I was delighted to attend Premiere Philadelphia (a brand new show that ran September 23-24) and Premiere Beauty Classic (October 6-8) for the first time. For me, the excitement wasn’t just about the show itself, it was about the networking opportunities NAILS, Premiere, CND, Footlogix, Beautician’s List, and Light Elegance provided to nail professionals. We hosted an event at each show: In Philadelphia, panelists discussed the concept of net worth, and in Columbus techs gathered for snacks and lively conversation.
I’ve witnessed time and again the value of networking. Nail techs treasure their time with one another because it’s a chance to learn, ask advice, and share experience. I always leave these events feeling like I learned a lot too. I met nail technicians who wanted to get motivated after moving to another state, had other full-time jobs, had success getting clients from Facebook but hadn’t jumped on the Instagram bandwagon yet, wanted to work on set, wanted to grow their social network, were finishing up beauty school, were curious about NTNA, and some who had never been to a tradeshow before. Attendees walk in as strangers, but leave as friends. The last 20 minutes of an event is spent getting group photos, selfies, and Boomerangs. Here are a few of the things I learned from these two events:
• Don’t just seek out a nail mentor, find a social media mentor as well.
• Always speak up. Lavette Cephus approached Lauren Wireman with some technical questions five years ago. Wireman not only answered those questions, but encouraged Cephus to enter NAILS Next Top Nail Artist. The next year, Cephus was named the Season 2 winner.
• Brand yourself with custom clothes. Ashley (@the_manicurestudio) and Lavette (@beaute_asylum) both showed up with their salon names on their apparel.
While networking online has become part of our daily routine, there is something invaluable about showing up, shaking hands, and speaking to others in-person. I would encourage you to attend one of these events next year or form your own in your community. Need some ice breakers? Here are a few of my favorites:
• How long have you done nails?
• What are your clients asking you for/what technique do you wish you knew more about?
• Do you have an Instagram account? If so, what’s your handle?
• Whose work inspires you?
I hope the 80 or so nail professionals who attended these back-to-back events got as much out of them as I did. Whether you attended or not, I urge you to pay it forward and introduce yourself to one of your peers in the industry. You may be the connection they’ve been missing.
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