Vicki Peters, mentor to many in the nail industry, nail know-it-all, one of the earliest competitors, competition judge and show-runner, product creator, cover tech, nail cruise director, e-file expert, former competitive roller-skater, dog-lover, sister, and friend, passed away at the age of 60. Vicki loved nails, the nail industry, nail technicians, nail magazines, nail jokes, nail cruises, nail trends, nail memes, nail salons, nail shows, and just about anything nail-related. And as you can see from these tributes, the nail industry loved her right back.

I received a call from Vicki in 1993 after seeing the print work I was doing for IBD. Her statement was ‘Juli Miller, I would love to meet you, I have watched your work and you have your own style and I like that about you!’ We became very good friends and she has been my rock in the industry. When I was with INM I traveled to California at least once a month and was lucky enough to have traveled there on the day of her salon opening. If there was just one more visit, I would tell her “Thank you!”

Juli Miller

After coming into an industry where I had no friends and all land was foreign to me Vicki helped me tremendously. Years later, I still use the Vicki Peters Filing System. I will sure miss seeing Vicki at shows and always inboxing me to cheer me on. Vicki was very instrumental in my decision to be a full-time nail professional.

Maisie Dunbar

I had sent Vicki an e-mail asking for some technical advice (she was my go-to person on these things). I didn’t hear from her for a few days, which was odd, and then I got a text from her. I immediately called her and she proceeded to tell me how sick she was, but sounded so optimistic and positive. We chatted about it; I offered her my love and support and was ready to hang up; when she said, ‘Wait a minute, let’s talk about those audio questions you have.’ Despite what she was going through she wanted to make sure I knew and understood how to set up my audio equipment for a class. I will always miss that great smile and her amazing words of wisdom. 

Linda Nordstrom

Vicki and I have been friends for way over 20 years. In fact, we actually tried to figure out the exact date we first met and couldn’t. I was the one who could give it back to her in spades. I remember telling her, ‘You know I’m not afraid of you, right?’ She was quiet for about two seconds and then she said, ‘Yep,’ and we both burst into laughter for five minutes. I loved her, I respected her, and l looked up to her. I treated her like my sister.

Madelyn Johnson

Vicki mentored and trained me then threw me into the competition arena with the old ‘Just shut up and do it.’ The very last time I competed was in Dallas at a show where our friend Madelyn Johnson had organized a competition. Janet Estes and I were going there to compete as Team Vicki. Madelyn was sworn to secrecy and we got a big surprise to learn that she was competing too. As she was competing against us, she was coaching us. Team Vicki finished first, second, and third place with Vicki in the lead. It was the last time she sat in a nail competition arena.

Brenda Anderson

Vicki Peters was my nail sis, confidant, and femtor for 18 years. I owe her so much for guiding my career and I will miss her very much. The challenge now for the nail community that mourns the passing of this great woman is to embrace Vicki’s vision that no tech should be left behind when it comes to education.

AthenA Elliott

A few years ago, my Italian customer asked me to work on the first-ever Nail Cruise Italy. Because of Vicki’s experience, she too, was invited. We flew out of LAX together and arrived in Venice. We made it to our ship and were paired together in a room. We drank coffee together on the balcony every morning.  Between teaching classes we toured all the Greek islands. Our last day in Venice we went to Rialto Bridge and walked to St. Peter’s Square where we had a highly over-priced breakfast. We walked and shopped the entire island of Venice. For lunch we had pizza in a small pizzeria. On that trip we really got to talk about things not nail-related. We were two friends on an amazing trip together. 

Elaine Watson

I will miss her always smiling face, her kind words, and her never-ending positive encouragement. She touched my life deeply as she did for many. Please know we have a very special angel watching over us all.

Carol Byerly

I can’t even trace back how long I have known Vicki but I know it’s well over 20 years. The laughs, the tears, the ‘I need your help’ calls in both directions. Then there was my infecting her with the NASCAR bug. We spent many a Sunday afternoon texting about the race. I think the best were the practical jokes. There was the year we all invaded her class at Premiere Orlando 2002. Vicki had been going on and on in the forums and mailing list about dressing for success, be on time, and be courteous. At least 10 of us dressed in poolside flip-flops and cut-offs, marched into her class late, talking and totally ignoring her, while hollering to all of the people we knew who were already seated. The look on her face was priceless!

