Below is a transcribed version of The Nail Hub Podcast, Episode 85: To E-File or Not to E-File? To listen, click here, or click here to download on iTunes.
Welcome to the Nail Hub Podcast, powered by NAILS Magazine, where you’ll find all the business advice, motivation, and nail industry information you need to be a successful nail professional. I’m Elizabeth Morris, and thank you for joining me today.
Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you guys a little interview with Holly Schippers, The Fingernail Fixer. For those of you who have not listened to my first interview on this podcast, I recommend you go back because Holly was my first interview ever on this podcast, and I thought, what better idea than to have Holly back on to talk about what she’s been up to. And Holly is such a great educator, for those of you that don’t follow her already, check out all of her social media under “FingerNailFixer,” and you can also check out her blog and her website, fingernailfixer.com. Holly has been a nail technician for many years, and she is an excellent educator. She’s very into educating herself about every facet of this industry and sharing that knowledge with others, and so I find her to be a kindred spirit, and I am very honored that Holly made time to talk with me today.
Elizabeth Morris: Okay, so thank you so much for joining me again, it’s been a long time since we’ve done this.
Holly Schippers: Oh my gosh, it’s been ages!
EM: I know, and it’s funny because I only get to run into you at shows and stuff so it’s nice to actually get to see you and talk to you, also now, on the podcast. So I wanted to bring you on again because you were my first interview on the NailHub Podcast, which I was very honored to have you way back when. Since then, obviously a lot has changed, and you’ve also been doing all kinds of new stuff, so I wanted to have you back on. Mainly because I wanted to have you share your experience with e-filing, I know that’s something that you’ve recently kind of been getting into, and so I thought you could share a little bit about your journey with that and kind of what made that happen for you.
HS: Sure, it’s definitely super new, and I have always just done hand-filing, and taking on the position as contributing editor for NAILS Magazine, they really need more rounded information, not just the certain segments of things that I know. So it felt like I really was missing an entire section of knowledge when it comes to nails. This is what led me to look into doing e-files, and Beth, the current editor at NAILS, is just so great, and we were talking about it and we discussed sharing my journey of learning with other nail professionals so that people could learn with me. I tend to be a slow learner, which sometimes people struggle to believe—
EM: Yeah, I find that very hard to believe!
HS: Right, right, and when I’m teaching something I usually already know what I’m talking about! So the journey with the e-file process, everyone has gotten to see my clunky, slow, dorky learning, and the comments on the most recent video were great, because they were like, “it’s so cool to learn with you and see you correct yourself as you go and take advice from other people.” So I’m hoping that learning in this very exposed, vulnerable way also helps other people feel more confident with learning, regardless of whether they’re learning e-file, or just learning anything about nails, that it’s okay to learn at your own pace, in your own way.
EM: Yeah, that’s an interesting thing to say, because I feel like a lot of the feeling that newbie nail techs get when they first get into the industry is that everyone already knows exactly what they’re doing, and that they’re the only odd man out. Right?
HS: Oh, yes.
EM: So it’s interesting for you to share that even somebody who has been in the industry for a very long time and is so involved in every facet of the industry has something new to learn, and had to go through kind of that awkward beginner phase again. So I really like that, that’s very honest of you, very upfront and I think that’s really important to share that experience for others.
HS: It’s definitely nerve-wracking.
EM: I’m sure!
HS: Especially this most recent one, like I was making a lot of mistakes. It’s difficult to make those mistakes in front of people and share them, because you are used to putting your best foot forward and knowing what you’re talking about, and so just that exposure, that vulnerability is just like, I don’t know if I want to share this with the whole world! But I feel like that is more helpful to people than perfection.
EM: Oh, I completely agree. And so, as someone who had been hand-filing for so long, what was the catalyst for you saying, you know, I want to actually learn how to e-file? Obviously, it’s an area that you didn’t have a lot of education in, but I mean, were you afraid when you first started? Most people I know that are big hand-filers, they swear off e-filing like it’s some kind of evil thing, right? And on one side it can be dangerous, but on the other, it’s also an important tool to be able to offload a lot of the wear and tear that nail techs go through with their body. So I’m curious to hear kind of what your first preconceived notions were on e-filing, and hind of how that changed over time.
