Minx Squared - Janice Jordan and Dawn Lynch-Goodwin Minx Nails Founders

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year you’ve undoubtedly heard of Minx… the latest Haute Manicure that “extends fashion to your fingertips” …literally. I’d heard quiet whispers about Minx here and there back in mid 2008 and decided to do a little research, and though at the time I wasn't quite yet convinced of the power of Minx I did see a re-emergence of an old trend and intuitively I knew this time it would be much bigger and far more glamorous than the nail trends of the 80’s. So much so that after six years in the beauty industry I decided to high-tail it back to school… Nail School.

Shortly after I ordered my Minx training kit and performed by first Minx Manicure… I was completely BLOWN away! There really is absolutely NOTHING like it!

My first set of practice Minx

I had to find out more about this incredible company and its founders. With the help of Lucien who mans (literally, yes Lucien is a guy) MINXDOTCOM on Twitter and Janice Miller who handles Minx’s pr I was able to get the inside scoop from Minx founders Janice Jordan and Dawn Lynch-Goodwin to find out how they're coping with the whole Minx craze and what exciting new things Nail Professional can look forward to from Minx in 2010.

Minx founders: Dawn Lynch-Goodwin and Janice Jordan

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you even imagine that Minx would be this BIG? (lol)

Janice Jordan: Absolutely! When toying with the idea of developing Minx, I asked permission from my family because I knew launching a product like Minx would require years of sacrifice. My daughter Jahna told me if Minx did not work there was something terribly wrong with the universe and to go for it!

Dawn and I spent over two years doing product development, and setting up the Minx Factory before we went to market. We have a lot of “hard-time” stories, but we are also amazed at how the universe seems to help when pursuing a dream. Not once did we ever feel Minx would not succeed.

Minx is such a fun and fashionable product it is hard not to fall in love with the attention you get when wearing it, and if we felt that way, we knew millions of other women would, too!

Photo Courtesy of Naja

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How did you come up with the idea for Minx?

Dawn Lynch-Goodwin: The inspiration of the product stemmed from Janice’s frustration with wearing down her nails. Janice was seeking a coating to better protect her nails. Once she found a solid coating, she realized that it could be developed in a variety of metallics and designs. And, besides looking amazing, it had other benefits such as no drying time, no chipping and not requiring any chemicals in the application or removal.

Minx: The inspiration of the brand came from Dawn, an expert in fashion and beauty. Dawn owned a salon in Australia when she received a call in the fall of 2006 from her friend of 20 years asking her help. Dawn flew to the USA thinking she was going to visit Janice and just give some advice, but she ended up spending two weeks conducting focus groups and experimenting with prototypes. Dawn realized they were on to something when they were walking by a trendy salon on Melrose in LA and the owner ran out to find out what she was wearing on her nails. She then realized she was totally hooked when she found herself buying a silver purse, which she wouldn’t normally do, to match her silver nails. Dawn immediately saw the way forward for Minx and how to take it to market. Being very excited Dawn returned to Australia after becoming Janice’s business partner, sold her salon and got on with starting Minx.

Dawn and Janice spent the next two years as typical entrepreneurs scraping for funding, working on R&D and setting up manufacturing.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What about the name, it’s very catchy why Minx?

Minx: A “Minx” is a woman who is a sly or playful young woman, and we feel the word expresses an attitude that crosses all demographics. Minx is basically for a person who loves life and wants to stand out from the crowd.

Photo Courtesy of

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Why do you think Minx has fast become such a phenomenon?

Minx: Many people have told us that they were thrilled to discover Minx because there hasn’t been anything really new and exciting in nails for a long time. We have positioned Minx as high-end fashion accessory, and our tagline is “Minx extends fashion to your fingertips.” We believe that Minx will become a fashion necessity. Our vision is that the fashion-conscious will not feel their outfit is complete without their Minx.

We are also hoping to escalate the importance of the manicurist, similar to what happened in the hair industry nearly 20 years ago. Two decades ago, a hair cut was “just” a hair cut until Vidal Sassoon came along and changed history. Now a celebrity rarely goes anywhere without their hair stylist. We want to help develop “nail stylists” and see that they also have their place as an integral part of the fashion and beauty team.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! The first question most people who’ve never heard of Minx ask is…. “What is it?” How do you describe Minx to someone who’d never heard or seen it before?

Minx: Minx is a flexible film that is applied to the nail using heat and pressure, just like a shrink wrap. However, because it’s a film and not a polish, it is available in a wide variety of metallic, designs and graphics that have never before been available to the nail industry.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Squared

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! I have quite a few friends who are in the nail business that are reluctant to get into Minx for fear that the market will become over saturated and they may find themselves competing on price thus not making the service profitable enough for them to offer, what are your thoughts on that?

