Now in its fifth year, the Nail Tech Event of the Smokies has dropped the word “networking” from its title and turned into a full-fledged tradeshow. Taking place this year at the Gatlinburg Convention Center on Sunday, June 24, the event hosted 27 nail companies, more than 50 educators, several company owners, and 200 nail tech attendees. “The addition of free event day classes was a big hit with attendees, plus we offered nine optional Monday workshop classes delivering plenty of hands-on training,” says Jill Wright, a nail tech and the Smokies event coordinator.
As the East Coast’s sole nails-only convention, the event has grown every year since it was launched in 2008, despite a shaky economy. Word of mouth referrals on Facebook have seen attendees coming from as far away as Canada and India. “Knowing that many techs could not afford to fly to larger shows for nail education was what led to filling that niche in the Smoky Mountains,” says Wright. “The Smoky Mountains are within a day’s drive of several surrounding states and Gatlinburg, Tenn., is the most visited resort town in the South. Plus the nearby Knoxville airport along with several interstates makes it readily accessible.”
The 2012 event ushered in many firsts. John Hauk held three nail competitions for trophies and cash prizes, plus Nail Talk Radio’s Athena Elliott, Millie Haynam, and Naja Rickette broadcasted live. The first “meet and greet” pre-event party was hosted Saturday night by Nail Talk Radio at the host hotel’s huge picnic pavilion and Kathy Weltman of Soft Landings Towels sponsored the food and beverages. “Attendees were able to mingle with family and friends, and meet the ‘rock stars’ of our nail world as they enjoyed the nice weather and nearby stream,” says Wright.
The 2013 Nail Tech Event of the Smokies is set to take place August 25-26 in the larger Mills Auditorium at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. For more information, go to www.nailtechevent.com.