Shellie Lucke just laughs when she’s asked how she ever finds time to breathe. As a salon owner, nail technician, educator, and nail product distributor in Bueren, Germany, Lucke has her hands full every day. (She recently found time to add one more thing to her “to-do” list: assisting with the German translations for the 1995 NAILS International Issue.) And at night, Lucke’s 1 ½ -year-old daughter, Jacqueline, keeps her on her toes.
Until last year, Lucke had happily owned a large salon in Duisburg, Germany. But as many successful working moms do, she reassessed her priorities. “I sold the salon because running the distributorship and teaching classes take up to most of my time, “ she says. “I now have a small salon – or ‘studio,’ as we call it – in Bueren, with a classroom for teaching new technicians.” Both her salon and her distributorship are called Tailored Nails. She also has a warehouse nearby, plus an office near Dresden, where her partner, Heiko Tietze, is located.
“He and his teaching staff travel through half of reunited Germany educating,” she adds.
When things get too hectic, Lucke stops a moment to remember why she first got into the nail business 12 years ago. “I got started doing nails through my mother, Sandra Bauer, who has been doing nails for almost 30 years now. I always watched my mother work, and I was always fascinated with nails,” says Lucke, who was born in Colorado and grew up in Long Island, N.Y. “there was no licensing at that time, and when we moved to Fort Myers, Fla., in 1986, licensing at that time was just being initiated.” It was an exciting time ion the nail industry, Lucke remembers.
Having watched and taken mental notes while her mother built a nail business over the years. Lucke decided to take the plunge and become a nail technician, too. A few year later, she met Doris Weskamp, a German nail technician based in the United States who presented a challenge Lucke couldn’t resist. After hearing Weskamp talk about nail care opportunities in Germany, Lucke packed her suitcase and her nail files for a move far from Fort Myers. “I decided to come to Germany for a year to see what it was like,” she says. She started out as a technician in Cologne, moving on in 1989 to Dūsselorf, where she started a distributorship with a friend while working evenings in the friend’s salon. A year later, Lucke moved on to Duisburg to open Tailored Nails salon and distributorship.
THE QUEST FOR PERFECTION
“The nail business her, while very advanced, is still in its ‘baby shoes,” Lucke explains. But despite the relative newness of the nail business in Germany, Lucke’s clients expect the best, she says. “German clients are very demanding and want absolute perfection. This creates very high standards in most salons,” she says. Lucke’s clientele consist mostly of professional women. “Client want absolutely natural looking nails that hold up well!” she emphasizes.
Fortunately, once satisfied, Lucke’s customer are lavish in their praise. “Although most clients are reserved at first,” she says, “they don’t skimp on compliments when you give them beautiful nails!”
Lucke also works with an occasional client who just wants to have some fun. “My youngest client was 5 years old,” she says. “He requested a hand painted Mickey Mouse on one thumb and handpainted Minnie Mouse on the other – and he got it!” And Lucke was well-compensated for her efforts: “He paid for it with lots of hugs and kisses.”