Elsbeth Grutter-Schutz, a part-time nail technician at Michael Edwards Day Spa and Salon in Villa Park, Calif., is getting the chance to see the world and share valuable information with diverse cultures. As a globetrotting educator for Orly International and Develop 10 she is able to stay up to date with what’s going on in the worldwide nail care industry.

Her secret to success overseas begins with “having the ability to deal with different cultures and understand their way of thinking,” she says. “For example, selling strategies for salon owners and nail technicians in some countries may differ from those in the U.S. I’ve found that a low-key sales pitch using persuasion — not pressure, works best.”

During her most recent overseas trip to a conference on nail, hair, and skin care in the Dominican Republic, Grutter-Schutz found a tremendous hunger for knowledge and education among nail technicians there. She says, “Natural nail care is really starting to grow in the; Dominican Republic. I think it’s because natural nail care products have greatly improved.”

Grutter-Schutz believes that natural nails are the focus of the international nail industry partly because they are much more affordable for clients. In her homeland of Switzerland, Grutter-Schutz says the price for a full set of acrylic nails ranges from the U.S. equivalent of $100-$200, depending on the area, while a natural nail manicure costs $25-$30. “Right now, there is not enough competition to lower the prices,” she says.

Prices for artificial nails are also very high in Japan, says Grutter-Schutz, who has traveled there seven times as an educator. She has seen the growth in natural nails there too. She has also traveled to Israel, where she says there is a tremendous demand for natural nail care products, noting that Israeli women expend a great deal of effort on their beauty, especially for their face and hands.

Next on her agenda are visits to Finland and Russia. In the meantime, she keeps busy doing nails and tending to her hobbies — cartoon drawing and oil portrait painting. Her passion for art led her to a part-time job at Disneyland last summer painting portraits in New Orleans Square.

Her next portrait model? “President Clinton,” she says with a laugh. But until her work of art hangs in the White House, Grutter-Schutz’s goal as a nail technician is to continue delivering quality work in everything she does.

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