Minx: Minx is still a very new product – it was introduced less than two years ago – so there is much more demand than supply right now, and it will be quite a while before there are nail technicians skilled in Minx applications in all of the major cities in the U.S. With so much interest and publicity focused on Minx, the demand is growing exponentially, so the opportunity for manicurists is also growing. And, the initial investment of a Minx starter kit is quite small – you don’t need to purchase hundreds of templates in order to get started. You can order just a few templates at a time if you want.

Also, just as regular manicures can range in price from $9.00 to $60.00 depending on the salon, there will be opportunities for talented Minx manicurists to draw in the type of client they desire. There is plenty of opportunity for a skilled manicurist to introduce a luxury Minx manicure that includes an actual dry manicure, the Minx application, aromatherapy, reflexology, or other components that set them apart from their competition.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Some techs are boasting that Minx to last up to two weeks, and many people are disappointed when they don’t and take to their twitters and blogs to complain, as a nail professional I realize that in some cases it is the nail professional’s applications but in some instances it could also be client’s care for example I’ve found that other nail techs who use acetone regularly or hairstylists who shampoo or use oily products aren’t a good candidate for Minx Manicures so I suggest Minx Pedicures for them. What are you doing as a company to protect the brand in this case? Are Minx techs prepared to educate their clients about Minx and aftercare once the service is complete?

Minx: We have suggested that Minx should last 4 to 8 days on the fingers, and up to 4 weeks on the toes. However, like nail polish or any other nail finish, there is no way to guarantee longevity as you cannot control what each person does with their hands. As a high-end fashion accessory, the appeal of Minx is that it looks spectacular, and is a must-have for a special occasion. We have never stated that Minx lasts longer than polish, because that’s not a selling point. The selling point is that it looks completely unique and unlike any other nail polish or product currently available, and brings fashion to your fingertips.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How does a Nail professional who is interested in becoming trained to perform Minx services become certified?

Minx: If you purchase a Minx Starter Kit through the Web site, you will receive a free training video that will show you how to apply Minx. There is also a “Minx Q&A” tab on the Minx Web site that provides application and removal tips, and a customer service line that nail technicians can call if they have any questions.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! All of my nail professional readers want to know what’s next for Minx in 2010 and beyond.

Minx: We are very excited to be finally introducing a formal training program across the U.S. in 2010. We know it’s been a long time coming, but frankly, when we launched Minx in January 2008, we didn’t expect it to grow so quickly!

Also, we will soon be introducing our first complete new line of Minx, called “Teasers.” This line was inspire by the colors and energy at the Alexander McQueen fashion show in Paris this fall, where we Minxed all the models for his Spring/Summer 2010 collection.

Backstage McQueen photos copyrights of Phillipe Ardoudin

Thank you Janice and Dawn for such a great interview, we wish your company much success in the coming new year. For more information on Minx and how to become a certified Minx specialist visit their website. If you're already a Minx'r please leave a comment and let us know how Minx has transformed your nail business.

Also be certain to check out the following interviews from two of my favorite Minx'rs, Athena and Tracylee

Ciao for now... Class is dismissed!

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Manicurist Extraordinaire and Minx'r Tracylee

I’ve been in love with beauty and the industry for as long as I can remember but as of lately I’m completely enamored with it. This blog along with Twitter had put me in contact with professional that few would dispute are amongst the industries best, brightest and most dedicated and Tracylee is no exception, dolling out invaluable tips and encouragement Take some time to get to know Tracelee…

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Tracylee: 20 years.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED: When did you know you wanted to become a manicurist?

Tracylee: I started doing my own nails with tip & wraps & fun designs when I was 18 years old, I didn't realize I wanted to do this for a living until around 21 years old, when a neighbor of mine decided she was going to school for nails. My mother came in and told me, and thought that would be something I would be interested in. I thought about it for only a day! I enrolled the next day!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for

Tracylee: I think I am known for a couple things, My Manicures last longer than most without chipping, I am very thorough, I am a perfectionist, and a clean freak. I also guarantee my work, which isn't too common in the business. I think my niche/specialties are Minx Nails and meticulous manicures. I also try to introduce men to the world of manicures and pedicures once they try it, they become very loyal clients!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Minx is all the new rage but Celebs have been getting Minx'd for some time now. How long have you been Minxin’ and what drew you to this cutting edge trend?

