Have Gun,Will Airbrush

After five years of working in the commercial loan department at a bank, Dawn Marie Scheper was bored.

After five years of working in the commercial loan department at a bank, Dawn Marie Scheper was bored. Her best friend, who wanted to open her own salon, coaxed her to go to nail school with her. Ironically, her friend never did attend school and Scheper, who knew nothing about nails at the time, ended up opening her own nail salon.

But not just any salon. Scheper specializes in airbrushing.

As owner of Nails By Gunpoint Airbrush Salon in San Jose, Calif., Scheper is awaiting the day when she can offer airbrushing exclusively. She is no longer taking acrylic clients and even though she just opened her salon last April, already 60% of her client base is airbrush only, with many of them scheduling their fill appointment at another salon immediately before their airbrush appointment.

“I’ m an artist at heart, not a nail technician,” admits Scheper, who has a certificate in art history. Aside from artistic reasons, airbrushing is more lucrative, she says. “I can air­brush three clients in the time it takes for me to do a fill and an airbrush.”

Prior to opening her salon, Scheper was a booth renter for about 5 1/2 years doing airbrushing only. Her clients would have one of the other technicians in the salon do their nails, then come to Scheper for airbrushing. But after being in the business for 13 years, Scheper says it was time to move on and grow. “I needed to take a risk and either open my own place or quit doing nails altogether and find a 9-5 job.” The dread of a boring 9-5 job made her take the plunge and open Nails By Gunpoint, which also has an airbrush makeup artist.

Scheper, who has been teaching airbrushing for five years, says anyone can do it. “You don’t have to be artistically inclined because you can learn the technical aspect of airbrushing and be competent. All it takes is lots of practice.

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