Guest blog: how entering nail competitions can improve your skills and confidence
Hazel Dixon is owner of Purely Nailz salon in Thetford, two-time winner of the Professional Beauty Award for Nail Professional of the Year 2014 and 2016, and a multiple winner on the nail competition circuit. She reveals how entering competitions can boost your business and your confidence.
Entering nail competitions is a great way to push yourself and your skills to the next level. The key thing to remember is that it’s not always about winning but more about what you’ve gained from entering the competition.
Like myself, many nail technicians start out alone – either mobile, working from home or renting a space. After your initial training, it can be difficult to know where you need to improve skills-wise because you usually don’t have someone to ask for advice.
I started entering competitions in 2010. I wanted to get my timings down because I wasn’t making much profit from my clients as I was taking far too long. Over the space of six months full-on practicing, it went from around two hours and 30 minutes to 1 our 45 minutes, and then with even more practice, 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Here’s my best advice for entering competitions:
- Start by searching – do a thorough search on the internet of the UK Nail competitions out there and also looking on social media as the most popular competition organisers often post on these sites
- Don’t be overzealous – when entering your first competition, pick a category that’s within your comfort zone and set yourself a goal of how many times per week you’re going to practise. This is something you ordinarily wouldn’t do if you weren’t entering so it pushes you to focus on your weaker areas, which will help improve your salon work.
- Take on board constructive criticism – after each competition you will get a score sheet that tells you what your scores are for each area, as well as the name of the judge. The judges are always available at the end of the prize-giving for feedback and this is where competing is an invaluable tool. Speak to the judge and ask for their advice on how you can improve because that’s what they’re there for. Any judge will be able to show you where you lost marks and what to do to improve. Take on board what they say as judges are usually previous competition winners and have the knowledge to guide you to creating better nails.
- Take advantage of the networking opportunities – I’ve gained many friends though competing because you meet like-minded people. You also create a nail tech network around you where you can help each other. This support is invaluable.
- Reap the rewards – entering competitions has boosted my business massively. My client base grew massively the following year after winning my first few competitions as people were talking about me and the nails I produced. By getting my timings down which was my initial reason for doing the competition I’ve also be able to accommodate extra clientele. My clients also love telling their friends that their nail tech is an award winner, which helps boost my business by word of mouth.