HS: For me, it was initially kind of… you’re right, like when I first came into the industry I tried an e-file for just debulking and removing the length, and of course it was a really inexpensive e-file that I could afford as a student, and it was scary. It was loud, I couldn’t control it properly, and so it was terrifying. And then it’s like “okay, I’m going to put this away, this is just for crazy people,” and just went straight to the hand-filing. And over the years, I’ve become more open-minded as I’ve seen the e-files used by more skilled people. I’ve gotten to know other nail professionals that I really respect, and realized that okay, these people wouldn’t use an e-file if it was a bad thing. So then, I’ve become more open minded to, you know, it really is just a personal preference whether you want to hand-file or e-file. Neither is more right than the other, or better than the other, it’s just personal choice. So then, I have finally come to the point that it’s like, okay, in order for me to be a better educator and be more knowledgeable and to help people, I need to know e-file basics even when I’m teaching hand-filing so that I can answer basic questions about what is the difference, and why would you do one versus the other, versus, “oh, I don’t know, why don’t you just try it.” And I feel like I can give better answers and be a more useful source of information, than kind of sitting around ignorant with my head in the sand.
EM: Yeah, I think that’s awesome. And to me, that’s the sign of a true educator, is that you’re willing to put aside your sense of kind of, “I’m the queen of the mountain” mentality to learn something from scratch in order to be able to share that with others and be, like you said, a better source of information, a more well-rounded source of information. So, I think that’s awesome, and props to you for doing it. It’s not easy to find the time to do something like this, and to fit something into what you’re already doing, which I know you travel a ton, because I see you everywhere. So this is pretty cool. So with that being said, I mean, you probably have a little more insight because you are so involved in the industry, but how did you choose where to get your e-file training? What did you look for and what were some of the resources that you found?
HS: So I’m actually trying to make sure that my e0file training is pretty well-rounded. My first experience with a class was actually with Vicki Peters, and she put the e-file in my hands on the first cruise that I went on with her, and she was like, “You touch it to that nail right now!” I was cringing, I was like, “I can’t! It’s scary, I don’t know, I’m gonna break it!” It was a practice tip on a clothespin, and she was like, “Do it now!” and so I touched it and you know, there were no explosions, the sky didn’t fall, the Earth didn’t shatter, and at the time I was just like, I’m going to set this aside, and so I’ve kind of gone back to it. And I really have a lot of respect for Bruce and Nicole Atwood, they’re so helpful at shows and they’re so great to talk to about things, I’ve needed them as a blog source. And that also kind of led me to “surely these amazing, knowledgeable people wouldn’t be doing e-files if there wasn’t something to it.” And I happened to end up with a Kupa Mani Pro Passport, and you’re going to laugh because like a typical nail tech, I actually picked it because it was pretty. And I actually have loved it because it’s so lightweight, and it’s so handy, and then Kelly, the crystal ninja, blinged it out for me, so I’m absolutely in love with it. I love showing it off every chance I get. And I’m finding that, I did a course with Kupa…
EM: Holly, one second, before you tell that story, your signal’s going out just a teeny bit.
HS: Is it better now?
EM: Oh, much better, perfect. So start back when you said that Kelly blinged it out for you and then you took the Kupa class.
HS: Okay. Kelly the crystal ninja blinged it out for me, and so I’m absolutely in love with it, I love showing it off every chance I get, especially if the light hits the Swarovskis, and I took the introductory Kupa class at The Best Little Nail Show Texas this year. And I’m working on setting up a class with Nicole Atwood, because I believe she’s very knowledgeable as well. I’d like to get a class with you at some point, because I know that you do e-file classes. You were on the flip side of our class in Texas, we could hear you. And then I’m also trying to get in some with Sydney at some point, and just getting knowledge from different people, because everyone has a different perspective. Gina Silvestro is another one I’d like to touch base with. Everyone has a different perspective, it’s the same thing as using any other nail product. Everyone has different experiences, everyone has a different style, everyone teaches differently, and so you learn different things from different people. And every little tidbit that I learn from each educator that I either take a private class with, or I hop into their class at a show, is just going to make me more efficient and more safe. Because that’s my biggest concern is being safe.
