I’m Stephanie Loesch, also known as @_stephsnails_ on Instagram. I’ve been a nail designer all of my adult life, watching trends come, go, change and become something evolutionary.
Working as a nail artist is like living in a dream and every day, I push myself to create new beautiful designs. These tiny masterpieces make my heart beat faster and my brain explode with creativity.
I also have a passion for teaching and encouraging new artists to step outside the box and reach for the sky. Seeing nail art change and grow wouldn’t be what it is without the many artists out there today. Instagram, along with magazines and other forums, have become like a museum of fine art in the nail industry and I am beyond blessed to be a part of it. Nail art, the countless trends, endless creativity and being a nail designer is what completes me as @_stephsnails_.
Imagination was required for this week’s challenge, and I did not disappoint. I created my version of Nailandia and I couldn’t be more excited to share with the world.
I am a realist so when asked to create something that could potentially come to life I wanted to do just that. I wanted something achievable yet fun. What better than mini golf? This is a favorite quaint activity my grandmother used to take my sister and I to as kids all the way to adulthood. It’s something everyone is willing to try no matter their age. So it was a perfect fit for Nailandia in my eyes.
I created a nail related version featuring a Shellac gel polish windmill tower with functioning magnetic golf ball. Why did the golfer need a new pair of pants? Because he got a hole in one! Now jokes aside I was trying to achieve what could potentially be real.
Nailandia to me is a place that would have “resort like” feels with a spa and conference rooms for further nail education. Even though the main focus would be educational we need a little fun and one more reason to visit Nailandia so why not mini golf and hot air balloon rides? Sounds like fun to me! A nail themed golf course sounds like a dream and the hot air balloon rides can represent how the sky is the limit! These two fun activities combined with a pool, teaching areas and a spa sounds like a nail techs dreams come true.
My inspiration was part past experiences and part looking for something that can be similar to the nail cruises that happen every few years. I hope you enjoyed watching what I’ve created and hearing why I chose this direction for Nailandia. Cannot wait for challenge number 6, this has been by far some of the most creative achievements that I have accomplished as a nail tech!
“‘You must be the change you want to see in this world” -Gandhi.
I really dove deep into this week’s challenge. I was beyond excited that we had the freedom to choose our own challenge in a sense and I could not wait to push myself for growth and change.
I looked through CND’s past ad campaigns and found the perfect one for me! I decided to go with the summer 2018 shellac collection called Boho Spirits. This made sense to me because there were so many ideas I drew immediately from just the name and could correlate them back to myself. One of the main reasons was in a sense, style, decor and fashion.
Nail art has been my main love for so much of my life, but I also have a passion for interior design and after buying my first house four years ago, that love has only grown. When thinking about popular decor trends, boho jumps to the top of the list. In boho decor you see lots of cacti which ultimately reminds me of where I was born in Mesa, Arizona. See what I mean? This ad campaign was made for me!
When thinking about spirits I was led to want to create a dreamcatcher. They’ve been around my whole life, peaking in popularity in the 90s when I was born. I’ve always admired their beauty, each one being as unique as people, never two the same. Dreamcatchers can mean good luck, the circle of life and they ward off bad spirits while dreaming. All things I can use in NTNA!
Lastly I was inspired by a bird to represent freedom and reaching endless heights in my design skills, but also the mandala print. One of the mandala’s symbolization is how everything is connected which brings challenge #4 full circle for me! Everything that is meant to be, will be.
Click on the nail art image above in order to see additional images from each contestant.
Let’s talk a minute about all things celestial and lunar, what comes to mind? Planets, the moon, galaxies, stars, maybe even aliens? Well for Challenge Three, I really stepped up my game and created something extraordinarily CELESTIAL.
Using Brisa Gel and Shellac Gel Polish I created a plethora of all things lunar. I made a Solar Oil themed planet on one thumb and a cluster of stars (diamonds) with the moon on the other thumb.
Before I got started, I went searching for inspiration on the internet. I found a few images that spoke to my soul and mapped out a plan. I love to draw out my designs and watch them come to life as I execute them one by one. The Brisa Gel was relatively easy to use for my first time ever playing with a sculpting gel and the Shellac color brought to life my inspiration picture vibes. The set of nails I have created for challenge three may be a little out there, but in challenge two review, Winnie told us to jump off the cliff so here I am!
Designing this set was fun to say the least. I chose a few painted designs to help represent that part of people who think of astrology and tarot cards when mentioning space. I used a few diamonds and charms at the lunula to help elevate these designs. I also used a crushed rock that reminded me of moon rocks or meteors.
I had a lot of fun creating stars, clouds, the solar oil planet and the sun. At each base of the nail there is something extra special! A large stone to represent a moon stone, moons, a falling star and so much more! Everything I could think of that was space themed was somehow, way, shape or form made and stuck onto this set!
Wow, this week and challenge number two was one for the books. I stepped outside my normal realm creating this fashion inspired look. I ended up picking a Moral Standards look by Olga Ochkas that had me racking my brain for the perfect wearable fashion nails I could create!
I started my look with a medium coffin set of nails and painted a mixture of black and white nails. I also mixed Shellac white and top coat to give a few of the nails a sheer look. This was to represent her stockings. I spent some time finding the perfect spots to give a “stitched” look, too, and ending up loving the placement. I also chose a few nails to look like the corset with the 3D collars that I made from Plexigel and painted with black Shellac.
For the flowers I wanted it to look similar, but not perfect like the flowers on her dress. The reason I chose not to mimic them completely was to avoid them looking too cartoon like. I opted for a messy look that showcased perfectly on these tiny surfaces.
I then had to choose where and what types of embellishments would resemble the chains in this Moral Standards dress. I chose to continue the mockup of the collar on the corset and add a few chains and jump rings there. Then I had a random piece of diamond chain and knew I had to use it, so I picked two nails and went for it. I wanted a few nails to have chains that dangled freely and some that were fastened in place. I used Brisa Gel Builder for all the securing of embellishments and Plexigel for all things 3D. I made a few flower petals and attached them to the diamond chain and a Plexigel version of the bottom of her dress ruffles. I finished the set off with a bow and medallion. This challenge was so much fun, and all the products were easy to work with– looking forward to challenge 3!
Challenge one was nothing short of a mind twister. Thoughts running across my mind, over analyzing every detail, wondering if the challenge was supposed to be about me or CND. In the end I chose words that represent me and my journey, but which I also feel do CND justice as a brand that has grown to be a worldwide leader in the industry.
Captivate: I chose this word because it embodies what I try and do on a daily basis and where I began. Starting my career my main concern was captivation. Using my skills on each nail set and taking a moment to capture the art I created to fascinate clients and future clients. My main goal was to get them to be more adventurous with their nails, in turn advancing my skills one set at a time. I captivated each moment through pictures that I posted on social media to grow my audience. Same can be said for most brands, captivating their target market into wanting to buy their products. The camera represents this word for me, and the negative space lens shows endless possibilities.
Nostalgia: This word is so much more than just a word; it also represents time. Over time we go through trends, phases, styles, shapes and more to gain inspiration. I am always looking back on past trends, improving my skills and trying to predict what will be next, just as a brand would reflect back on popular time periods to develop future beloved products. The plaid, star, clouds, years, drips, rainbow and paint splatter represent multiple time periods and trends that are nostalgic.
Determined: Determination is always a huge factor in where you are going and how fast you’ll get there. The desert represents how hard things can be and the flower represents growth in the harshest of conditions.