Natural Nails

Behind the Scenes: Reflections of an Artist (April 2012 Cover Nails)

Maggie Franklin creates blue raindrop nail art with Swarovski crystals. Here's the step-by-step.

<p>Photography by Vu Ong</p>

Maggie Franklin has been ­doing nails for 20 years. She’s been a booth renter, an ­employee, a true independent contractor, a salon owner with employees, and she currently works on her own at her salon The Art of Nailz on the fourth floor of an office building in Visalia, ­Calif. She says, “I love my ivory tower! Being in the office hasn’t affected the way I do business. I’ve always preferred to promote externally, using marketing that reaches beyond my storefront to draw clients to me. So losing the storefront was easy for me.”

<p>The team behind the cover: art director Danielle Parisi, photographer Vu Ong, model Jenna Chang, nail tech Maggie Franklin, and editor Hannah Lee.</p>

With most of her clients having standing appointments, she’s not one to encourage walk-in traffic. “I find it really stressful knowing I have reserved appointments on my book and then I have to tell a walk-in client that I can’t accommodate her because I know I’ll be busy in 20 minutes. She’s looking at me thinking I’m just lazy or don’t want to do her nails. I hate turning customers away,” says Franklin. But there’s another reason why she’s not big on walk-ins. “I find that walk-in business tends to always be walk-in business. It’s rare when a walk-in client becomes a regular who schedules in advance and keeps those appointments. I just find they are two different styles of customers and I can’t accommodate both.

<p>Maggie Franklin&rsquo;s clients know she loves doing nail art. She says 40% of her business is acrylic, 30% is traditional gel, and 30% is gel-polish. And most of her clients wear some sort of nail art most of the time.</p>

“That being said, I have never had more walk-in traffic than I do on the fourth floor of a semi-secure building with no signage. Between the neighbors in the building, referrals, the Internet — I’m not sure if there’s one specific factor — more people pop in to see if I’m busy here than in the eight years I had my salon right next door to a convenience store/gas station.”

Almost four years ago, NAILS asked Maggie to join our blog team after seeing her involvement on several nail sites and forums. We found her sense of humor and frankness to be refreshing and thought we could give her a larger forum to express her opinions on the nail industry. She shares her likes (and dislikes) on the NAILS blog Maggie Rants [and Raves]. Between the blog, her website, and her Facebook page, she says she probably spends about three hours a week maintaining her web presence.

<p>Franklin brought rhinestones in practically every shape, size, and color. She used a variety of sizes and shades of blue for our raindrop nails.</p>

When I asked Maggie about the biggest accomplishment in her nail career, I loved her answer: “I think the first things that come to mind are the same things other techs tend to say — getting to do the cover of NAILS, blogging for NAILS (super awesome!), making it to the top 10 list for the Nailpro Cup — but if I step back and stop looking at the things that make me feel like I have something to brag about to other nail techs, my answer would be different. My biggest accomplishment is that I do nails. For a living. For 20 years. Our industry has a high turnover rate, there’s a lot of competition, and personal friends and family are often less than supportive of making a go at a career they feel is inferior to my intellect and abilities (and often fails to provide a stable livelihood). The fact that I’m still here, covered in dust at the end of the day, is awesome. And I wouldn’t have been able to collect that list of ‘bragging rights’ if I hadn’t been doing nails to begin with.”

Here's how you can do these nails:

1. Perform a natural nail manicure. Polish the nails with OPI's I Don't Give a Rotterdam from the company's spring 2012 Holland collection.

2.-6. using top coat as adhesive, apply genuine Swarovski crystals in varying shades of blue to simulate raindrops.

Step-by-step photography by Kimberly Pham

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Maggie's Blog: Maggie Rants [and Raves]

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