The nail business in the U.S. is quite different from the industry in her native Japan, says this month’s Cover Tech, Michiko Matsushita. “First of all, the industry has a much longer history in the U.S. compared to Japan where it’s only been around for about 20 years. Secondly, the nail market is so big, whereas in Japan it’s one-tenth the size,” she says.

For this month’s cover, Matsushita stuck to traditional nail art, recreating a design that earned her first place at the IBS/New York show. Matsushita gets her ideas for nail art from rifling through books and photographs. “I have a library of books at home for future reference,” she explains.

Her win at the IBS show was just one of many for the talented nail tech who burst onto the international competition scene early this year. She took first place honors at both the IBS/New York and Midwest shows, third at Long Beach, and a first an third at ICE Los Angeles. Quite a feat for someone who graduated from nail school just two years ago. Before becoming a nail technician, she taught esthetics and is also a licensed hairstylist.

Matsushita’s greatest professional challenge thus far has been to participate in nail competitions, especially those in the U.S. “In order to be a champion, you need to cope with extreme pressure and have patience. I also studied and practiced constantly, which gave me a progressive outlook on becoming a nail technician,” she says.

Her advice to new technicians entering the competition arena is two simple words: patience and practice. “Do not be discouraged if you loss a couple of times. Try your best to study the fashion trends and gather as much information as possible on nail styles worldwide,” she urges.

Matsushita has gained more than just trophies from her travel experiences. “I have enjoyed exchanging opinions with many nail techs from different countries. The American people I’ve met were especially open and friendly and I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with them,” she says.

She’s not stopping with conquering the U.S. and Japan “One of my dreams for the future is to become a worldwide nail technician,” she confides. Like many of her American colleagues her dream is also to open a full-service salon and spa of her own someday.


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