Occasionally when I first meet someone and I reveal that I work at a nail magazine full-time, I’ll see the other person’s face scrunch up and her eyes gaze off in the distance as if trying to figure out a polite way to ask me, “Is there really that much to say about nails?” That generally unleashes my soapbox-style reply regarding the importance of salon sanitation to public health, how small business owners grow our economy, nail styles and fashion trends, and how all that only just scratches the surface of the industry.

As a nail student or newly minted tech, now is the time for you to jump up and down ecstatically because you just cracked open the door to this secret treasure trove of opportunity that is the nail industry. It’s an amazing place where you can work for decades and always find there is more to learn. You can use your creativity on a daily basis, develop deep connections with your clients, and make your own hours. You can volunteer your skills to perk up the lives of the less fortunate (such as cancer patients or clients who need a great set of nails for a job interview) and, when you’re a few years in and have your own soapbox-style explanation of why you love what you do, you can mentor a new nail tech and help her build her skills and her clientele.

The other question that I get frequently — and this one is yelled out loud — comes from salon owners: “Where are the good nail techs?” With this question too, you have the upper hand. By “good,” most salon owners simply mean someone who treats her clients and colleagues with respect; who exhibits basic nail skills and, more importantly, is open to improving them; who is passionate about doing nails; and who demonstrates a strong work ethic. If this describes you, then I predict you’ll have no problem finding your first job. My challenge to you is to find a salon that will help you grow your business. Look for one that has a history of mentoring newbie nail techs to success.

Now, I know that you likely have some questions of your own. We’ve tried to answer many of them with this NAILS Career Handbook, including The NAILS Hotline inside (p. 35) that we’ve written to answer our most frequently asked questions. Even more questions are answered on www.nailsmag.com/qa/list. For your other questions, you’re always welcome to e-mail me: sree.roy[at]bobit.com. Just don’t be surprised if I start my response by telling you how lucky you are to be in this amazing industry.

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