Years ago, as a fledgling nail salon owner, Herman Paez witnessed Creative Nail Design’s Jan Arnold working the main stage at his first trade show and was instantly hooked by her passion. “I told her I wanted to do what she did, and she invited me to attend Creative’s Boot Camp,” recalls Paez, who was recently named the winner of Creative’s third annual Mary Nordstrom Memorial Award. “The catch was, I had no idea how to do nails at the time.”

Paez immediately enrolled in beauty school, and two weeks after graduation, he showed up at Boot Camp. “I felt I had nothing to lose so I absorbed every technique and skill the trainers were willing to give me,” he says. “I had no bad habits as I had never done nails before and was the only male in my boot camp training. Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb.” When he returned to the salon he owned and managed, he built a full book of clients from scratch in an astounding three weeks.

Paez joined the Creative team as an educator in 1991 and after five years of international travel for the company, took a full-time position as northeast regional manager. He’s since broadened his role with the company, working in Latin America, the Asia Pacific region, Africa, and the Middle East. This year he was named director of sales and marketing for the Asia Pacific region.

Each year, the Mary Nordstrom Memorial Award is presented to the Creative employee who has most embodied the true spirit of their beloved matriarch “Herman was selected because he is a loving, kind, fun, honest, supportive, and respectful soul,” says Arnold. “He is a joy to work (and play) with, because he is authentically the real deal”.

For his part, Paez is honored to receive the award “Mary Nordstrom was one of the most endearing souls in the entire beauty industry and a tremendous influence on me,” he says.

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