RUNNER UP: Nail Technician of the Year

[left] for Gari-Dawn Tingler, being involved in the nail industry doesn’t just mean doing someone’s nails. It also means teaching others to do the best set of nails they possibly can. [right] And while we’re on the subject of nails, Gari-Dawn likes to showcase her handiwork on her business cards. It’s just one more way of letting people know just how seriously she takes her job.

A Passion for Education

Salon: Designs-N-Dimensions

Location: Kansas City, Mo.

Years doing nails: 11

Specialties: Sculptured pink and whites, nail art

Accomplishments: Attends at least 15 trade shows a year because, according to her; “Once you stop learning you stop growing,” placed ninth in NAILS’ Top 25 Competitors of 1999, 1997-1998 director of the Missouri Association of Cosmetology School

Why she stands out: Gari-Dawn definitely has a full plate. As director of education for EZ Flow Nail Systems, she’s constantly travelling all over the globe with the sole purpose of educating other nail technicians about proper product use. In fact, she wasn’t able to attend the Salon of the Year Awards because she was in Australia working for EZ Flow. And she trains nail techs to conduct product classes and continuing education classes and implements training courses for new educators.

Gari-Dawn is also a consultant and substitute cosmetology instructor at Paris II Educational Center in Kansas City, Mo. Implementing two nail program curriculums at the school that are NACCAS approved. She also developed a testing program to prepare nail techs for national exams and developed practical training to include manicuring, pedicuring, and all aspects of artificial nails.

Despite her busy schedule, Gari-Dawn still finds time to take on clients. And she’s made a commitment with them in mind: “I have a commitment to learn all there is to learn about nails and apply it to my clients, my salon practices, and teaching.”

And she doesn’t just act as a nail tech. She also plays friend and confidante to her clients. “I have held their hands and silently given clients a sense of security that they come to depend on,” she says.

Ultimately, inspiring others is what Gari-Dawn says is the ultimate reward. “If I can inspire a single nail technician in the industry today, that technician would understand the value of education and know that it is one of the best careers in the world,” she says.

RUNNER UP: Nail Technician of the Year

[left] In all that she does, Darlene ferric strives to five it her best. She’s an accomplished nail technician and a first-rate competitor who says sculptured pink-and-white nails [right] are what she likes to do the most. Despite her busy schedule, she still devotes plenty of time to her three children, who, like Darlene, love to compete in everything from beauty pageants to dirt bike races.

Setting the Example

Name: Darlene Feric

Salon: Awesome Nails

Location: Grayslake, Ill.

Years doing nails: 13

Specialties: Pink-and-whites, gel nails

Accomplishments: Elected second vice president of the Illinois Cosmetology Association; co-founded and is co-chair of the Nail Education Team, the first nails organization in Lake County, Ill.

Why she stands out: Darlene does nails and also manages the salon. She also handles internal operating finances, advertising, phone bills, and other tasks.

Client are #1 in Darlene’s eyes. She makes it a point to greet them with a smile and a hello, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her clients happy, from staying in late to coming in early, or even doing the nails for an entire bridal party.

“As a manager, I feel I must set an example for the other nail techs in the salon,” she says. One incident that shows just how seriously she takes her job is the time the salon’s furnace broke, filling the room with fumes. Darlene called the fire department, spoke with the landlord, rented space heaters, and waited on Christmas Eve for the new furnace to be installed. The salon’s owner was out of the state, so Darlene took it upon herself to get things done. In the meantime, clients were greeted by nail techs decked in their warmest winter coats.

She also is serious about sanitation. She always makes sure clients scrub their hands and nails with a brush that is kept in disinfectant and antibacterial soap, she cleans and disinfects her pedicure stations with Cavicide between each client, and she has an exhaust fan at her table. Besides doing nails in the salon, Darlene is an avid competitor; managing to be named one of the top competitors in the country two years in a row. This year, she’s made it more of a point to take part in nail associations. She’s co-founder and co-chairperson of the Nail Education Team and she is actively involved with the Illinois Cosmetology Association, where she acts as second vice president.

Community involvement is something clear and near to Darlene’s heart. She commits her community by making donations to a variety of organizations. She and the other nail techs at Awesome Nails have also held clothing drives at the salon to benefit the needy.