EM: Yeah, and I think, like you said, everyone who uses an e-file, or uses gels or acrylics or colors, we all have kind of our own styles that we develop but I would say that the common theme among all professionals that do that is that we have those fundamental skills that we understand what to do and what not to do.
EM: So I completely agree. I think safety is number one—with the client, with yourself; we don’t want to give clients bad experiences with the equipment that help us be successful. And I think it’s cool that you went and got taught from so many different people. It was Ann Chang, right, in Houston, from Kupa?
HS: Yeah, it was Ann.
EM: Ann is awesome, and Ann is an acrylic nail tech, and she’s one of those people where I actually want to take a class with her because she does beautiful acrylic nails which, you know, I’ve never really gotten into acrylic, and so I always tell her I want to pick her brain on acrylic stuff too. And then of course, you know, Nicole and Bruce Atwood, I mean they are manufacturers of bits, they specialize in bits and e-files, so what better place to get information from? And Gina, actually, funny enough, Gina has also taught me a lot about e-filing. I’m kind of like you, I pick it up from all different people, and every class I take I learn something different, and I get exposed to different bits. So I think that’s the only problem when you get into e-filing, is you start to accumulate bits. I think I own like a hundred now at this point and I have to have every single one.
HS: Nice. Yeah, that actually needs to be my next lesson, I need to better understand a wider variety of bits, and when and why and all of that fun stuff. So that’s actually the next thing I’m researching at the moment.
EM: That’s super cool. So I mean, if you had any advice to the people—I mean, your blog is amazing, and for anyone listening that has not followed Holly’s blog, go to fingernailfixer.com. She also writes regularly for NAILS Magazine, you can find all of her articles on NAILS Magazine—nailsmag.com. But Fingernail Fixer is Holly’s business name, so you guys can check out all of her social media. And you really are a fingernail fixer, it’s like the perfect name for you. With all the training you do and all the learning you do, and you’re such a good resource of information.
HS: Thank you.
EM: So, as a professional in this industry who’s been there, done that, and also you’re branching into some new stuff, what’s kind of your recommendation for people who are looking into expanding their education? I know that I get a lot of people that are like, “Oh my gosh, I have to travel to take classes?” So I kind of wanted you to share your view.
HS: I think the biggest thing is, to borrow what you said earlier, you’re not the queen of the mountain. And should I ever come to the point that I feel that way about myelf, I hope someone is kind enough to kick me off of the mountain and save me from being embarrassing. Because it’s just not possible for you to be perfect. It’s not possible for you to know everything. And so if you’re constantly in pursuit of perfection that will never exist, you’re constantly evolving and learning, which keeps you being a better professional.
EM: I one hundred per cent agree. And what would you say about, you know, let’s say you go through this whole experience of learning e-filing, I mean, so far, do you feel like it’s something that speaks to you, do you feel like it’s something you feel confident with? Or do you think that you’ll end up learning e-filing and then potentially maybe go back to hand-filing because that’s where your true nature exists? I mean, I’m always curious just to hear if people think, you know…
HS: I would like to think that I will eventually be confident enough to do both equally well, and just kind of flip-flop back and forth and basically like knowing how to do gel and liquid and powder, choose the one that suits the need you have. I would love to say that I’m confident enough in using an e-file to choose to e-file or to hand-file depending on the need and the moment. I am not at the confidence level yet; I was definitely slaughtering those poor little nail tips that I practiced on in this last video session during the E-File Chronicles, so I’ve definitely got some practicing and some learning to go. The exciting thing that I learned from some of the people that were watching and offering advice was part of the reason that I was doing things wrong is that I ws using the wrong bit. And so that was great to know, that like, I’m not unlearning what I thought I was learning, I actually was just not knowledgeable enough about bits to be using the right thing. So it definitely is a slow journey, because I’m not using the e-file very much off video because I don’t want to get good at it, and then all of a sudden do a video and, ta-da! I know what I’m doing! When two videos ago I didn’t know what I was doing. Because then people aren’t experiencing that clunky learning process. So it’s definitely going to be, probably, some more time before I’m confident fully.
