Salina did the nails for the cover of NAILS June 2001.

Salina did the nails for the cover of NAILS June 2001.

Salina Rush seemed unstoppable at this year’s AVAs. Winning Salon of the Year, Nail Tech of the Year, and earning first place in the Top 25, Salina made 2001 her best year yet. Not a newcomer to the awards or the competition circuit, Salina was nevertheless surprised to win all three categories at once.

“I made it a goal to be a finalist for the Nail Tech of the Year and Salon of the Year awards, and to place in the Top 25 for five years in row. This is my fifth year being on the list and I wanted to place in the top five,” says Salina. “It’s unbelievable to win all three. I never imagined achieving all three titles in the same year.”

While at a show in November 2000 Salina decided to enter the Nail Tech and Salon of the Year awards – and she spent the next nine months preparing her entries. “I am very passionate about what I do,” she says. “I wanted to reach these goals to inspire my employees and generate revenue for my salon.”

Despite recently moving her salon into a new facility, Salina found the time to prepare her entries, practice her skills, teach continuing education classes at her salon, and compete successfully. “It took hard work and determination,” she says. “I practiced all the time – more so than any other year. I did a lot of backfills, perfected my smile lines, and went over class materials to keep myself mentally prepared.”

All of the extra time and effort Salina put into her competitions were not a hardship for her, however. “Competing is something I’ve always loved to do. I always want to place higher on the list and that keeps me motivated. This year I made it a goal to place in every category I was in at each show – and I did it,” she says.

Educating other techs also gives Salina satisfaction. “I started getting calls from techs who wanted to be mentored and that is how I got into educating. I’m an independent educator. I put the classes together myself and I hold them in my own salon,” says Salina. Teaching classes that range from troubleshooting common problems to competition, Salina likes being able to give her students good information. Competing, however, is what she feels really gives nail techs the upper hand. “Competition is the best educational tool the industry has to offer,” says Salina. “I view it as a stepping stone to higher achievement.”

Achieving all three of her major goals in one year has not made Salina complacent. In fact it created new ambitions for her. Next on her list of goals are remodeling her salon, expanding her services, winning the Educator of the Year award, maintaining a spot on the Top 25, and becoming a competition judge – something she got a taste of this last year and would like to pursue more aggressively next year. “I want to be on the other side of the curtain,” says Salina.

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