From the Editors

A Postcard from the Smokies

by NAILS Magazine | July 15, 2011 | Bookmark +

I was thrilled to hear from nail tech and event organizer Jill Wright that this year’s Nail Tech Networking Event of the Smokies was bigger and better than ever. Here’s her report from this flourishing, education-packed event:


Virtually doubling in size from the previous year, the fourth annual Nail Tech Networking Event of the Smokies, held on June 26-27 at the River Terrace Resort in Gatlinburg, Tenn., saw 150 attendees enjoy the 23 nail booths and 50+ educators who demo'd cutting-edge techniques, with many debuting new nail products. The cloth zippered goodie bags with the new event logo, along with the Light Elegance logo, were sponsored by Light Elegance owners Jim and Lezlie McConnell. Jim joined us for the first time, along with other company owners such as Scott Haken and Bruce Atwood.


Also joining us for their first time were competition Judge Carla Collier and cover artist Rachel Mouritsen (INM), while Masterworks’ [] Amy Becker joined for her fourth time. She amazed the crowd with her elaborate booth set up, complete with chandelier, and intricate colored gel designs, while Carla and Rachel did incredible, cover-worthy nails on some lucky people. Nail techs were thrilled by the surprise visit from OPI's [] John Hauk, who ventured down to the Smoky Mountains to see what the event was all about, plus get a little R&R. The guest speaker, Janet McCormick, gave a talk about medical pedicures and their place in the salon, plus held a class on that subject the following day.



Amy Becker (standing) and Kira Frazier set up the Masterworks by Amy Becker booth.


Remarkably, we had a nail tech travel all the way from India just to attend the event. Sangeeta flew in to Chicago and had her relatives drive her down to Gatlinburg because she wanted to attend this nails-only event, plus take more hands-on classes the following day (there were over 12 to choose from). We also had a tech drive down from Canada, another from Colorado, and yet another one from Nebraska! Due to the Smoky Mountains being within a day's drive of over 50% of the U.S., plus Gatlinburg being THE resort town of the South, it's customary to see techs driving in from many surrounding states.


Due to the overwhelming success of the event and expected growth for the future, we've outgrown the second location a year ahead of schedule. So for the fifth anniversary event, we're proud to announce that it'll be held in the downtown Gatlinburg Convention Center on June 24-25th.Watch for details on Facebook at "Nail Tech Networking Event of the Smokies" and later this year as we develop our website,



 Smokies event organizer Jill Wright (right) stops to talk to nail tech Sangeeta, who came all the way from India.


Our deepest gratitude goes out to all 43 nail companies who donated products for the goodie bags and door prizes, to all the nail companies who sent educators, to all the educators for giving it their all, to my three most incredible assistants, Carol, Clay, and Todd, to the host hotel for accommodating us, and to the techs for continually showing their support by attending year after year.


— Judy

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