The beauty industry in the UK is worth £17 billion a year – and it is growing. Many surveys that suggest that many women spend up to £450 a year keeping their nails looking their best.
Nail Art – Not a Modern Invention
Painted nails in Ancient Egypt were a symbol of someone’s social standing
Humans have been painting their nails, fingers and toes for millennia. Ancient Chinese and Egyptians are thought to have been amongst the first to get creative with their nails.
The Chinese would apply an enamel to their for a delightful pink finish, whilst the Egyptians used nail colour to denote social status. The higher classes wore deep, rusty reds with an overtone of luscious gold. The colours were derived from the juices of crushed berries including the henna plant.
The Inca civilisation decorated their nails with art, using eagle prints as their preferred artistic pattern.
Painting nails remained part of many cultures for centuries, but it was in the 19th century that manicures took off as a must-have feature of a lady’s toilette.
With the Industrial Revolution came new techniques and substances, including automobile paint. It was a French make-up artist who first used small amounts of car paint to create shiny, painted nails, and from this idea came nail polish. In fact, this early example of nail polish helped to launch the Revlon cosmetics company in 1932.
As the decades past, the colours became a symbol of the changing society, and by the 21st Century statement nails coloured to fit a mood, outfit and occasion became the norm.
The must-have nail polish colour for this summer is
Palm Tree Green, an intense, moody green
And this is where you come in! Nail art is no longer just about a block colour. It is about fun designs, elaborate detail and patterns, with many stunning examples of 3-D nail art coming to the fore.
With more women (and men!) taking care of their appearance, your skills as a nail artist will be in demand. That said, completing a nail art course is one thing, but running your own business is another.
With these hints and tips, you can supercharge your career as a nail artist and enjoy a fantastic income as well as varied career. But how?
Part 1 – Nail Art Qualifications
There are some who say that with nothing more than a creative flair and artistic talent, nail artistry is something that you start immediately, but most experts agree that you need formal training to succeed.
Maybe your skills are already in demand. Friends and family may turn to you for help in beautifying their nails for special events and nights out.
Offering your services on an informal basis to family and friends every now and then is all well and good, but when it comes to offering your services for payment to members of the public, you are entering a different arena.
Artistic flair should be combined with recognised qualifications and public liability insurance cover so if anything does happen (adverse reaction to chemicals used or a cut finger) you are covered.
As well as insurance cover, having a recognised qualification means that your customers will have confidence in your abilities and that you can deliver the services and products that you say you can.
Nail Art Techniques
As demand for nail care has increased, nail technicians and companies have developed an increasing range of products to satisfy demand. With your creative outlook, you can create stunning and unique nail art designs for clients.
- Gel nails
Possibly the most popular form of manicure is the gel nail. Gel nails involve the application of a special gel polish to the nail, which is then set using UV light. There is a growing range of colours and designs.
- Acrylic nails
These have a faster curing time than gel nails and have been the staple of the beauty industry for decades. A mix is applied to the natural nail and then shaped. Hardening when coming into contact with air, acrylics make the ideal hard surface to paint and create amazing nail art.
- Foil nails
Creating nail art is about pushing the boundaries of creativity, and foil nails are the ideal eye-catching nail art design. Anything that glitters is sure to attract attention and these foil transfers are the perfect solution. Hard wearing, the foil transfers are cut to shape and then applied, held in place by special foil glue. Once applied, the top layer is peeled away and a protective layer of clear nail varnish is applied.
- Nail piercing
Nail piercing has been pushing the boundaries in recent times. A small hole is made in the tip of the nail (usually acrylic or a gel nail, but can also be natural nail tips too) and a small decorative accessory inserted.
- Nail art pens
Nail art is advancing all the time, which is why so many people want to be nail art technicians. Nail art pens are a handy device that allows images, patterns, colours and textures to be applied with ease. As a nail art technician, this means that you can create completely unique nails for your clients each and every time.
- 3D nail art
We have already mentioned the current trend for 3D nail art, and we think it is here to stay. Miniature accessories are being made and added to nails, raising the flat designs to 3D ones. Beaded nails are common, with some people adding feathers and other accessories to elevate the drama.
Part 2 – Practice and Expand Your Skill Set
Nail art is a skill, and for anyone who is creative, you will have no shortage of ideas. That said, it takes practice. The canvas on which you work – the individual nail, natural or otherwise – is small.
As well as practising your art, you also need to practice your people skills. The good news is that with family and friends, there will be no shortage of volunteers for your services.
Using black as an accent colour in designs is a hot 2017 trend – try orange nails, slashed with a line of black for something different.
As your confidence grows, you can take steps to start your business. This takes time and effort, as well as a little, know how.
Part 3 – Start Your Business
Many nail artists and beauticians offering various treatments and therapies find that their skills are in high demand. Whilst this is great news, it can mean that many nail artists can undercharge for their services.
This is why it pays to spend some time formulating a business plan. As part of this plan, you will need to do the following:
- Cost your services – as well as materials. This includes your time and, if you intend offering a mobile service, the cost of fuel and upkeep of a vehicle.
- Market niche – the beauty industry is vast, but not everyone will want intricate nail art design. This is why it is important to understand who your business is aimed at, and at what segment of the market. For example, wedding nails are a popular service, especially during the main wedding season of the summer months.
- Marketing – you will need to market your business so that you have a wide customer base for the services you have on offer. You may want to consider social media as a form of marketing and promotion. In particular, taking photos of your stunning nail art is an ideal way to show potential customers what you can do. You may also want to look into the vast range of online business management courses to support you in expanding your business along the way.
- Expansion – as a business, you can choose to remain as a self-employed sole trader, or you might realise that in the coming months and years, a nail art bar or salon could be a real possibility.
- Expanding nail art techniques – as people come across new techniques and designs on social media, they will seek your help in creating them. As a nail art technician, it pays to stay on trend, and this may mean completing additional gel nail courses to add more techniques and skills to your repertoire.
- Investment – you will need to invest in some basic equipment and materials to get your business off the ground. This may require some investment. Your money can also be spent on marketing materials, such as price lists and printed flyers, as well as on adverts online. If you do require investment funding, who will you approach, and for how much? Start-up businesses may be able to get a government grant or benefit from free business advice from experienced business professionals in your area.
Nail art is a dynamic and ever-changing trend that shows no sign of fizzling any time soon. New patterns, styles and techniques come to the fore on a regular basis.
As a qualified nail artist and technician, you have the keys to a supercharged business that adapts and changes to what your clients want.