My name is Mallerie Hendrix and I love the arts. Anything that allows you to work with your hands and directly make people happy immediately gets my attention — be it music, fashion, or beauty. I got my nails done for the first time, for my senior trip to California. I knew a little bit about nail technology because of girls at school but I had never seen it done in person. My best friend at the time hyped me up to try something new. I got a full set with a white zebra airbrush design.
At the nail salon, I saw all the colors and services offered and I was amazed by all of the things that could be done to the hands and feet. Paraffin wax! Gel nails! Acrylic! Spa pedicures! I immediately thought, “I can do this!” Give people a little slice of heaven while working with my hands and building relationships! I watched with intensity the tools the tech used — the buffer, the file, the clippers, the acrylic powder, liquid and brush (I loved that part), and the drill (Eeek! What in God’s name was that for?!). This was 2003, and I still remember this day vividly. That’s because my nail tech cut me with that drill trying to get me on my way. I had to show off my new and shiny full set with a big, ugly adhesive bandage on the middle finger.
I thought about the nail industry on and off over the next few years. I got past my fear and continued getting full sets and spa pedicures (sparingly — they never became a routine due to my horror story). I went to school for fashion design right after I graduated but realized I hated sewing. Frustrated, I took a break and joined the workforce. Three years later I found myself working in, of all things, the finance industry sitting in front of computers all day.
I found myself stopping in the hand and foot care section of beauty supply stores just to see what was available for nails. I was giving my boyfriend spa pedicures and manicures. (Shhhhhh! He’s a man’s man but he is on his feet a lot so I make sure they are taken care of.) I had a daughter in January 2010 and I pay much attention to her hands and feet when clipping her nails or rubbing her down before bedtime. It finally came back to me how much I was interested in doing this and decided to really look into it.
My boyfriend supported me 100% and was very willing to take on the load for the short time I will be out of the workforce. We made an agreement that if I don’t take off as well as needed when I enter the nail industry, then I will return to the finance industry until it does. (I’m going to work my butt off at this so I will not have to.) As soon as that was settled, everything went into high gear.
Being a native of Arizona, often referred to as the “spa capital of the world”, you’d think finding a nail technician program would be easy. Boy was I wrong! Out of all the beauty colleges here in Arizona, only two offer a nail technology program, all of the others you must do the whole cosmetology program and I’ve heard from some friends who completed those programs that you only learn the basics when it comes to nails
In the state of Arizona, the nail technician certification courses are required to last 600 hours but students are eligible to sit for the licensing exam once 500 hours have been achieved. What influenced my decision was accreditation, scheduling, and the bang received for my buck. Maricopa Beauty College’s nail technician program lasts approximately four months while the other school was approximately seven months. Also Maricopa Beauty College is accredited, which I think is important because schools that are seem to hold themselves to higher standards. So I am officially enrolled at Maricopa Beauty College in Avondale, Arizona.
I start April 5 (tomorrow!) and my last day at my current job at a well-known mutual fund company was April 1. I can hardly contain my excitement. My heart is screaming for something new, something that demands creativity, and person-to-person interaction.
So here I am, excited, but scared. I’m one of the few people in this world who can actually say that I am doing what I want career-wise. I’m hoping to one day open my own nail spa. (My other goals are to have a credit union to help people get financially on track and a record label because music is my other love.) I hope to one day have all three of these businesses in one building. (I dream big!). So world, be ready to see the nail technician student life through my big brown eyes! Hopefully you are as excited as I am!
— Mallerie Hendrix