How do you get inspired? I’m on a constant quest (in all facets of my life) to know where people find their inspiration: Inspiration to be great at what you do. Inspiration to be a better person in your relationships and personal lives. Inspiration to design and create new styles and trends.

“What was your inspiration?” is the first question you hear on red carpets and other interviews for big designers, actors, writers. I watch Project Runway (I love Tim Gunn!) and the judges always want to know what inspired the designers to come up with a specific dress or collection. Last night on American Idol (OK, you caught me, I’m a reality TV junkie!) the seven remaining contestants had to sing songs of inspiration. Here’s the thing: A song of inspiration is probably very different for me than it is for you. Likewise, what inspires me to create new things at work is likely very different than what inspires you to create new things at work.

By definition, inspiration is a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation, or the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions. I tend to lean toward the non-religious definition, but you can see how inspiration and where it comes from is completely subjective. We are each our own people and we are all inspired or moved or influenced by different things. So you can understand my quest to understand how others get inspired.

Personally, I read a lot of books and magazines, listen to a lot of music, and watch a lot of television and movies. I get inspired by things I see in beauty and fashion magazines, but I also get inspired by shelter and food magazines. I’m constantly drawing inspiration for NAILS from Wired, Esquire, Yoga Journal, and Outdoor magazines, to name a few. Odd places to get inspired for a trade magazine about fingernails, no? I tear pages out of magazines wherever I am — airplanes, doctors’ offices, friends’ houses. I think it’s these far off, loosely related sources of inspiration where we really can get some of our best and most unique ideas.

So where do you get inspired? Where do you draw your inspiration for your nail styles? For new services? For ideas on salon design? I want to collect a series of short essays written by our readers on sources of inspiration and I’ll share what I hear. You can e-mail me, but I’d love it if you’d send me handwritten notes detailing what inspires you and maybe include a picture, a tear sheet, a swatch of fabric, or whatever it was that inspired you. (You can send it to: Hannah Lee, 3520 Challenger St., Torrance, CA 90503.) By asking you what inspires you, I’m getting inspired all over again!

You know what else I’m inspired by? All the work our awesome web team did to create the new Nail Art Gallery! Thanks to Brian Kim, Miljan Mihajlovic, Paul Rizo, Min Kim, and Sam Kim!

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