Thursday, October 24, 2013

Important Notice about Online Booking

New regulations require written permission for businesses to send text messages to their customers.

In this case-- I am the business and you are the customer. Which means, when you create your profile for the online booking system, YOU HAVE TO CLICK THE LITTLE BOX that gives the system permission to send you text message reminders.

It also means that you have to choose what sort of phone number you are including. The system can't send you a text message if it doesn't know it has your cell number.

These regulations are still fairly new, but I have had several new clients book online since they went into effect who are not filling out this information.

Consequently, I have had a few new clients who haven't "remembered" their appointments and then tell me they didn't get a reminder.

1. It is your responsibility to remember your commitments. Regardless of whether or not you receive any sort of reminder. So when you make an appointment-- with me or anyone/anywhere else-- put it in your calendar.

2. Please be sure you have completed the online form so that the system that does my booking IS ABLE to contact you, including agreeing to receive text messages. If you did not click that box, I will not click it for you, only you can give permission to receive text messages.

3. If this continues to be a problem that results in no shows which, obviously, prevent me from performing services and making a living, I will disable online booking. Which really sucks, because it's been very popular.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nail Pics

custom decals featuring Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe on rockstar acrylic nails
 with a few hand painted leopard spots thrown in.

Ribbon effect in stained glass acrylic.

Classic oval, rockstar acrylics with hand painted hibiscus flowers.

Friday, July 12, 2013

I Can Paint OK Too, I Guess

I have been accused of not having any "talent." These accusations often come from passersby to the website who don't particularly care for my clients' taste in nails...
Not half bad-- given enough time.

 I totally get that my photos are seen by many people from all over the world from many different cultures-- and personal preferences. So it doesn't bother me too much that not everyone likes my work. I get that there are many people out there who feel that "fake nails" are tacky, and that all this rockstar stuff is gaudy. But it's what's popular here and whether or not it reflects my personal preference has little to do with how much fun it is to create the nails, or what my clients want to wear.

I was terrified when she asked for these, I don't love drawing humans.

I often find it odd that so many people fail to take into consideration that I am a professional nail tech, working in a salon, doing nails for a clientelle: the photos you see on display represent the work I do at the request of those clients, not necessarily the designs I would do to show off if I had the time to do nails just for the sake of exhibition.

One client saw the Harry Potter nails and figured I could do anything. 

But back to those accusations of not having talent-- I don't think I'm half bad at what I do. I see a lot of work that I think is far below my level of skillz, but I can also point you in the direction of some mind-blowing talent that I can only dream of being able to emulate half as well as the original. I do know that I have been fortunate enough to earn a living doing what I do for over 20 years now. I'm not sure if that's any indication of "talent," but I'll take what I can get.

I LOVED doing these tiki designs! One of my faves so far.

Right now, in the area where I live and work, Rockstar design continues to be extremely popular. As you can see, I do a lot of glitter and rhinestones in long-- often flared-- "fake" nails. It's what pays the bills, and it's fun to do!

She brought me a print out of some competition art she found online.
This was my version for her 21st birthday trip to Vegas.

I know there are a lot of nail enthusiasts out there who feel that the lack of hand painted design in my current portfolio somehow points to an absence of "talent." So here are some photos of my hand painted work, just for the sake of saving face in the light of these accusations:

From the Ed Hardy craze.

Pretty proud of my Marine Corps emblem from these military themed nails.

Surfer theme nails with matching ring-- I did the ring too, but the ring is 100% acrylic.

School bus themed nails. 
Before the days of my digital camera, I did more cartoon characters and other hand painted scenes and designs... I guess I should scan those.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Nail Pix

hand painted lace design over gel polish

Love this color combo for summer!

Another great summer design. Love these cute little silouette daisies.

I've had a lot of requests for this dark pink nail bed color.

A simple Ombre fade.

the picture does nothing to capture how wild and colorful these are in person!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nail Art for the Summer

These came out pretty darn cute. Such a simple design on pink and whites, but so perfect for summer!
(Yes, she brought me a photo from Pinterest... I don't have the info to give credit to the original.)
 This turned out to be an interesting contrast between the bright and wild orange with stripes and the delicate and feminin French with 3D rose. Overall, I liked it. If I had thought more about it, I would have used a light peach color in the rose instead of the pink to tie in the scheme a little more.

All Kitty!
She loves the Hello Kitty and we just went all out. Came out super cute.

Another bright set. The photo doesn't really show the orange and yellow as bright as they are in real life. It's fun to do these bold colors and graphics.

BTW: You can follow me on Instagram @ArtofNailz.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Flea Market Nails

I'm sure every town around the country has a swap meet. Out here, a lot of folks refer to it as the "flea market." Either way, and no matter how fancy yours might be (I've been to some very nice swap meets in other towns,) there's a good chance that there's at least one booth there selling beauty supplies.

Often you can find tables upon tables of professional salon supplies stretching out before you like some sort of beauty supply heaven.