RUNNER UP: Salon of the Year [5+ Nail Technicians]

[left] Each of the 16 nail stations are equipped with telephones and a state-of-the-art ventilation system that “sweeps” fumes out of the salon. [right] Salon owners Megan Arambula (left) and Karen Lampani make sure that every member of their staff -  who are all booth renters – works well together and gets along, despite the fact that they are all their own boss.

Family Values

Salon: Patrick’s Salon

Location: Lansing, Mich.

Owners: Megan Arambula and Karen Lampani

Years in Business: 2

Specialties: acrylics

Why they stand out: Megan Arambula and Karen Lampani have created such a superior or salon that they’ve made it into the finalist category of these wards two year in a row. The 4,000-square-foot full-service salon has a staff that includes 16 nail technicians, four receptionists, and a massage therapist. Approximately 2,200 clients enter the salon per week. “It’s unique for a salon our size to be family owned,” Karen and Megan say. “Our staff are all independent contractors and it’s unique to have this many females all work under the same roof, who are their own boss, and still get along so well.”

In September 1998, Megan and Karen expanded Patrick’s into its current location, making it one of the premiere salons in the area. But even though the salon has expanded its service offerings, nails are still very much at the forefront. In fact, whirlpool pedicures have become the salon’s most profitable and fastest-growing service since they moved into their current its own state-of-the-art ventilation system that sweeps fumes out of the salon. In addition, every station is equipped with a phone to help receptionists stay in their area and help clients while still being able to communicate with the staff. The salon has a weekly newsletter informing staff members of new products, events, and changes taking place, and Megan and Karen hold staff meetings every three months. In addition to offering manicures and pedicures, the salon recently branched out to become a photo studio. On a bimonthly basis, the salon schedules a full day for clients to glamorize themselves for a photo shoot. After all, say the owners, what better place than a salon to make sure your nails, hair, and makeup look camera ready!

Patrick’s annually participates in a variety of charity events in their community.

Patrick’s goes above and beyond the Michigan State Board of Cosmetology’s laws of sanitation and hygiene by using an autoclave for sterilizing skin-cutting implements. It’s salon policy that nail technicians and clients wash their hands before all services and each station provides educational materials on sanitation for clients.

Much of Awesome Nails’ success can be attributed to their close relationships – they even take their Harley motorcycles out for rides together. Owner Mary Metscaviz (far right) opened the salon two years ago with the help of her longtime friend Darlene Feric (third from right).

Making It Happen

Salon: Awesome Nails

Location: Grayslake, Ill.

Owner: Mary Metscaviz

Years in Business: 2

Specialties: pink-and-whites

Why they stand out: Although salon owner Mary Metscaviz has been in the nail industry for nearly 25 years, it wasn’t until two years ago that she opened her own salon – Awesome Nails in Grayslake, Ill. – along with her longtime friend and NailTech of the Year runner-up Darlene Feric. Her knowledge of the industry is evidenced by Awesome Nails’ semi-finalist standing in NAILS’ 1999 Salon of the Year awards – just one year after opening her salon. She started the salon with just two nails technicians, herself and Feric. As business began to grow, she brought on two more nail technicians. Now the salon has six nail techs – all independent contractors. To keep up-to-date on the latest products and techniques, the staff of Awesome Nails regularly attends trade shows and classes. They even go one step further in keeping abreast of the industry – they are involved in various beauty associations. In addition, Metscaviz and her nail technicians compete together in nail competitions. “Competing has brought our skill levels to new heights. We always try to achieve the perfect nail on each client. Clients come from as far away as 60 miles because the service they receive at Awesome Nails cannot be duplicated at another salon,” says Metscaviz.

Even after 24 years in the industry, Metscaviz’s enthusiasm for nail s hasn’t waned. The salon participates in local events including the Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing Grayslake Summer Days Parade, Miss Grayslake Pageant, and coaching for the Grayslake Colts Cheerleading Squad. The salon also belongs to the Chicago Cosmetology Association, National Cosmetology Association, and the Illinois Nail Technicians Association. Metscaviz regularly attends functions for these associations, which she says increases her knowledge in nail technology skills, new products and services, business management, networking finance, and people skills.

