Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Mentor by Proxy

by Maggie Franklin | April 24, 2013

The sister of one of my clients went to nail school. In and of itself, this is neither great nor terrible news to me. I hope she loves doing nails and that it turns out to be as rewarding for her as it has been for me...when she gets around to actually starting her career.


For the time being, she is working through her initial breaking-in period. Still a little intimidated by the challenges and trying to get a handle on the things that she’s not confident about.


Which means that her sister — my aforementioned client of the past several years (and originally referred by the now-nail-tech sister herself!) — is between nail techs: her sister and me.


So I see my regular client about every other fill now. I get to monitor her sister’s progress, give her some pointers to pass along, and do a complete tear-down and overhaul of her nails.


It’s a weird sort of mentor-by-proxy relationship, but it’s good to see nail-tech-sister’s work improving and I’m thrilled that I don’t lose touch with a client who’s been part of my life for so long. I hate it when I get attached to someone and they wander off.


I remember when I was starting out, still in that awkward, terrified phase. It was so hard to screw up the courage to even book an appointment with a new client. I knew it took me too long to do a set of nails, I knew my new sets were not as sleek as I’d have liked (but they weren’t lumpy!), and I worried that strangers wouldn’t be patient with me. But I loved it when a new client just needed a fill.


A fill on a new client meant the primary structure of the nail was already in place. All I had to do was follow the lines and fill in the blanks. It went faster, it took less skill, I didn’t feel like a total noob, and I wasn’t ashamed to ask to get paid for it at the end.


I was reminiscing about those days this morning while I tore down the product that’s still a little too thick at the cuticle and eliminated the fill lines where the new tech hasn’t quite figured out what causes them yet. Aesthetically, her work is getting really good, but she has yet to work out the bugs of product contamination and control and solving the technical minutia that ensure her works survives fill after fill without needing major reconstruction. But we’ve all been there. One day it’ll just click. I only hope it helps her to play follow-the-leader every other fill as much as it helped me when I was in her shoes.


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