Expert Advice

Nailing a Salon Job

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 6:16 PM

Four members of the Creative Nail Design Team share their diverse journeys and successes with MODERN SALON's Alicia Marantz to inspire professional nail techs on their own paths to a cosmetology job.

"Our Education Ambassadors are the heartbeat of Creative Nail Design. They are licensed nail professionals, at the top of their game, representing the future of the salon profession," says Jan Nordstrom Arnold, co-founder of Creative Nail Design.

"They come together with a common philosophy, which is to help raise standards with truth of information, logical thinking and aspirational vision that helps to chart an exciting future for the cosmetology job industry.

"Our Ambassadors challenge themselves every day to exceed the expectations of their clients and their students in each and every class they teach. I love being around these ambitious, creative and hard-working professionals because they challenge convention and are always open to new ideas.

"Working with the best is pure fun."

Nailing a Salon Job
Roxanne Valinoti, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Melissa Grzesiak and Lulu Cooper backstage at Spring 2006 Fashion Week.
Roxanne Valinoti

"The Rox Star"
Preliminary Passion: Anything to do with cosmetology has always fascinated me. I loved nails from a very early age. My mom had a short career in nails back in the early '80s. I would play with her supplies on my toes.

First Steps: Deciding my path was challenging. My dad was against me pursuing a nail career because he thought it was not a "proper profession." I went to college to major in accounting and stayed for a very short time. Soon after leaving, I decided that it was my life to live. I followed my heart and enrolled in nail school.

School Days: Creative Nail Design was the company I wanted to work for. The Academy not only improves your skill, but it also teaches you how to share it with others. The "Art of Design" class was most beneficial for me. By having someone show me a blueprint and different structural points, I learned to see the nail in a different way.

Seeing Stars: I have worked with countless celebrities, including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Kim Cattrall and Betsey Johnson.

Ready for Runway: I started doing Fashion Week from the beginning when we only did a few shows. Creative has grown to doing over 40 shows in New York, others in Europe and Australia, and I have grown with them. I have been at just about every show we have done domestically, Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mischka, Calvin Klein, Heatherette, Betsey Johnson and others. We work very hard to build relationships not only with the designers, but also with the hair stylists and make-up teams as well as the models. It is hard, tiresome work, but well worth it.

Trend Spotting: The next big nail trend is natural-looking nails, with either the Custom Blended Manicure or Brisa Gel.

Product Pick: Solar Oil. You can use it on any part of the body for immediately softer, more hydrated skin and nails.

Looking Ahead: I will continue to provide education to all nail professionals through new programs with Creative Nail Design. My future goal is consulting with spa and salon owners to systemize their nail areas for maximum growth.


Nailing a Salon Job
Lulu Coooper
Lulu Cooper

"The Success Story"
Preliminary Passion: As a child, I loved everything that had to do with beauty. After being moved for the fifth time, high school was a nightmare. I wasn't passing my classes, was embarrassed and dropped out. After many dead-end jobs, I decided to go to Parisian Beauty Academy.

First Steps: I was too insecure to do hair, so I thought, "Yes, I'll do nails. That's much easier than hair." What did I know? I was only 18. It was a long road filled with "oops," "uh-ohs" and "please forgive me, I'll give you a discount on your next service." Finally, with a lot of hard work, a co-worker and I opened up a nail salon.

Big Break: Extenuating circumstances caused my partner and I to have to close the business. After picking myself up, I started seeking employment. Angie Phipps, a talented hairdresser, asked me to assist her on a photo shoots. Then she introduced me to her agent who sent me on an Essence magazine shoot. They needed a nail tech--no budget, just credit. That really opened the door to more shoots and, in turn, more celebrities.

School Days: I decided that I wanted to give back to the school that had gotten me started. I called and was informed that my old school had become a Paul Mitchell Partner School, which meant they were a Creative Nail Academy. I went through two very intense trainings, first becoming a cosmetology student teacher and then being trained by a Creative Nail Ambassador. On September 15, 2005, I was invited to attend [Creative's] Boot Camp! Boot Camp was very difficult, but I learned you never know how far you can go until you are pushed past the limit you set for yourself.

Ready for Runway: Following my two intense trainings, I had to perform a Forever French rebalance on Jan Arnold, co-founder of Creative Nail Design. That led to working at Fashion Week. Working backstage is like babysitting a child who has eaten 20 Twinkies and washed them down with a grape soda; it is an adrenaline rush!

Product Pick: Sea Serum. This product safely removes the toughest calluses.

Looking Ahead: My plans are to open a day spa that reflects the inner me--beauty with a touch of love.


Nailing a Salon Job
Barbara Fogelman with the band Maroon 5.

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