RUNNER UP: Salon of The Year [1-4 Nail Technicians]

[left] Barbara Byrd Eve was excited to be named a runner-up in the Salon of the Year [1-4 technicians] category. Here she stands with the Nailco Group’s Larry Gaynor after accepting her certificate. [right] When Barbara set out to decorate The Regency, she decided to keep the look in tune with the town’s reputation as a haven for antiques. She even stained the manicure tables herself to match the warm burgundy and navy color scheme.

Quaint & Homey

Salon: The Regency

Location: Lebanon, Ohio

Owner’s Name: Barbara Byrd Eve

Years of Ownership: 5 in June

Specialties: Regency Pedicure, hand facial

Why it stands out: Being a nail technician and salon owner is actually Barbara Byrd Eve’s second career. She was in the insurance business for 18 years and had moved away from her hometown of Lebanon, Ohio. While in that occupation, she booked an appointment for her first professional nail service for her wedding. She decided that she enjoyed it so much she wanted to take it one step further and actually do nails.

After getting her license she worked in a salon for a few years, but she knew she wanted a place she could call her own. So she did her homework and found out that her hometown of Lebanon was the perfect place to open a nail-focused salon. At the time, most of the salons there were focusing on hair. The building which she had always admired when she was a child, had actually housed apartments before she moved in. She converted the former apartment building into a comfortable homey salon.

When The Regency opened its doors in June 1996, the salon only featured tanning services. Then, a few weeks later, nail services – the backbone of the salon – joined the offerings on The Regency’s menu. Barbara not only oversees the business, she also works as a nail tech about, 45 hours a week. She employs three nail techs, all of whom are salaried.

Although The Regency may have spa-like offerings, the salon goes out of its way to give clients a warm and cozy environment where pampering is the norm. The salon’s two-story façade gives way for the homelike atmosphere clients swear they’re entering. The antique décor matches the town’s reputation as a haven for antiques. And although the town is small, the antique shops draw many tourists.

Community involvement, sanitation, and customer service are the core of this salon’s operation, with one client attesting, “The inviting setting and quality personnel encourages repeat clients and ensures an enjoyable experience for new ones.” Now that The Regency is fast approaching its fifth anniversary, the year most businesses either make it or break it, Barbara says she sees no end in sight.

[left] Nail Spa is a nails-only salon that boasts exemplary sanitation practices, customer service, and total teamwork. [right] One of the benefits of working at Nail Spa is that owner Sherry Storie-Russ (front left) encourages members of her team to attend events and classes – she even brought several employees with her to the awards ceremony and to compete in the Great Lakes Beauty Show nail competitions.

Teaching Them Well

Salon: Nail Spa

Location: Mokena, Ill.

Owner’s Name: Sherry Storie-Russ

Years of Ownership: 3 in June

Specialties: complete hand and foot care

Why it stands out: Education is a key part of Nail Spa’s philosophy and has been since its inception. Opened three years ago by Sherry Storie-Russ, Nail Spa in Mokena, Ill., is a paradigm for education not only for the salon’s clients, but for its employees as well.

Nail Spa embraces a “Masters Teaching Masters” attitude, as they believe that every staff member possesses specific talents that every other staff member can benefit from. Sherry requires each technician to attend regular continuing education seminars, and she brings educators into the salon to ensure her technicians receive the latest in techniques and product knowledge. The evidence of this is the long list of continuing education classes her staff has taken in the three short years they’ve been in business. Couple this with their salon menu, which features a wide variety of the latest trends in nail and foot care, and you have a salon that is obviously interested in keeping abreast of what is important in the industry.

A “house” account is provided to pay for continuing education and trade shows. Employees may even have their retail sales commission deposited into a Personal Growth Account, at which time Nail Spa will match the amount. All of this, combined with a great team atmosphere and a fresh, sunny salon décor, clearly makes Nail Spa a preferred destination for its clients.

On their first visit, clients are handed educational material specifically related to the Nail Spa and its services. The brochures answer questions such as “How long will a Nail Spa manicure or pedicure last?” and “What are the main advantages of nail enhancements?”

The nail technicians at Nail Spa also provide clients pamphlets on MMA, explaining the health risks associated with MMA. The salon was even featured in a local newspaper article entitled, “What’s Your Nails?” in which the dangers of MMA were outlined. Sherry and her staff were also given kudos for their work with their state cosmetology board and associations to stop MMA use. Clearly, Nail Spa is on the fore-front of education.



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