EM: Yeah, and I think that’s fair, and like you said the authenticity of people being able to follow your journey and see that it isn’t just an overnight thing. You know, I love that you said that, because I feel like, again, going back to some of the nail techs in our industry who don’t get to see it, they’re not at trade shows or they’re not big into their careers yet, I feel like they instantly get demoralized and they lack confidence because they see all of these people who seem to be excellent at what they do overnight. And a lot of that social media—YouTube, Instagram, Facebook—a lot of it lacks a little bit of the rest of the story, right? You’re only seeing a portion of it, you’re not seeing what’s actually happening behind the scenes, and so I love that you’re sharing the full process, not just, “hey, yay, I became an amazing e-filer in three days!”
EM: Because realistically, that’s not how it happens, and I can tell you from my personal experience, I’ve been doing nails for five years now, which isn’t very long at all, but I can tell you, I learn new things every single day, every single month, and it definitely took me years to get confident with e-filing, and to fully understand, to the point where I could even recommend things to people or explain things to people. I mean it just takes time. So I love that you’re sharing that.
HS: Well I’m glad that you like it, because it’s very intimidating.
EM: Well, and it’s a good challenge! I mean, I think we all need something that intimidates us once in a while. It just keeps us humble and keeps us learning and I really respect people that are willing to put themselves in those positions, because it’s not easy. So, props to you for that. And I wanted you to quickly tell me a little bit—I just saw on your Instagram—FingerNailFixer—that you posted something about eggs. And I read the blog, but I wanted you to share a little about why you were posting about eggshells, and what that has to do with e-filing, I thought that was pretty cool.
HS: Okay! I have done these E-File Chronicles FaceBook live broadcasts from the NAILS Magazine FaceBook page, and the next to the last one that I did, learning to hand file in CND classes, they gave us raw eggs and had us color them with crayons, and then use a low-grit file to file the crayon off. It teaches you control, and teaches you to be able to learn how to speed up your hand-filing without damaging a lot of nails along the way. It occurred to me that I couldn’t see why this couldn’t be also used with an e-file, and knowing that Richard, when I got my Mani Pro, really expressed: do not get this wet, do not get this wet. So I went ahead and hard boiled the eggs, so that I didn’t accidentally file into one and splatter egg yolk onto my e-file, which would be horrifying, and hard boiled the eggs, colored them with a crayon, and then used the sanding band to file the crayon off. After the most recent E-File Chronicles that I’ve done, learning about the different bits, I’m now thinking that it would be really interesting to do that again and use different bits to take off the crayon.
EM: That’s super cool. And so how difficult was it for you to do that? What was kind of the challenge that you saw, or were you seeing a lot of egg coming off in certain spots? I mean, how does that kind of work?
HS: Yes. The tricky part with e-file is the same with hand-file. You’re looking at a spot and you see what you want to file off, and it’s not always coming of. Because what your eye is looking at and what your file is touching is not always the same thing, depending on the angle of your hand, depending on the angle of the bit if it’s an e-file, depending on if you’re not using any pressure or if you’re pushing in too hard. I was really, really thankful not to shatter an egg, and I was super nervous about that, so then I would be like, trying to take the full swipes like Ann showed me in class and not do the little (short, intermittent filing noises) touchy bits that I’m prone to do because I’m still afraid of the sound of the e-file touching something.
EM: Right. That’s a cool experiment to do. We may have to come up with like an egg e-filing challenge for everybody.
HS: That would be super fun. Video yourself, who can do it the fastest, and you win something really cool.
EM: That is super cool. I really like that. So, very, very good idea, and yeah, I’m totally into this. So I think this is something really cool to share with everyone, hopefully everyone has a moment to check out all of the blog posts you’ve done to date on your journey, and continues to follow you as you progress, because I think this is one of the most… e-filing, to me, in the industry is probably one of the most powerful pieces of equipment and skill sets, but yet it’s also the most taboo. There’s such a delineation between people who are absolutely pro e-filing and people who are absolutely against it, and so I think it’s really cool for someone who has hand-filed for so long to share their experience about what it’s like to truly learn how to e-file in a high-quality way and what that process looks like. So hopefully this encourages people from all sides to take another look and see what e-filing entails. And especially because, hopefully, the technology has been updated in the last, you know, however many years.
