Behind the Scenes: Leticha Hughes

<p>Leticha Hughes was this month's cover tech and she did fellow tech's Stephanie Bricker's nails.</p>More than 16 years ago, Leticha Hughes was a full-time dental assistant with three small children. Her dilemma? She needed to find a job that allowed her to have a more flexible schedule so she could accommodate the needs of her children. Alter doing a little homework on the link between dental acrylic and artificial nails, and experimenting with acrylic nail products using her five sisters as guinea pigs, Hughes found she really enjoyed doing nails. Her new-found interest led her to nail school, and after graduating, site found that as a nail technician she could make just as much money as a dental assistant in half the time.

A lot has changed in the nail industry since Hughes, a booth renter at Stefano’s Etc. in Eagle Rock, Calif., first started in the business. “Service prices have gone down because of the competition with discount salons,” she says. But Hughes says she has been able to retain her clientele for years: “I’m very professional, practice good sanitation habits, and educate my clients about the products.”

Another direction the nail industry has taken these days, says Hughes, is that no matter what slate the economy is in, professional women are willing to spend the money to have their nails look nice.

Although Hughes offers her clients all types of nail services, she fancies fiberglass. She fell in love with the product at a beauty tradeshow. “Fiberglass is great for clients who can’t wear acrylics,” she says. Hughes is one of the few technicians in Eagle Rock who offers fiberglass. “Sometimes nail technicians are afraid to try something new and to challenge themselves,” she says.

<p>For our overhead cover angle, our photographer stood on a six-foot ladder to capture cover model/nail tech Stephanie Bricker.</p>As an educator for Star Nail Products for the past seven years, Hughes has worked with hundreds of nail technicians, helping them enhance their technical skills and grow their businesses. “It’s a satisfying feeling knowing that you’re helping other technicians as well as learning yourself,” she says.

For Hughes, a self-proclaimed people-person, being a nail technician has been a stress-free occupation. “You shouldn’t feel pressured if you schedule your appointments correctly,” she says.

Though a part of her has always wanted to go back to school to become a dental hygienist, Hughes says it’s hard to pull away from the beauty industry where the sky’s the limit as far as how much money you can make. “Right now,” she says, “I wouldn’t trade my job for the world.” Lucky for her client.



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