Tracylee: I started the beginning of this year, I feel like I've always been minxin', lol. After 20 years doing nails, I still read my trade and fashion magazines from cover to cover, reading every little ad, looking for the next great thing. I saw a small add in my nail magazine for minx, asked for a sample from the company and applied it to my boss. Within 2 hrs after leaving the salon, she was texting me, telling me I had to do Minx in the salon, as she was being bombarded with people wanting to know what it was and where to get it. I called my order in the next day!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you?

Tracylee: My days are never typical and change frequently! When I’m not working with Private Clients or Photo Shoots, I split my time between the celebrity salons of Suite 303 & Damone Roberts NY. Sometimes I work in 3 places in one day!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and manicurists specifically?

Tracylee: I think that a lot of people group all manicurists as the same. That is, until they come to me! lol...What I mean by that is, for some reason educating the consumer is not favorably looked upon in this industry. I educate every client that sits in my chair on my procedure, why things happen or don't happen, and nail anatomy, how to maintain their services, and the importance of seeking a well educated and experienced Tech. Most people who have never experienced a proper manicure, pedicure, nail enhancement service, etc., they don't know any different. I love talking about nails to anyone who will listen!!! ha!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming beauty pro wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Tracylee: First and foremost, you must be meticulous & diligent with your craft! It's a long, hard road to get into the freelance arena & working with Celebs. Anyone looking to do so needs the following: networking (this is mandatory), focus and hard work, also you be clean in your person and your kit, and be meticulous with your services, BE ON TIME, go above and beyond the job at hand. Most important...Professionalism!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you provide any mentoring or training for new manicurists?
Tracylee: I am planning to offer training for new and experienced Techs in 2010, in all phases of nail care. I am frequently helping other techs, so mentoring is gratifying to me. I not doing any mentorships at the time, but will gladly help anyone with some questions they may have. :*)

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! So what’s next for you? Any projects in the works that you can share with the readers?

Tracylee: I have so many projects coming up..Uggh, I overflow my plate!!. I really want to be an Educator, and I am working diligently and meeting with a couple of different companies in L.A. to make that happen. I am doing a fundraiser with Damone Roberts NY & Woman's Day Magazine, to raise money & awareness for Heart Disease, and I have a couple of awesome Fund Raisers coming up, which I will be doing manicures for and working with great wardrobe stylists, hair stylists & makeup artists. I am starting my own blog by the end of this year, and I also have a new business idea that I will be pursuing, but it's a secret for now! Lol

Thank you Tracy can't wait to see what's next for you!

For more information on Tracylee visit her web page and be sure to follow her twitter.

Ciao for now… Class is dismissed!

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She's Not Just a Manicurist - Master Medi Manicurist Athena Elliot

A few of the many attributes of Athena the Greek Goddess are: arts, industry, wisdom and skill and Athena Elliott. I’ve also had the pleasure of “meeting” Athena via Twitter another sweet and helpful fellow nail professional. I heart her! Get to know Athena bet you will too!

Athena: First let me say thank you so much for being interested in what I do and how I do it. Your blog/site is filled with informative and inspiring people... Thank You!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It’s my pleasure Athena… Tell me how long have you been in the industry?

Athena: I have been a nail tech for 30 yrs now.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a nail technician?
Athena: When I was in the 9th grade. Then in the summer of 1980 between 10th&11th grade my parents signed for me to go to vocational beauty school!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Other than the state required nail technology program did you receive any additional training before launching your career?

Athena: Well...I have been launching my career every day for the last 30 years! I am a leader by nature. Back then I was so ahead of my time. In fact I won the first nail competition using nail tips w two tone acrylic (pink and natural powders) out of 270 women I placed first. Awarded the Southwest title and a seat at the Nail Olympics in '86. Cont education is the key. You are only as good and successful as your learning curve. I have made many advances in my career. The one I am most proud of is becoming the countries first Medical Nail Technician.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and nail technicians specifically?

Athena: That all Asian salons are dirty and cheap. I have seen many many filthy nail techs/salons run by different ethnic groups including Caucasian. Disease and lack of sanitation knows no prejudice. The other is the misconception that "enhancements" ruin your natural nails. People these products are created for your nails! Uneducated techs, improper removal, not getting maintenance on time are all contributing to this idea that enhancements ruin your nails!! It's just no so.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?

Athena: Aside from leading my industry with Advanced Nail Care I have been published in many medical journals for my Prosthetic Toenail Series and contributed to "Death By Pedicure, Dirty Secretes of Nail Salon"

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Minx is all the new rage but Celebs have been getting Minxed for some time now. How long have you been Minxing and what drew you to this cutting edge trend?

Athena: While Minx has been out for two years, I have been "minxtified" for a little over a year. Since I am a former "Nail Tech of the Year" recipient and contributing writer for Nails Mag I never miss the "new product" section. There was an ad for a new type of BLING that polish just couldn’t compare. I didn’t have a clientele for Minx. I learned and they just found me. That simple.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you?

