Name: Darlene Feric

Salon: Awesome Nails

Location: Grayslake, Ill.

Years Doing Nails: 14

Specialties: Pink-and-whites

Accomplishments: Darlene was elected vice president of the local Illinois Cosmetology Association this year and also took time out of her busy salon and competition schedule to become a EZ Flow educator.

Why she stands out: This is the second year in a row that Darlene has been one of the three finalists in the Nail Technician of the Year category.

“When I found out, I was a finalist for the second year in a row, I was very excited and nervous. I felt like I must be doing something right to be selected again as a finalist from among all of the other entries,” says Darlene.

Darlene has indeed been doing something right. Working as a full-time nail tech at Awesome Nails, a salon owned by longtime friend Mary Metscaviz, Darlene also acts as manager. Responsible for various administrative tasks, Darlene also oversee her fellow nail techs. While all of the nail techs, are booth renters, she says they all work as a team. “Being a manager is easy when your work with a great group of people like I do,” she says .

Her enthusiasm for the industry extends beyond her leadership in the salon. “I enjoy all aspects of the industry, each for different reasons,” she says. “I like to watch the industry change and grow for the better – and I like to be a part of the reason for that change. I try to help in any way I can, whether it be through attending classes, teaching classes, or competing.”

An outstanding competitor, Darlene was named one of the top competitors in the country two years in a row. While not competing as heavily this year, Darlene feels that “there is nothing like competing. I learn more from the competitions than from any class.”

Much of Darlene’s attention for the past couple of years has been focused on participating in nail associations and education. Recently elected vice president of the local Illinois Cosmetology Association, she has also managed to find time to become an EZ Flow educator.

As if her life were not busy enough, Darlene is in the final stages of opening her own salon, Escape Nail Spa. “It’s bittersweet because I am happy to be opening my own salon, but I am leaving Mary. She is my mentor, we’ve worked together for 12 years – when you work for the best, you can’t go work for someone else. The only option is to open my own salon.” At press time the opening was set for January 2002.

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