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Nail tech Jill-of-all-trades


Nail tech Jill-of-all-trades

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ASHLEY SIMPSON IS a nail tech by day and a bartender by night.

At 25, the owner of Pink Ash Nail Spa in Bridgetown, is rebuilding her clientele after a break. Not only does she offer acrylics, gel polishes and the trendy bling nails embellished with diamantes and glitter, but she does 3D nail art and manicures.

The businesswoman told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY she has been doing nails from 17 and recalled with laughter how her interest was piqued when she was a student at Parkinson Memorial Secondary.

“I always liked to get my nails done, but I couldn’t do them myself. When I was at school, my friends used to let me mash up their hands because I couldn’t do it good. I used to have the acrylic on top of their cuticle and they thought it looked real good but it looked real stink and I was very proud,” she recalled with laughter.

“Some of the same people I practised on when I first started still come to me now,” she added.

Her mother supported the decision paying for the first course at the Young Men’s Christian Association. Now that she has reopened Pink Ash, she has done refresher courses with different nail techs here but her intention is to enrol in a master class “before the year is over in New York or Miami”.

“I first opened my salon in 2011 in Canary Lane Mall but before that I used to work in different salons where I rented a station. I decided to open my salon because it was better to open my own business and rent on my own because . . . in the salons there was conflict among the hairdressers. It was impacting on my customers because they didn’t want that kind of drama.

“The confusion might not have necessarily been on your part of the salon but it reflected on you. I don’t like being uncomfortable when I’m going into a salon,” she asserted.

She closed the salon and worked with prescription glasses and diseases after her daughter was born. Concerns for her daughter’s health delayed getting back into the business full time.

Simpson said she had a few clients, some of whom where close to her, that she worked on from home but the others who asked she suggested colleagues in the profession.

After that, she went into bartending and mixology which she learnt through the course, the Art of Bartending.

“Now that I’ve reopened the salon, I do nails during the day and mixology at night at events . . . . I have some of the same people coming to me. I still have to build my clientele to get back where I want to be but I advertise to tell them I’m back and they are coming,” Simpson added.

Initially, she feared that balancing the various aspects of her life would be difficult but that has not materialised. She noted that as long as she has advance notice about a job in the evening she plans her nail appointments accordingly.

She opted to restart small because she did not want to incur any debt and used the money earned from bartending to open.

“Eventually, I’m looking to reopen a bigger space where I can have other people working with me, I want to expand and teach other people. My sister is doing a beauty course and I’m looking to bring her in because I’m going to start pedicures from [this] week. I have a half price special and that is to build me up and let people know I’m back out here.”

To keep up on the latest trends, she watches tutorials on YouTube, as she said “anything you want to learn you can learn on YouTube”. She however bemoaned the high cost of the equipment and polishes and lamented the customs duties on items she ships from the United States.

Despite that, she loves being a nail technician and her advice to teenagers and others looking to get into the profession is this: “When I first started, there weren’t a lot of nail techs but now I’m back you have to do so much to build yourself because there’re so many people in the same field. My advice is to go out there and learn and get your techniques correct. Once it is something that you love you can make it. Start small but know the sky is the limit,” Simpson said. (GBM)