I get asked a lot why I don't shop at the local flea market for nail supplies.

(insert sound of train wrecking).... WHAAAAA????!!!!!!!

Like, glitter and rhinestones? That sort of nail supplies? Or my monomers and polymers? My light-cured gels? My polishes? Top coats, base coats? Files and buffers?


Ok, ok. Honestly. If I were a consumer, shopping for myself, I probably wouldn't balk at picking up a polish or some files from the swap meet.

But the swap meet is not an appropriate place to purchase professional supplies that are going to be used in the salon on paying clients.

I have no idea where those files came from, how they've been stored, or what they've touched. In California, we are required to treat files and buffers as single-use items. That means they get used once and tossed out. I can give them to the client at the end of the service, but I can't have the client bring it back to use it again. Once it leaves the salon, it is banished forever.

I know this comes as news to a lot of consumers and, sadly, it seems to also come as news to a lot of "professionals" who aren't abiding by the health and safety regulations for the salon industry. But true story-- no re-using files and buffers unless they are made of materials that the State deems disinfectable according to regulations. And then, they have to be disinfected according to those regulations after each use.

So when I buy files and buffers, I want to know that they were shrink wrapped at the factory and haven't been laying around someone's garage or storage unit where mice and cock roaches might have been crawling all over them.

As for chemical products like acrylic liquids and powders (monomer and polymer, respectively;) these products are temperature sensitive and have a shelf life. I want to buy my professional products from a reputable distributor where I can trust the inventory isn't past its prime, hasn't been stored in a warehouse (or garage or some guy's trunk) that gets over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and isn't in directly sunlight.

Not to mention concerns over counterfeit products.

You might see packaging for top name products like CND, OPI, Young Nails and such, but you can't really be sure that the stuff inside those containers is the real deal. Knock offs happen in every product, not just purses and shoes, and the beauty industry is no exception. There are plenty of shady characters out there who have nothing better to do than fill up CND bottles with no-name, generic monomer.

If a quart of real Retention+ monomer costs $85, a quart of knock off product might cost $16. And, if that knock off has been cut with MMA (methyl methacrylate monomer,) which can cost as little as $15 for an entire gallon... well, you start to see how you could sell a knock off product as the real thing at a discount and still end up making a tidy profit.

Problem is, the person who bought the bogus product is now expecting CND Retention+. Expecting all of CND's awesome research and development behind that product, expecting it to perform as Retention+ and expecting it be as safe for the client and the tech who works with it as Retention+.

Same thinking behind any of those "brands" you might find at great prices at the swap meet. Even if it is the real deal... how long has it been sitting on a shelf somewhere? Has that shelf been in direct sunlight for 2 years? Has that shelf been in a warehouse, or a garage, or a storage unit where it reaches 120 degrees every day for 3 months in the summer?

If so, then it doesn't matter that it's the real deal. And it won't matter how great a deal you get on it.

So that's why I don't buy product at the flea mart. I buy my professional products from reputable distributors whom I can trust to have fresh inventory that has been properly stored. And if I do get a bad batch, I know I can return it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Nails

I never said THIS nail lady won't do duckfoot nails!

This set was done on tips (I usually sculpt on forms) but I found these tips and really wanted to try them out.

These are clear, opalescent mylar flake and gold foil on the ring fingers.
Almond shaped nails with gel polish and hand painted leopard print.

 Fun, super blingy rockstar nails with a black French tip.

Pretty simple rockstar nails but with lots of 3D nail art; heart, strawberries, flowers-- all sculpted by hand directly onto the nails, NO pre-made doo-dads.

Kinda Kawaii style (Japanese for "cute," this nail art style has quite a following!)

These are super blingy. The photo came out great, but doesn't show half the shine!Rockstar gel nails with lots of rhinestones. She wore this on her Hawaiian cruise and swears that at least 100 people stopped her to ask about them.
Rockstar nails with 3D Hello Kitty and bow. Yup, I sculpted that Kitty directly onto the nail.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pedicure Progress

 I believe, back before I broke my wrist and spent nearly 10 weeks away from my salon, that I was keeping everyone informed on the progress of the (longer than anticipated) salon remodel project and pedicure expansion. Right?

In 20 years of doing nails, I have spent a lot of time trying to envision my perfect pedicure set up.

Ideally, I would love to have a fully articulating esthetician's chair. Kinda like a dentist chair-- you could lay back as far as you wanted and totally relax while I had fancy controls to raise and lower the chair as I need.

Since I've used a "dry" pedicure method since the late 1990's, this would have worked wonderfully for pedicures without anyone worrying about a foot bath.

However, as it turned out, pedicures have never been my bread-and-butter service. Which is not to suggest that I don't touch my share of tootsies! Oh no! It's just that I live (and work) in an area where people wear flip flops all year round-- which seems stupid, really, since I don't live in southern California where the cold weather might mean it's 9 a.m. before it gets into the 70's.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of folks in Visalia who have their toes on display year-round. So I do a lot of toenail enhancement services: acrylics, gels, rockstar, etc.

