Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Diary of an International Nail Artist 1

Long Beach

Sam Biddle’s recent visit to Long Beach, USA, where she held a Be Inspired class, worked the show, judging with the nail Pro Cup, plus creating a cover shoot with Nail Pro Magazine.  although this was a visit at the begining of the year, it is part of her column in Scratch magazine, Diary of an international nail artist, with subsiquent trips in the USA, Malaysia, Australia and Canada coming soon. 

Looking over my schedule for my first overseas trip of the year in 2012, I made a mental note to pack some extra tea bags, this was going to be a busy one! I love my job because it takes me to some far flung places, but I never leave home without my tea bags. I make sure I always carry a little bit of England in my purse. Wherever I go in the world, I get to work with some fabulous people.
My business, Be Inspired, actively invests into the growth of the industry and provides an alternative form of education to everyone anywhere in the world. My speciality, I am told is ‘thinking outside the box’ and finding ways to ‘make it work’ in order for the nail technician to find value in everything nail related. With a diary full of exciting places and interesting people to work with, Long Beach was the first one on the list and is one of my favourites. It was especially exciting this year as I was launching the NEW Gel Paints in the USA.
Day 1

13.30 - Land at LAX, and after a good couple of hours waiting around at customs and immigration, I finally meet up with Carla Collier; Head Judge for the Nail Pro Cup and the USA distributor of the Be Creative range. We both agreed that we should head off to the hotel and grab something to eat and have an early night. 
Day 2
First day of the Be Inspired workshop. This is always exciting and nerve racking at the same time. As an educator, you need to access the level of expectation in the class and make sure you can fulfil the requirements over the next two days. Also you have your fingers crossed that everyone is nice and nobody is going catch you out with tricky questions. I didn’t need to worry, I always find it refreshing when I work with the girls in America. I love how enthusiastic everyone is; they have a great ‘can do’ attitude. We started the day with some gel design. I was excited nail design and more importantly how to translate these techniques into salon nails. After lunch, it was time for the fantasy nail. Using both gel and acrylic, I showed them how to create a rose and then we worked with gel to produce some delicate butterflies. This part of the class is very telling. It is not the priority subject when it comes to booking, but every time I do it I have to drag the students out the door at the end of the day, and on more than one occasion I get asked if we can carry on doing fantasy the following day. I like to think of fantasy as my secret weapon; nail technicians can get immersed in their own creativity and can sometimes get lost in the moment.  
Day 3
Second day of the Be Inspired workshop and this was all about acrylic; this often being the preferred system most technicians use in the salon. I wanted to give some examples of using alternative materials in the nail designs and how to benefit from layering the design. I also made sure that everything we did on day 2 can be achieved using Gel and the new Gel Paints. The workshop was themed around nature; from butterflies, to swans, koi carp and flowers. I was delighted with the nails everyone produced and although some didn’t finish we still ended up with a spectacular display of work.
Day 4

This was meant to be my day off (that was the plan) I did have some retail therapy scheduled, but we had some paper work to complete in the morning. No rest for the wicked as they say. 
Day 5 
 ISSE show Long Beach. Finally I was delighted to be invited to Join the Light Elegance team, and worked on their stand during the show. I also did some filming for a couple of short tutorials and an interview with NAILS magazine where I showed them a design using the gel paints.
 Day 6
 ISSE show and Judging the Nail Pro Cup. I really enjoy working with the judging panel in the USA. The Nail Pro Cup offers a wide range of different categories and Carla Collier makes sure the categories reflect the industry trends. The competition entries this year were fabulous, and the nail art category and 3D design had 2 particularly challenging categories; Parrots and “When pigs fly”.  I think looking at the results that the creative brains were working overtime, and nail technicians were certainly thinking outside the box. 
Day 7 
 ISSE show and judging;  Last day of the show, working again with Light Elegance, and their very talented team.  I especially enjoyed catching up with Darcy Olin who had joined me at my Be Inspired class in Orlando last year. At the end of the day we finished with the Nail Pro Cup awards and an early dinner and a catch up with some friends. 
Day 8 
 Cover shoot with Nail Pro. I had one final stop at Nail Pro magazine where I was invited to do another cover shoot. Last year’s shoot was a great success I created some acrylic roses and incorporated an element of fantasy into the nails. This year I wanted to use gel and do something more salon friendly. I obviously wanted to use the Gel Paints and my nail art pen, so my design incorporates both. I absolutely love doing these shoots, because they provide a unique insight into what goes on behind the scenes at a cover shoot and the amount of work and the different roles played to produce a fabulous image.  Then it was home time, jumping into a cab and taking that 40 minute journey to LAX to catch my 8.30pm flight home.

Day 9 
Land at 3.30 pm UK time at Heathrow. It takes me about 2-3 hours to drive home. The first thing I do is pop the kettle on and snuggle down on the sofa with my dog, and family. 
Be Inspired was one of the first companies to offer independent education, in the UK and worldwide, which is not brand specific, and I am now noticing a fair few educators offering similar classes, primarily in design and nail art. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. I know over the years, I have seen massive changes in the nail industry and I am thrilled to see that art and design are now playing a major role in shaping the industries growth. It is what attracted me to doing nails in the first place.
What’s new for Be Inspired worldwide? 2012 is set to incorporate a couple of new countries into the distribution list,and will involve visiting Australia this August which is something I am extremely excited about. I have been working with Tracy Boyle on this little project for over a year now. Tracy has moved over to Australia with her family, but we always enjoyed working together here in the UK on the National competition judging panel. I am also delighted to be planning a class in Canada this year and we have provided an additional venue on the USA tour in Las Vegas. With various dates closer to home and of course a selection of great workshops in the UK, I hope 2012 will give those  nail technician’s,  passionate about design,  a step up in the right direction.

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