August 2008

Vicki Peters

The Nail Extension | by Vicki Peters


Nail Techs—Network, Educate and Be Industry Leaders

While there are some challenges in nail education, there are also opportunities. So let’s talk about some opportunities currently available, and then discuss a call to action for any willing techs out there with the skills to help educate our industry.

The 2008 show season is coming to an end, with exception of a few shows still scheduled for later this year including Nailpro’s Anaheim and Sacramento shows in September and October, the Mid-American Beauty Classic in September in Ohio and the Texas Beauty Show in October.

Earlier this year nail technicians gathered and networked in California at the ISSE Long Beach show, America’s Beauty Show in Chicago, International Beauty Show New York and Las Vegas and Premiere in Orlando. Alongside these terrific shows are other regional networking events and private dinner gatherings where we all have a chance to meet.

Because of the lack of available education, more and more of us do our nail networking at shows and online in chats and message boards. Distributors and nail classes have diminished and the cost of education is so high many manufacturers do not hold classes like they used to. We have to fend for ourselves to get more education—and that’s what we have done. Networking on a national and worldwide level among nail techs is much more common than other parts of the beauty industry like skincare and hairstylists. We have created an environment that is unique to the beauty industry and very strong.

This trend in nail education can be found at nail tech networking events and other educational programs like High Road to Education and Nail Kamps. Independent nail techs from all over the country produce these events.

The most recent one I attended was in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where 50 nail techs gathered for a day of demonstrations by some of the leading manufacturers who donated their time and efforts to participate. Jill Wright produced the networking event and Nails Magazine sponsored the lunch.

Costs for attending networking events are reasonable and most of the time manufacturers donate samples, enabling attendees to walk away with a bagful of goodies worth hundreds of dollars.

A day of networking with other techs from your area can be powerful and put you in an environment that does not exist anywhere else. Watching the demonstrations not only allows you to see what’s new in trends it also shows you techniques by leading educators that you may not have seen before. It’s amazing what we can learn just by sitting and watching. Moreover, networking events are casual environments where lots of conversation is shared while the demonstrations are being performed.

A good source of information for upcoming networking events is the BeautyTech website organized by Debbie Doerlamm. For more information on all the different networking events, visit

The High Road to Education takes the day of networking to another level with a two-day program produced by Tammy Warner. Her next event is in September in Cincinatti, OH. For more information, visit

Nail Kamp is another successful program, which has been held in Daytona, Las Vegas, New Jersey and Dallas. It is scheduled for Trinidad; Chicago; Las Vegas and Santa Rosa, California this year, then double that schedule for 2009. It features three days of hands on acrylic and gel training, electric file certification, in addition to hands on training in salon work to aid you in improving your skills. Nail Kamp is a small classroom environment with 15 attendees for quality one-on-one training. For information, visit

What we need now is to have a networking event in every state so we can make this accessible to everyone. It’s easy and you can find all the help you need to produce one at Attendees usually pay about $25, and providing a lunch is sometimes a nice option. You can hold events at salons on Sundays or in hotel conference rooms for as little as $150 per day. While organizing these events takes planning and recordkeeping, especially when collecting attendee fees, marketing is often very easy. Make use of word of mouth, as well as posts on, e-mail blasts and mentions in trade magazines. You may even consider creating a website specific to your event to help make your advertising that much more effective.

The state of our education is forcing the industry’s leading nail techs to step up to the plate and take hold of what we need to grow our industry. And our efforts are working. Yet, we still need more of it. If you are interested in hosting a networking event just go do it, and make your mark in improving our industry.

Vicki Peters is a 26 year veteran master nail tech, competition champion, judge, international educator, author and manufacturer and serves on the Nail Manufacturer Council. For more information visit or email her at