This changes what "perfect" is when it comes to a set up for working on toe nails. Since I am working on the nails more than I'm working on the feet.

And since I hope to still be nailing the town when I'm in my late 60's, it's important to come up with a solution that won't leave me dependent on Advil to stand up straight at the end of the day.

I have been racking my brain for the last 10 years, trying to get the plans just right. Because once you invest in building something like this, it's hard to make major changes later.

Then there was a brief period of time when I went back to booth rental in someone else's salon, which meant I didn't have the space or the authority to add such a massive piece of furniture to the decor.

Since moving into my current location, I've been trying to figure out how I could work my idea into the 200 square foot suite I occupy on the 4th floor of the Bank of Sierra building downtown.

I actually had just about figured out an acceptable plan that wouldn't leave us feeling too cramped, when the neighboring office became available.

Which left me in a bit of a dilemma: I really wanted to rent it. I wanted to rent it, have a passage way cut through the wall and create a genuine pedicure room.

On the other hand, doubling my rent didn't make financial sense.

In the long run, I was saved by the hoarding instincts of one of my most cherished neighbors here on the 4th floor, who agreed to split the suite with me.

So the construction began in April (2012) and we spent several weeks buried under fine red dust from the brick walls that had to be cut through to create my passageway to the new room.

The room was divided in two, with an eight foot by 11 foot section becoming the pedicure room, open to the main salon but cut off from the rest of the original suite by an 8 foot wall that still allows air circulation for heat and air.

The rest of the suite remains accessible from the hall way and now houses a refrigerator, a utility sink, and many, many, many shelves and boxes.

Once the room was finished, I found myself a little behind schedule in finding a skilled and reliable carpenter who could bring my vision to life. I met a lot of men who scratched their heads and ultimately said they didn't think they could do what I wanted.

Which seems weird, seeing as how it's basically just a big box. Sure, I'd love to have it all filled with secret compartments for sly storage and stuff, but I realized quickly that it was challenging enough for these guys just to understand the initial concept.

I got lucky again, when a client declared that her hubby was a miraculous carpenter and could "build anything."

I still met with a lot of head scratching, but Paul finally just took my drawings and my measurements and got to work. Even though both his wife and his step-daughter repeatedly reported that he wasn't exactly sure what it was he was doing.

Well. It came out stunning. He brought all the pieces into the salon and put it all together inside the room. He left it naked so that I could decide how I wanted it finished-- in the long run, the BF and I decided on dark stain that would match the old-fashioned cabinetry that's already common in the building.

This is a pedicure bench. They've become quite popular in many salons through out the world. Usually, they are plumbed, with foot baths on that lower platform. However, aside from the logistical nightmares of running plumbing through the walls and into the unit, I prefer to do waterless pedicures. They're cleaner, simpler, and require less challenging disinfection procedures; I promise to post a full story about the method in the future. I also need that platform space for doing enhancement services, so much easier when clients have a place to rest their feet naturally.

Of course; once the whole thing was put into place, there are a few minor things I wish I would have done differently and a few modifications I'll be making in the future. But, mostly, I'm very happy with it and so are my clients.

Now: you can see in this picture that it still needs some upholstery work done. This would be done now if I hadn't busted my wrist and spent all my money on medical bills. The bench is actually surprisingly comfortable without cushions-- to me and my 5 year old niece anyway.

Soon, the bench seat will get cushions and the wall behind the bench with also get cushioned. It'll be more like sitting in a booth at a restaurant than like sitting on a picnic table at the park.

It is high. This gets the work area up to my level so I neither have to sit on an extremely low stool nor stoop over with my head between my knees like Schroeder playing his piano to reach the toenails I'm working so diligently on beautifying.

It also gives the client a great view of downtown Visalia from their throne-like perspective.

You can see I had it built to seat two-- when you commission a project like this, you think ahead! You can bring a friend to hang out with you, I might hire an assistant someday, or I could double up and easily move back and forth between clients if your friend decides on a service of her own. Believe me, I thought of these things in advance!

What I didn't prepare for was how long the whole project was going to end up taking-- especially with the set back of the broken wrist. So pedicures are not on the menu yet. I still have to get the upholstery and the foot rests added, and then I have to decide on which hot towel cabinet I'm going to settle on.

My regulars have been more than willing to enjoy the new bench, but I'm hesitant to invite new visitors in, only to introduce them to an unfinished project... that seems tacky.

But I do want to let everyone know what the current state of progress is and what it looks like now. And hopefully, I've given you some idea of how the bench works.

I'm looking forward to posting a run through of how the waterless pedicure works as soon as the finishing touches have been added!

Should be just in time for sandal season-- if you're one of the few people who actually put your sandals away in the winter!