Debbie Doerrlamm

I ran across Vicki Peters via Beauty Tech as a student. She was so willing to help me even though I felt like a bumbling idiot concerning everything enhancements. Her selfless contributions to education over the years made Vicki one of my ‘nail moms’ that I credit with helping me, guiding me, watching over me, and leading by example in being willing to help anyone and everyone. I’m thankful to have known such an amazing woman who contributed to and shaped the industry we all love. She will live on through passion, education, and the love of all whose lives she touched.

Holly Schippers

[PAGEBREAK]

I met Vicki Peters almost 30 years ago and we immediately became very good friends. When we met she said her name was short for Victoria. So in fun I called her Victoria the entire evening. I continued to do this over the next 25 years. About five years ago she looked at me and said with her famous smile, ‘You know that no one else ever calls me Victoria except for you and I like it when you do.’ She had a way of making you feel special for even the smallest thing. After a while I noticed that I was calling her Victoria just so I could see her smile of approval. She used these same talents in her teaching. Vicki did more than teach, she motivated people to learn, grow, and excel. Vicki made you want to be better than you were.

Doug Schoon

My mum Gigi Rouse and Vicki go way back as nail techs renowned in their field, so mum suggested we ask Vicki to come to the UK for training with our team in 2010. She stayed with us at our home outside Leeds. My mum was visiting us at that time and she and Vicki would sit and gabble like the two nail gurus they were. Just as you have ‘The Bird’ in the U.S., we have ‘The V Sign’ (now known as The Vickers) that means the same thing, but you have to do it the opposite way of the peace sign. Vicki thought this was hysterical and did it at every opportunity. She went as far as to have herself laminated onto a magnet doing The Vickers and sent it to me. I love it and it’s on my fridge to this very day.

Samantha Sweet

We had been friends for 42 years. We’ve traveled by air, sea, and car together for vacation and work, sometimes only seeing each other for a quick chat at a nail show around the country. On New Year’s Eve I would always call her at midnight East Coast time and she would say ‘Now I can go to bed!’ After moving to California she found friends along the way — all 2,793 on Facebook. She influenced and touched so many lives. As much as she loved the nail industry, she loved her dogs (all of them, past and present) even more. Happy New Year in Heaven, you can go to sleep now.

Trish Phelan

I remember when my mom was losing her battle with cancer Vicki promised to look after me and take me under her wing, and that she did. We spent holidays together and had dinner together once a week until she moved to California. We went to numerous Nascar races together. We even dog sat for each other. Vicki was right there by my side on my wedding day, making sure I was the star. Love you Vicki, thank you for all you did and being my friend.

Loni Preato

Vicki and Jenny Markakis arranged for a group of nail techs from all over to help me while I recovered from a mastectomy. As Jenny put it, “We wanted to give you a helping hand, not a hand out.” Candace Welch, Mindy Borrego, Simmy Bredal-Bell, Maxine Moore-Thomas, and Vicki came and worked in my studio. My clients were happy to have their services continue and glad to see me able to keep my business. My clients dubbed them “Karen’s Angels” because they cooked, helped me with chores, and loved me like sisters. Simmy’s trip overlapped with Vicki’s and the two of them spent Christmas with me. They gave up that holiday with their families, because they knew I couldn’t travel to be with mine. I was very saddened to learn both Vicki and Simmy were diagnosed with cancer right before this last Christmas. This is just one story of many I could share of Vicki and her helping hands. She left her indelible mark on the industry and in our lives as well.

Karen Hodges

My brother Greg introduced us in 2000 and she welcomed me with open arms. She talked to me like a friend and asked me tons of questions about my new involvement with Young Nails. My introduction to the nail industry was Vicki Peters, and all I could think after I met her was, “What a great industry! This is going to be awesome!” I will miss her dearly.

Habib Salo

Until we meet again, friend. Godspeed.

Rhonda Kibuk

When I look at some of my success and experiences during the past 15 years, Vicki had a hand in it. During this past show season Vicki was teaching a class and felt my presence. She looked up, stopped mid-sentence, and excused herself for a moment. Vicki walked out, threw her arms around me, gave me lots of love, then took me into her class where I was introduced. She went on to say beautiful and incredible things about me. It’s a moment that will be with me forever.

LaShaun Brown-Glenn

Our nail industry and the world lost someone very special today. We are saddened to hear of Vicki Peter’s passing. All of us at NSI and our NSI family around the world send our thoughts and condolences to Vicki’s family, close friends, and to the thousands of nail technicians she touched around the world.

