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Feel Good

WE RISE BY LIFTING OTHERS Ok, at risk of being the 'Pharrell Williams' of the nail world, I really must say- nail folk make me HAPPY. Can't help myself. I'm feeling the need to wax lyrical about our amazing industry again. The kinship I am feeling right now makes me feel very proud to call myself a nail technician. Maybe it's my age, and the fact that I'm a bit of a dinosaur in the trade, but more than ever I am seeing fellow technicians doing great things for the good of the all, not just for personal gain.... But because they 'just kinda want to.' It could be because a lot of us are mothers (or fathers/uncles/aunts) and have an inbuilt desire to nurture. It could be that with the growth of social media we are just hearing more about the good deeds that are constantly being performed, and it's becoming contagious. What ever the reason I feel a connection with techs and industry leaders all over the world and I feel a lot of us have the desire to help out those in need; to inspire and include.

Here in Christchurch we have recently been through a few hick ups, what with the earth moving a tad more than it ought to, and this disaster pulled all kinds of industry's together- (my favourite being the amount of church meetings in local taverns). But the kindness shown by nail technicians and salons in general was overwhelming. Sadly, it hasn't just been New Zealand suffering natural disasters, the last decade has seen Mother Nature pick on many parts of the world. And the thing that stands out to me is the kindness shown, the help offered to salons in need at these times. This perhaps is another reason professionals are banding together for reasons that are bigger than just specialised industry issues.

The added interest in world conservation has also impacted our industry, bringing technicians closer in the fact that we are all dealing with these issues whether we are based in Mexico or London. Our highs and lows unite us. If someone is in trouble word spreads fast, we can sympathise and often do something real to help. People get sick. People go through hardships and life changing situations. People die. This of course puts everything into perspective.

I see groups of nail technicians raising significant sums of money for their chosen causes, I see techs giving up their valuable free time to help others, I see techs organising events to honer peers, I see techs mentoring students and offering advice in all areas. I think we're a pretty damn amazing bunch... And we are smart; is it just me or are we actually getting smarter?

When I first started out in the industry there were certainly innovations, come on now- the eighties is where a lot of the technology that we still use today was born, we had the Jeff pinks the Jan Arnold's and the Doug Schoons back then too, (among so many others) but these beloved experts are even more accessible today thanks to technology. We are fortunate to have an abundance of information and incredibly talented gurus at our fingertips. We now have experts in every avenue of nails, some advocates for health and safety, some standing up for the rights of workers, there are ethical bloggers that concentrate on ethics within the beauty industry and the psychological effects.

The industry is alive with bright sparks and I feel that is another reason we are seen to be doing so much more than just sitting in our salons filing nails. We feel included in the big picture. We always knew there was more to nails than a little basic chemistry and pretty polish picks, but now we are offered so many challenges and ways to extend our careers. And that includes contribution that goes way beyond commercial enterprise.

I hold my head high sharing the mani-verse with so many strong business women/men, so many big brains, and the quirky go getters that aren't afraid to take chances. I'm not naming any names, but anyone reading this blog will bring to mind some of their personal heroes, and that's a good thing. I didn't say 'idols', a hero is some one to look up to and admire, not worship. We are all capable of greatness, and the trend I see on social media of clapping and calling out others achievements is commendable, and will only add to the confidence of those wanting to achieve greatness. Kudos to anyone that helps another tech on that road. I think as an industry we are catching on fast that to help our peers is beneficial to the good of the all. Sure there will always be a gossipy element to our industry, as with any click a few bad eggs will let down the whole group, but as we become more enlightened these naysayers will eventually fade into the background, or hopefully realise the importance of being team players.

I put it to you now, what was it that drew you to this industry in the first place? I'm willing to bet it's very different reasons that are keeping you in it today. For me, the friends I've made along the any are the most cherished part of my career, from employees to distributors, to fellow competitors, to technicians from all over the globe and I haven't even gone into the technician/client realms yet (another blog for another day!) I have been so fortunate to meet so many admirable people. I'm on a roll so I will get even gushier. The courier driver, you know, the one that goes above and beyond, not just because he gets to poke his nose into a salon of preening women every week but the one who stops and has a laugh. The dude that fixes your salon hardware every now and then when it inevitably crashes. Your window cleaner, the one everyone has a crush on... So many people we meet each day and build relationships with are impacted by our industry and are hopefully left with a good impression. It's all about the people in our lives.... And we won't forget the inspirational people we have lost....we honour them by way of continuing education, by always striving to live up to their high standards and the memories those lucky enough to have met these industry giants can share.

So, let's be kind and proud to be part of our extended nail family.

Rachel Stevens

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