Jill Wright is the Event Coordinator for the Nail Tech Event of the Smokies, a yearly nails-only show held in July at the Gatlinburg, TN Convention Center.  The 2022 show is fast approaching. It will be held July 8-11. See more details below.


PICTURED: JILL WRIGHT, a nail industry veteran and nail professional

In addition to organizing this regional event, Wright is also a working nail professional who mentors nail techs, and works to uplift the industry by engaging in conversation with the nail community.

Wright recently asked a question to her Facebook friends, many of them nail pros, and the responses were so varied and valuable that we asked permission to share them.  They range from advice on perfecting technique, to the importance of understanding the business-side of things, and also how-to be easier on yourself to promote a sustainable and satisfying career.

The Question: "What is one piece of advice you'd give to a newly-licensed nail tech?"

We'll start the answers with this piece of gold from Wright:

“I’ll add my best advice: My mentor once told me that "what is allowed will continue," so train your clients right from the beginning concerning how you expect them to behave if they wish to remain your clients. This also goes for friends and extended family members who expect freebies once you are out of the practicing phase on your first salon job. Only your Mom and Dad get free services (or whoever else raised you and/or paid your way through beauty school). Everyone else has to pay because nobody works their job without getting a paycheck, plus your products cost you money, too. It's MUCH, MUCH easier to train everyone right from the beginning as opposed to trying to correct their problematic behavior (which you allowed or encouraged) later on in your career. Setting healthy boundaries is normal and those who do not respect your boundaries are just users. Ultimately nobody can walk all over you unless you lay down like a rug and let them.”--Jill Wright

Best Pieces of Advice

Kris Kandy - “Don’t feel like you are required to offer all nail services. Do what you enjoy, your client type will find you.”

Elizaveta Bekker - “Don't be upset about bad comments or reviews, focus on it how to fix it and try next time do better - we all were there.”

April Grenti - “Take care of your body and hands. Put them first. I had to end my career after nine short years, after wanting it for many many years, because I got sick! It's an amazing career-- take care of it!”

Nicole Elena Heward - “Fake it till you make it! Don't let your newbie-ness show. Act like you have been doing it for years and don't let your fears of starting off show to your clients. Let confidence show through."

Bernadette Fournier - “Be patient, don’t think you know it all, let seasoned nail technicians who want to help you do it! Trust me, we want you to succeed! There might be a few that don’t but ignore them. There’s more products and techniques than you learned in school.”

Sara Ann Naaf - “Learn the business side of things!!! The expenses, tax/ employment laws, how to do your pricing based on your expenses/ overhead, how to set policies for clients, etc. That will make or break you in a hurry!”

Donna Muszynski - “Know the difference in employment, booth rental, and independent contractor -- three different statuses that do not crossover.”

Erin Snyder Dixon - “Don't attempt to base your prices on others' prices. When you do that you are blindly accepting that they have a great business plan. You have different overhead, etc. You do you and run your business on your terms. I was the most expensive salon in my area and booked solid. Get rid of any guilt for charging what you need and what you are worth!”

Tammy Campbell-Hubbard - “Set your boundaries, or you will work yourself into burn out, and be taken advantage of.”

Katie Swartz - “They are not your friends! At the end of the day it’s business.”

Shana Hill - “Do your best not to take anything too personally (tech of 32 years).”

LaKisha Dillingham - “Continue to learn and resist the urge to buy more than what you need. Save, save, save.”

Chesley Paige Phillips - “Show up. On time. Ready to work.”

Kim Hale-Tucker - “I always tell them to do their own nails. If they can perfect the non-dominant hand they can do it!”

Grace West Pruett - “Be kind to yourself and have self respect. It is ok to let a client go if they mistreat you.”

Laura Sartori-Quinn - “Watch videos on each major reputable company's website. Go to a nail event.”

Ashley Wilburn - “Do not be scared to say no. Set yourself a limit of how many hours you want to work and do not exceed them. You will get burned out and lose your love for the art.”

Jessica Dow - “Start out on the right foot with good lighting, ergonomic desk/chair and get massages/stretch! Bring the client's hand to you- don’t bend and contort then end up with back problems/carpal tunnel. Have them relax and say it 1,000 times til they get it- do NOT just suffer in silence! Working with tense hands will kill your body.”

Brandy Sperle - “Give yourself a little time in between clients and at least 30 min lunch!!! I worked for 26 years, back to back, no lunch, and when Covid hit and we come back to work I did this and what a game changer!”

Madison Jones - “It’s ok to be bad at it, you’re gonna be bad at until you practice more. Your nails might be bulky, crooked, and lumpy, and you’re gonna think they’re beautiful. Best believe they are, but wait until you get better, they’re gonna go from beautiful to gorgeous! Ask my Mom!"

 Wendy Carlson - “Start a budget and savings plan."

Illian Enid Caceres-Jimenez - “Not everyone is going to be your client."

Dana Wilson Knight - “Take only cash or check! Preferably cash! Just be sure and let your client know before she comes to the appointment!!! I have been doing this for 19 years. Never had a bad check. I don’t like paying fees that are not necessary. I don’t like paying for anything uncalled for.”

Melyssa Ryan - “Work with a few franchises/ salons that provide for you until you perfect your craft and timing.”

Erin Casper-Vars - “Never stop learning and surround yourself with an amazing nail family to be there for help and support.”

Diana Stern Garrity - “Take continuing education very serious whether your state requires it or not. Don’t ever stop educating yourself in this field. Do one better by becoming an educator for a big nail company-- OPI, CND, Light Elegance, LCN, etc! The education and information that you learn is priceless and will stay with you for your entire career."

About The Nail Tech Event of the Smokies

A yearly nails-only show held in July at the Gatlinburg, TN Convention Center. The 2022 show weekend is Fri/Sat/Mon (July 8/9/11th) for the optional hands-on Workshops (cost separate from show ticket and registration required) and the one day show is on Sunday, July 10th.

Tickets, Workshop registration and Host Hotels with nail tech group rates in the Great Smoky Mountains can be found at www.NailTechEvent.com.

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