Rick Slack

I met Vicki Peters when I was 17. I obviously made an impression on her that day because she put me under her wing for the next 10 years. She is responsible for so much in my career, introducing me to so many people who have changed my life and pushing me beyond what I believed my limits were. Vicki, you have given so many other nail artists stories like this and I know you’re up in heaven ‘dressed for success.’

Jill Iannucci Clark

The world lost a good, kind, caring person. Soft be thy resting place Vic.

Kenny Gerenraich

I love you Vic, and will miss you so much.

Terri Lundberg

Your lifetime achievement award says it all. You gave your heart to the industry and you will always be in our hearts.

Ellen Torchia

In 2009, Vicki helped Ellen Torchia and I start an amazing nail retreat at Camp Burton in Washington. This year, not knowing she was sick, Ellen and I decided it was time to give her a lifetime achievement award for all the hard work she has done for the entire industry. Nail Techs came to the microphone to tell how Vicki had impacted their careers and their lives. She was very touched and we shared lots of hugs and tears of joy. My heart aches to know next year she won’t be there in all her glory to hand out awards after running a competition and enjoy the waterfront camp she loved.

Jess Hoel

I met Vicki many years ago at a beauty show while I was still in nail school. I told her I had signed up for my first nail cruise and she took me under her wing. She was one of the kindest, most caring and wonderful people I have ever known. Her passing is a huge loss to the nail industry and to more people than she will ever know. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adored her.  

Karen Douglas

Vicki Peters viewed herself as just another manicurist. ‘Keep it simple,’ was her motto in business and in life. There’s a little bit of Vicki in almost everything you see in the nail industry. There’s a lot of what I call ‘Vicki DNA’ in enough of us to make her legacy last for generations. She never got rich and she never admitted to being the visionary that she was. Vicki’s dream was to retire in a modest home in Hawaii with a nail table under a tent overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I asked her about the decision to let go of her product line. Her answer was, ‘I’m letting go of it not because it’s hard to keep it going, but because I don’t LOVE being a manufacturer. I’m just a manicurist. I love sharing my knowledge and that’s what I’m going to do.’ I admired that she made that difficult decision despite the fact that it might look to others like she had failed. I’ll miss our ‘planning the world sessions’ in the pool on Sanibel Island, the high we got teaching together when our students faces lit up with their ‘a-ha’ moment, and that smile in her eye when we clicked on the same thought.

Simmy Bredal-Bell

Vicki and her sister Natalie were helping me at an elementary school fundraiser for the music department. One little girl told Vicki as she was applying polish, that she missed a spot. Note her mother in the back with her arms crossed. Vicki gave me the look and said, ‘This one is going to grow up to be just like her mother.’

Andy Hillas

I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Vicki Peters a few years ago at her nail camp in Trinidad. In the years after our first meeting we kept in touch via Facebook. Even though we only met in person once at the Premiere Orlando show in 2013, she surprisingly introduced me to others as her friend. I will never forget Vicki Peters. She is now my nail tech guardian angel.

Melanie Attai

[PAGEBREAK]

Vicki was a wonderful mentor/friend to me. It’s so hard to express what this woman meant in my professional life. I could call her with any question and she would always find time to talk. Here are some pictures from back in the day that meant the most to me.

Cathy Marrone

I’m fortunate today that we have one another in this very difficult time, to network together on the greatness of Vicki Peters and to share our thoughts and feelings about her passing through her incredible legacy. I feel sorry for the new nail technicians who will never get to meet you, or learn from you. Thank you for motivating me, and reminding me that I’m really a true professional. I have a new respect for my industry because of you.

Angel Vandhana

It was funny to me how people reacted to Vicki. We would go to the restroom and she would be in the stall doing her business and girls would stand outside talking to her. We would be walking down the street and cars would go by and roll their windows down and start screaming, ‘Oh my God it’s Vicki Peters! Hey Vicki!’ Several times we would be walking down an aisle at a show or outside and some girl would start jumping up and down crying because Vicki Peters was right in front of her. I often asked Vicki, “How in the hell do you do this? You have stalkers and groupies!” She would just smile at me with that ornery look on her face that only some of us saw. Nothing but a class act. I will miss her.

Diana Bonn

I took Vicki’s goal-setting class at Fashion Focus Cleveland in 1994. I waited to speak to her after the class. She looked me square in the face, pointed her finger at me and said, ‘You need to be an educator.’ She walked me to the show floor all the while grumbling about how she didn’t even have a set of her own goals, yet they asked her to give a goal-setting class, in true Vicki transparency. She introduced me to three regional managers of nail manufacturers and told them I would be following up with a resume. By the time I saw her in the fall I was working as an educator for one of those companies. To say meeting her changed the trajectory of my career would be an understatement. I read once that a true mentor is one who is willing and able to lead you even beyond themselves. That was her gift to all of us. She wasn’t worried about where you went or how far you succeeded; her only concern was that you did.

