In 1994 a nail technician sat staring at her computer screen and wondered, “How can I use this thing to help other nail technicians?” What she concluded was there had to be a way to connect nail technicians who couldn’t get to trade shows, didn’t know other nail professionals, and needed help. When Debbie Doerrlamm launched she also launched a revolution ... a revolution whose effects will be felt for a long time to come. She created a way for nail professionals to consult with each other, anywhere in the world, anytime of day. She brought people together in an entirely new way, What has happened on the Internet brought a new kind of power to individual nail technicians because it is a new way to communicate, whether they live in rural towns or big cities, whether they have access to shows or distributors.

There have been lots of people in the nail industry who’ve invented products, developed gadgets, improved systems, and generally made the industry a better place for nail professionals. There have been nail technicians who have lobbied legislatures for better laws, organized associations for the common good, and started magazines to help communicate to the industry. But what Debbie did was give nail technicians a voice — and an ear. What developed after those early formative years of is a forum for sharing ideas and communicating by a powerful group of nail professionals whose influence is in some ways more potent than organized associations.

In 2001, those nail technicians stared at their own computers and tried to think of ways to convey to this special woman the impact she has had on their lives, and to say thank you. In August, at a breakfast in Orlando, Fla., many of these nail technicians, some of whom wouldn’t recognize each other in a crowd, presented Debbie with a bound copy of their missives of gratitude. She was overcome, and for a time, speechless. A humble person, Debbie underplays her role as revolutionary leader. But the rest of us don’t Debbie, you are a true industry pioneer, and a dear friend.

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