Let me tell you a story…
I don’t remember a time where I found it difficult to paint my nails. Growing up, I always had piles of nail polish at the ready. Some people say, it’s in your blood. I am inclined to believe them.
My name is Courtney and I am Canadian. I married my British husband and we moved to Germany 2010 with the Army. I found myself without friends/family and with a lot of time alone. Because I didn’t speak German at the time, I wasn’t comfortable going to a salon to get my nails done, so I bought a gel nail kit and put a set of extensions on myself. I was very proud of them, they made me feel as though I was on top of the world. I think it was at that moment, I realized that I was meant to be a Nail Technician. I began the hunt online for ‘how to become a nail tech’ and to my surprise, I found a company called Essential Nails. They provide training for you to do alone at home, and then you send your work back for assessment. This was excellent! I enrolled straight away and completed my first course; sculpted acrylic extensions within just a few months, gaining my certificate with a distinction. This was how it all began, since then, I have completed several other courses with them including gel extensions, manicure, pedicure, and gel polish. Having said that, I have never actually taken a nail art course. It’s a bit funny because I have always been known for my creative nails.
In the beginning, I worked from a spare room at our home in Germany. Serving the large English- speaking community. Word spread fast that there was a new English nail tech and before I knew it, I had clients booked in every day of the week. It was only a few months after I began taking on clients that I found out I was pregnant, and so my nail journey was to be put on hold. When my son turned 3, he went into nursery and the nail journey was back on!! We were living in England now and there was a lot more competition than when we were back in Germany so I had to get creative. What I decided was that something had to stand me out against the crowd, and that thing was nail art. So, I started doing my friends nails with really catchy designs, for every three referrals they got for me, I would give them another set of nails free. This attracted more clients who also wanted catchy nail art. It wasn’t long before I was working evenings as well as nursery hours, being nearly fully booked week after week. During this time, my whole world was nails. I made friends on Facebook with other like-minded nail techs and soon discovered my love of teaching. I made a short video to show someone my sculpted French technique, she picked it up very quickly and so began the first thoughts of my YouTube channel. I worked as a mobile nail tech for just over a year before my husband and I were posted back to Germany, but this time it was only a tiny community of 10. Again, I found myself unable to do what I love. We were scheduled to stay there for 2 years. I had to find a way to keep doing nails. I bought some display tips, full cover tips and display stands so that I could keep practicing the nail art without the actual creating of the nails on humans. It had become clear through the feedback from my nail tech friends, that I was creating nail art that was of a high standard. People were seeking me out for advice, and asking me to make videos to teach them various techniques. Companies were sending me free products to showcase on my channel and I even completed two contracts with a popular short video app, to create videos of my nail art process. I used this opportunity to keep my nail spirit alive while I was unable to work on actual people. I also wrote a few blog entries to cover frequent topics of interest that I was confident in. I believe, it’s a beautiful thing to have a gift, but even more beautiful is sharing that gift with others.
I continued to teach myself many new techniques with the help of some amazing inspiration from my online community, and I started selling my designs to people all around the world in the form of custom press on nails. My Youtube channel was so successful, I enrolled in the AET course with Sunshine Hair and Beauty. This way, I will be able to help people in person as well as online. In June 2019, I qualified as an educator, and cannot wait to start that chapter of my story next year!
It wasn’t long after the launch of my online shop that we had to once again, move back to England with the army. Joining a small unknown community was going to be difficult. I started advertising locally on Facebook that I would be there soon, and showed pictures of the nail art that I offered. It was this advert that sparked the interest of Gail Evans. She is the owner of 2 salons. One in the town I was due to move to, and a brand-new location of her 2 nd salon Tantastic in the neighboring town. As if by magic, the relocation grand opening was scheduled for exactly 3 weeks after my arrival. Gail offered me an exclusive space in the new salon and I accepted straight away! But I still had 6 months until we were due to arrive. I thought it would be challenging to get my feet off the ground, but once locals started seeing my pictures on my Facebook page, the appointments were rolling in. I had over a dozen clients booked in before I even arrived in the country. I couldn’t believe my luck! Its been 6 months since I started working at Tantastic, and I am so busy that I have had to close my press on nail business and focus on serving the community for now. I still find it really amazing that I have had such success. I put that down to the love for the art, when you love something and work hard, you don’t have to go to fancy schools. I gained enough qualification through home learning so I could legally work, and taught myself the rest because its what I love to do, and its what people come to me for. I continue to learn new things every day. My clients love to challenge me and they are always over the moon with the result. There have only been a few clients so far; out of hundreds, who don’t have nail art. It’s something that I specialize in, and everyone knows it.
Still, I did not expect a call to tell me I was nominated as Creative Nail Tech of the Year. I know my clients love what I do, but I’ve just been over here quietly doing what I love and sharing what I know. Now it’s all becoming quite real. I am actually in the top ten nail artists in England.
That’s a little bit crazy and I am so humbled to be here.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed reflecting back on my journey.
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