A Kupa nail tech demonstrates at Premiere Orlando 2014.

A Kupa nail tech demonstrates at Premiere Orlando 2014.

I have been attending beauty trade shows for years, sometimes three or four per year. While walking the show floor and observing nail manufacturers doing demonstrations at the American Beauty Show at McCormack Place in Chicago one year, I came to the conclusion that trade shows are one of the best places for new nail tech students to gain knowledge; they can see almost all of the nail product manufacturers in the United States in one place sharing products and demos.

At trade shows, students will observe manufacturers doing innovative demonstrations. Top nail product manufacturers hire some of the most knowledgeable nail techs in the country to work the trade show floor, so it’s the ideal place for new students to learn all about the business of doing nails. Instructors can usually, with the approval of their school director, arrange field trips to visit the trade shows, and if the students are supervised by an instructor, they usually get some credit toward their hours. Some manufacturers will offer special presentations to groups of students if the instructor notifies them in advance. Manufacturers know that new students are the future of the industry and like to build a good working relationship with schools and their instructors. Here are some of the advantages of new students attending top beauty trade shows:

  1. They will see the magnitude of the industry and hundreds of exhibitors and products.
  2. Products are readily available to purchase, usually at great sale prices, and many manufacturers offer deals as an incentive to stock up. Students will go home with plenty of samples, too.
  3. They will see techniques other than those they are learning in school.
  4. They will get to meet some of the product manufacturers and some of the nail experts doing demonstrations at booths or in classes.    
  5. They can attend lots of free workshops.
  6. There is a competition area where they can see what it’s like to compete.
  7. They’ll learn how to navigate the trade show floor for the next time they attend — it takes a while to learn the secrets of navigating the trade show floor in order to see everything.

My personal strategy is this: I get a map at the show entrance, highlight the companies I’m interested in seeing, and start with the low numbers and work my way to the higher numbers. A new student should take two days to attend the show. Some of the larger shows offer tickets at a discount to students who can afford to attend the show for more than one day. Beauty Industry trade shows are held on an annual basis in most large cities. Here’s a list of the larger shows in 2015:

Jan. 24-26, 2015, Long Beach International Salon and Spa Expo, Long Beach, Calif., 800.468.2274, www.probeauty.org/isselb

March 8-10, 2015, IBS New York, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City, 888.454.5055, www.ibsnewyork.com

March 21-23, 2015, America’s Beauty Show, McCormick Place, Chicago, 312.321.6809, www.americasbeautyshow.com

May 30-June 1, 2015 (Exhibit floor open May 31-June 1), Premiere Orlando, Orlando/Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., 800.335.7469, www.premiereorlandoshow.biz

June 20-22, 2015, IBS Las Vegas, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, 212.895.8200, www.ibslasvegas.com

See You Soon!

— Roy

Royan Williams has been a licensed nail technology educator, nail school operator, and continuing education instructor for more than 20 years. His experience as a school operator has helped him understand the needs of nail technicians, especially those of new students breaking into the nail industry. See more at www.chicagonailschools.com. For free help and advice e-mail: royan.williams@ att.net


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