So, in order to shake off those pesky Monday blues I’m insisting you take a moment, grab your cuppa & get settled to take a peek at yet another Meet The Tech Monday! And what a treat we have this morning as the fabulously funny Jess Wells joins us on the virtual sofa to chat about her transformation from Project Engineer to Nail Technician. Quite the change eh?!
Don’t forget, if you’re a UK based Nail Tech (or training to become one) then *CLICK HERE* to get yourself over to the Nail Tech Chat & Support UK Facebook Group where you can meet oodles of new nail buddies, pick up a wealth of insider knowledge & chatter with a wide variety of like-minded techs – including some of the UK’s top educators too!
Anyway, that’s enough from me… are you sitting comfy? Then let’s get started…
Jess Wells, aka The Nail Engineer
Are you mobile, home working or salon based?
Mobile / home working
What training have you undertaken or are intending to take?
VTCT Level 3 Nail Services, should complete Q2 2017
What nail brands do you enjoy using & why?
My main gel polish brand is Madam Glam because they have a great range, the colours are pretty true to the website, the formula is vegan, cruelty free and 5 free, delivery is swift and the price point is great. The polishes are generally highly pigmented and well behaved, with hardly any shrinkage or wrinkling throughout the range. I also use The Gel Bottle Inc, but mostly for their amazing builders, which are my best buy ever! Me and my girls have such lovely long and strong nails now, thanks to this amazing product! The colours are great too and many are practically opaque on the first coat. I’ve recently tried Missu builders (for P&W) and initial impressions are very good. I don’t work much in acrylic but when I do, I like CJP best.
How long have you been involved in the industry?
I was a hobbyist on and off for 19 years but only had the opportunity to train October 2016, when I took redundancy from my job as a Project / Quality Engineer. I’d just had my 4th miscarriage, with each happening after particularly stressful events and heavily work-related, so I just decided I had to change something. Now I fit my work around life and despite packing a year’s training into a few months, while starting a new business, I never feel strung out like I did. I just hope it pays off and I can get pregnant and stay pregnant long enough to have a live birth next time.
Do you offer any other services other than nails?
No, unless armchair psychology counts?!
Where do you get ideas for upcoming nail designs?
Everywhere! Art, films, music, life events, scenery, books, eras, nature, science, family, even Lush bath bombs! The list goes on! There is beauty in everything, so everything can be inspiring. In addition, I like to keep up to date with nail trends on nail art groups, instagram and YouTube.
What is your most memorable or favourite set?
This set inspired by @helennails_yeg.
I was just so amazed and intrigued by the colour combination of aqua, pale khaki and olive green glitter. My only regret is that my mandala detail isn’t freehanded, like the original. Oh, and that I didn’t buy a pale khaki before attempting this mani – I had to hand mix it from a mint green, sage green / grey and yellow polishes
What has been your least favourite set and why?
This set took an extra 1.5 hours of faffing due to a last minute mind-change by the client and the plate being awkward. They were going to be simple and classy in holographic silver and black, over nude pink, but the client decided she wanted this sickly pink instead and to avoid overkill, I had to painstakingly fill in only part of the designs, to avoid it looking super trashy. She loved them but I really hate that pink and wish I’d just said “pick something else!”. Lesson learned for next time….
Are there any nail pro’s that inspire you?
@helennails_yeg, @deadlynails, Sarah Richardson / @therealmrsgrey, Sarah Abbott, @ninanailedit, Rachael Wilders, @ladycrappo, Annie Sarah Collins, Melanie Lewendon, Cassie Pattrick-O’Hara… The list never ends; there’s so many nail ninjas out there!
How do you deal with difficult clients?
Relationships are key, and they’re built on trust. I work really hard for my clients, to ensure that every mani is personalised or significant in some way. I can only do that by building strong relationships and getting to know the client inside out. I always believe that honesty is the best policy. I am too old to just sit back and bite my tongue and I don’t need the stress of pussyfooting around prima donnas. If I’m not happy, I’ll say. I changed careers to reduce my stress so I’m not about to trade one hassle for another. Of course, a sense of humour helps and when someone questions your skill or judgement, the results speak for themselves.
How do you keep yourself motivated during quiet times or tough days?
I have plenty of other things going on in my life so I just switch my focus. Dwelling on issues generally doesn’t help. Of course, you must analyse the situation, identify what went wrong and work on improving but, above and beyond that is just a waste. Life’s too short to spend it worrying and you’re only as bad as your last set, so get out there and do a better set
What do you find is the most challenging thing about being a nail tech?
Working with women. After working in engineering for 19 years, mostly with blokes, and being a bit “Rainman” myself, I know I’m not a touchy-feely, huggy-kissy girlie girl and I totally get how many men think we’re from different planets. I’m getting used to it, but it is like learning a foreign language!
How do you cope with business competition?
I don’t dwell on it. There will always be someone quicker / cheaper / nearer / whatever but I have yet to hear of anyone in my area who puts as much thought and effort into each mani, will try just about anything, has the range of products I can offer (without being a salon) and will totally tailor the service to suit. By offering a diverse range of niche services, competition is massively reduced – something I learned during my engineering career.
Are there any aspects of your skills you’d like improve on?
I would say Acrylic, as it’s my Achilles heel, but I prefer using gel for a whole host of reasons, so I’d say my ability to multitask, or maybe to be less clumsy!
What current trends are your clients loving?
Negative space, sharm effect, mermaid powder, chameleon chrome and direct decal stamping.
What are your interests outside of nails?
Mechanical engineering, DIY, upcycling, sewing (I make all my own curtains and upholstery), cooking, reading and films. I’m currently compiling a planning application and completing my VTCT coursework, so it keeps me pretty busy!
What advice would you give to others thinking about starting off in the nail industry?
Think long and hard about what you can offer – do you have a USP or hook? If so, you need to really focus on that. If not, think on. There are a lot of good techs out there so you need to be really talented and / or dedicated. You really need to build a brand identity and get it out there on social media, especially instagram. I also recommend going down the NVQ / VTCT route, as opposed to brand-specific qualifications so that you’re not tied to brands and can follow the trends without having to fork out for conversion courses.
What social media links can we find you on?
https://www.instagram.com/thenailengineer https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC55CeVyyXRbliD_s0IPJ42g https://m.facebook.com/TheNailEngineer/
A huge thanks to our lovely Jess for taking part in Meet The Tech Monday… be sure to pop by her social media pages to check out her fantastic work or why not take a moment to say a quick howdy in the comments below. As always, thanks for stopping by