Competition Insider

So this is how it goes....

by NAILS Magazine | December 28, 2009 | Bookmark +

I graduated from manicuring school at age 17 — in 1989, it shocks me to type it! Originally, manicuring was going to pay for my way through college. Good pay, flexible hours, blah, blah, blah. I was going to be an architect. Ha! Not even one class at the local community college. After a short stint mastering the intricacies of hand-tossed pizza (I hated smelling like flour, though it seems I enjoy being covered in white dust), turns out that I’m a creative person and regular job environments don’t appeal to me much. But I needed the money to rent a booth and start doing nails full time. Twenty years later, here I am still doing nails.


Now I am happy to do nails but after a couple years and what would eventually come to be several rounds with an opponent named “Burn out,” I needed something more. I was never really competitive. I did not play sports except for one summer between 8th and 9th grade when I joined the swim team (mostly because I live in the desert and it was so blasted hot). But did I ever attend even one swim meet? No. Even my two sisters are eight and 10 years older than me — no fighting for toys or nail polish or boyfriends.


Way back at a long ago trade show (1991), Trang Nguyen presented me with the idea of competing in a nail competition. My first thought was, “Why would I want to do that?” But after much deliberation, I returned to that same trade show the next year to compete in my very first competition. I surprised myself with a 6th place at WINBA. I competed a few more times over the next few years. But like I said, I’m not competitive and I wasn’t having much fun so I bailed.


I got married, moved into a nice salon, helped my husband start his own company — you know, just got on with my life. But I always had that nagging thought, “What could have been?”


In 2003, I received a brochure in the mail from the Las Vegas Hair and Nail Conference advertising “The NAIL OLYMPICS”(the next year, it was renamed the Nailympics for copyright reasons). For whatever reason, I was compelled to go. I went, I competed, I left dismayed. I went back the following year and returned home with the exact same results. I was ready to walk away again. And then it occurred to me, the Super Bowl champs don’t play football only once a year. Well, DUH!


I regrouped. I joined a competition team. I started competing at every competition that I could get to. I shared hotel rooms. I pulled models from trade show floors. I packed PB&J in my suitcase. Most of all, I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. Then I started to win. Then I won a lot. I won NAILS Magazine’s Top 25 (twice). I won the Nailpro Cup (twice). I won the International Nail Championship. I had reached the top.


I was just about ready to step back, and then the competition arena called me home again…with the invitation to write this blog. I look forward to sharing tips, secrets, ideas, and inspirations for your journey in the world of nail competitions. Consider me your Competition Insider. I hope you’ll join me in this journey.


So have you ever competed? What do you love about it? If you don't compete, why not? Leave me a comment in Feedback.


— Lynn Lammers

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