HS: Yes. I’ve been doing nails for eighteen years, and realistically, anything in the industry can be evil if you’re not educated in using it. Look at the reputation that gel polish gets for ruining your nails, that acrylic gets for ruining your nails, and we all know it’s not ever the product. And so the e-file is just another one of those things where people aren’t educated, they’re misusing it, where they assume they know how to use it when they don’t, it just falls under all the rest of that.
EM: Yeah, I completely agree. And I think it’s, like you were saying before, it is personal preference at the end of the day, but I am so into people at least knowing what they’re making a decision on, because you need to have the information before you make a choice as to whether or not that works well for you, and also to have that education to make sure, if you do choose to do a certain service a certain way, you know exactly how to do it properly without causing damage to anyone.
HS: Exactly. And if it would make it easier for people to find the e-file stuff, I’ve used the hashtag EFileChronicles on all of it so that it’s easier for them to find the blogs and the videos and all that.
EM: Awesome, so hopefully everyone will check that out, #EFileChronicles, and definitely follow FingerNail Fixer—you’re FingerNailFixer across all of your social media, right?
HS: Yes, all social media. It’s all one word.
EM: Yep. And you do have a real name as well, it’s like me when we talk about The Nail Hub. (Laughs.)
HS: Yes, my name is Holly. (Laughs.)
EM: If you guys ever run into Holly, definitely stop by, she loves to say hi to everyone. You always are so warm and welcoming every time I run into you at any shows, and you’re so open with your knowledge, and you’re such a great educator, and I still remember the first time I ever met you was in Orlando, doing Crystal Culture training together with Swarovski, and I just thought you were the coolest thing ever. You had all your awesome equipment, you knew exactly what you were talking about, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better ever since then.
HS: I feel exactly the same way. Even though you were a newbie, you still carried yourself professionally, and you’ve always just had a thirst for knowledge and never got, like, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Elizabeth, the queen of the mountain,” you know? You’re kind of just really cool. I think it’s all about paying it forward.
EM: I completely agree, that’s literally like, what my mission is in life, and I know you feel exactly the same way and that’s why we get along so well. But I just wanted to say thank you so much again for taking time out of your day to do this, I really appreciate you sharing your experience, and I hope everyone who is listening to this will take advantage of the information that you’re providing, because it is some awesome stuff, and you get to learn through your experience. So, thank you so much, Holly.
HS: Thank you for having me, I really appreciate it, it was my pleasure.
EM: Alright, well I will talk to you later, thank you so much!
HS: Sounds good, thanks for being patient with me getting on!
EM: No problem. Alright, bye!
Another big thank you to Holly for coming on The Nail Hub podcast today, Holly, you are awesome. And for those of you that want to check out what Holly’s up to, she’s got a lot of events that she’ll be attending soon, and she’s also got upcoming classes. You can go to her Finger Nail Fixer Facebook page, check out the events tab in her Facebook page and you’ll be able to see everything that she’s got coming up. And definitely check out this new set of blogs she’s doing as she learns how to e-file, I think her journey is something that speaks to a lot of you, and even if you’re already an experienced e-filer, I think we can always learn something new from people as we continue to progress in our careers. So definitely don’t forget to check out FingerNailFixer.com and all of the amazing blog posts that Holly posts on NAILS Magazine. Thanks so much for listening today, and I will be in touch with our next episode soon. Bye guys!
This is Elizabeth Morris, signing off from The Nail Hub. This podcast is powered by NAILS Magazine, the professional nail industry’s leading publication. Have a suggestion, question, or concern? Send me an email at email@example.com. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @thenailhub, and check out The Nail Hub YouTube channel for more episodes and tutorials. Want customized business consulting, access to classes, amazing products, and more? Visit TheNailHub.com and check out all the wonderful things we provide. Our goal is to help you reach your ultimate potential. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you in the next episode.
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