Millie Haynam

Vicki started mentoring me after working with her in Orlando last year. She encouraged me to set goals of having my own nail salon and to become an educator. With those words of encouragement, I became a Crystal Culture stylist and I’ll be working at my own place. She motivated me to become a better nail artist, to step out of my comfort zone, and to believe in myself. I’ll always be grateful to Vicki for that.

Karen Clark

Vicki has been our mentor for over 20 years. She was there for us as our salon grew, she was our go-to guru. We leaned on her through rough times and celebrated with her in good. It became tradition when we caught up at the beauty shows that we must bring her our newest ProFiles shirt we were sporting at that show. We cherish these memories so much.

Traci Dungan & Ami McClur

This is a picture we took together at the recent Cosmoprof in Vegas. It was our last in-person meeting. We laughed and talked about life and she said to me, “I have never seen you happier doing what you were called to do.” That was Vicki, always supporting everyone else. I was blessed to have her in my life as we pioneered this crazy nail industry together when there wasn’t even one to speak of. Her light continues to shine in me and in all the people she touched.

Nancy Waspi

Vicki had invited Iryna to be an educator on the Nail Those Profits At Sea cruise in 2009. Prior to the cruise, Iryna had been seriously considering leaving the nail industry. After Iryna’s first class, Vicki called me privately to her large cabin. Her first words were ‘What are you going to do with that girl, she is amazing!’ Over the next few days Vicki, Iryna, and I talked a lot and a great friendship started to develop. But more importantly, Vicki brought back Iryna’s self-confidence and enthusiasm.

Iryna Giblett

Once we realized that Vicki wouldn’t be able to come to Victoria for the visit we had planned, the three of us who had been on the 2013 NTP Hawaiian cruise with her decided to put a life-size photo of her on a stick and take her with us that way.

Tami Schmidt

While speaking of Vicki on Nail Talk Radio recently I said that she had laid her handprint on the heart of nail technicians across the globe. I would like to take the opportunity to retract that statement. I now believe that my scope was far too small — Vicki Peters laid her hand on the heart of every person she ever met (even those who never had the opportunity to actually meet her in person). Vicki was and is an icon, a nail technician, a mentor, a FEMtor, a friend, and one hell of a good person. Vicki expected greatness from the nail industry and it’s our duty to rise up and deliver that in her honor.

Braden Jahr

I met Vicki Peters in 1989 at NAILS magazine when I submitted an article on airbrushing. Vicki called me and shortly after, the Nails Magazine team was at my house taking pictures. I was shocked to find a whole page of me and my nail art in the magazine. One time, she walked up to the booth and I was so excited that I stopped what I was doing to greet her and she began to school me on proper business practices. She said, ‘You don’t leave your business like that! I will see you later. Get over there and handle your business before all these people walk off!’ She is definitely my nail hero.

Nedra Porter

I've been in the industry for over 16 years and was fortunate enough to be given​ the Salon Ovations Nail Q&A Book by Vicki Peters very ​early on in my career​. Vicki​ gave me permission to use it and glean much needed nail information when working on technical articles. She would ​often upgrade the answers for publishing​ if industry evolution meant there was more to say on any given subject. She was a rock throughout my entire career​, but especially ​when I was green in the world of nails and needed to learn fast. She supported, nurtured and guided me, and as time moved on, became my friend. She was never too busy to stop, listen, help and give. I remember she drove two hours across California just to have lunch with me two years ago. ​S​he always entertained anything I was working on; she wanted to be part of the journey; she was a giver, an influencer, she believed in mentoring, she believed in techs, and like me, she loved nail competitions. She was also a most fabulous regular contributor to Scratch magazine and headed a column titled Polish with Precision during 2013. Last year I got to visit Vicki in her salon and spend an afternoon of fun and photography with her followed by lunch. I then got to enjoy her again working beside me at the Nailympia London competition where she was reunited with many special industry friends on the judging panel. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and to see the bonding that occurred was a fantastic feeling for me. We had a great friendship and one I will always treasure. I cannot but hopelessly love the people who have helped my life's journey and made it richer for me. Good night Vics and thank you.

Alex Fox

To see the cover artistry of Vicki Peters, click here.

To see our video tribute to Vicki, click here.

Read more about