in this demonstration, since it was my first opportunity to observe a dip powder application.
Mia Do demonstrated various nail art styles, tip application, and shaping techniques. She showed how to perform acrylic encapsulation, French ombre, and a glitter ombre using KUPA products. In a subsequent segment, Mia demonstrated how to create extensions with acrylic and forms. Akiko Russell showcased nail artwork techniques using KUPA’s Artfinity Color Acrylic with 3D and demonstrated how to create stunning results with 3D, encapsulation, and marble designs.
Everyone had a good time learning, and I sensed the KUPA representatives were as happy as the attendees about the resumption of in‐person training.
Book An In-Person Class!
I recommend that all nail techs take advantage of in‐person training opportunities with KUPA. And as a special bonus, KUPA headquarters is located just ten minutes from Disneyland!
Tip: If you want to be selected as a hand model at an in‐person nail demonstration, be sure to show up with bare nails. It also helps to smile at the instructor a lot.
I'm on to my next adventure, looking forward to attending Nail Camp for four days in late October. Titled “Post Prohibition,” this fall's camp will take place on Vashon Island in Washington State. I’ll be certain to report on my camp activities after I’ve returned and sufficiently recovered!
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