Athena: In by 7:30 work non stop minxing, lots of doctor referred pedicures, sequin nails...orchestrating events and travel plans and generating several new ideas for marketing every hour! I have trained five satellite locations to Minx and I'm working on two more. Out by 7pm. That’s 5 days a week. The other two days I manage 3 websites and all my own marketing.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Okay I'm dizzy just trying to imagine all of that. It seems that every up and coming beauty pro wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Athena: Move to LA! lol no not really but dang living in LA or NY sure makes for more work than living in a place as wonderfully behind in fashion as Houston! HA! I’m really just breaking into the entertainment industry myself. So. I have three rules...I say never pass up a marketing moment. While that might be cheesy to say, I’m never without my media bag! Complete with 2 camcorders, 2 jump drives, my lap top, camera and all the cables needed to catch that special video/photo to put on my website! Number's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission when it comes to being "paparazzi ready". Number three... NEVER be without your business card. I go through at least 1000 every month!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you provide any mentoring or training for new nail techs?
Athena: Yes I prefer to call it FEM-Toring! lol I have always been available to industry peeps through email ,text and now tweets. I am currently training Minx until the Minx Nails company rolls out their training program in 2010.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! So what’s next for you? Any projects in the works that you can share with the readers?

Athena: I have taken on the most "aspirational" project of my career. I am filming a documentary on a woman named Ayanna Williams called LIVING LONG-NAIL ADDICTION. Ayanna has natural nails 14-16 inches long and has been growing them for 13 years. This is a story about how her nails are affecting her life. You can see snippets on my blog .

Thank you Athena for that great interview be sure to check out Athena’s sites mentioned above and follow her Twitter.

Ciao for now… Class is Dismissed!

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Haute Hands - Circa Shop

I didn't get a chance to watch the Soul Train Music Awards but I did see the Twitter chatter about Fantasia's fashion especially her glove. You've gotten to know Toye Adedipe once on BeautySchooled! as the Image Maker of the week, now get to know him as the accessory designer and founder of I'm so happy and proud couldn't be happening to a better person! Check the interview for the special discount code for all BeautySchooled! readers at the Circa Shop.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Why'd you decide to open an online store?

Toye Adedipe: As a Fashion stylist, I've learned that one of the biggest punctuations to any outfit are accessories! They can tell a story, set a mode, or simply recreate a whole look. I wanted to create a store for people like myself that wanted to pump up the daily wardrobe with amazing pieces that have a high-fashion edge. So Far, all the pieces are handmade and totally ready-to-wear, So it makes it easy for people to relate to the products they may have seen in high-end stores but not want to pay the high-end price-tag. Sticker shock sucks when you see a product you really like so CircaShop makes it easy on your wallet.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How did you come up with the name?

Toye Adedipe: Good Question! Well the word "circa" to me means "by way of", "around the time of", or approximate... so when you go to "The Circa Shop", you're getting the accessories and trends as it relates to the "now". It’s never dated or incorrect, it's always current and definitely fashionable! It's "Circa". So at the end of the day-you win!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Was your mission to fill a void that was left by what's already out there?

Toye Adedipe: For Sure! I think everyone is a little more careful about how they spend their doe now-a-days, so I wanted to create a shop that you could be happy with the purchases you've made and not break the bank. Plus as a consumer, I've always been more drawn into "Style" as opposed to Fashion"... So when I set out to open up shop, I had to really raise the bar as high as possible when it came to the integrity of the accessories and how they where marketed. That means choosing high quality product with superior details and essentially... happy, returning customers.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Why gloves and earrings?

Toye Adedipe: Well, gloves and earrings are just the start and this might have been a little selfish on my end, but... I'm a big leather accessory fan and earrings always seem to make a finishing statement with me! Whenever I style women/celebrities or models, I always have it planned out in my head that I'm going to make it a “POW” statement with a dope leather glove or some type of "talk-about-it" earring or shoe. So when I saw a chance to sell the things that I loved it just made me "go for it"! (it may sound a little funny but in doing this venture I feel like I've become more empowered too) & not because of the "material" but because of the action I was able to take in order to sell the things that spoke to me-to the masses.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you design them yourself?

Toye Adedipe: The Majority of it. Yup!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! If so, what inspired your designs?

Toye Adedipe: I L-O-V-E strong women! I can't get enough of them! I surround myself with them and have become an incredible young man because of them! Women that motivate, stimulate and drive you to do better in your life have always inspired me to do MORE! and I wanted to pay tribute so I named a lot (well, all) of the first group of products after some of the most influential women in my life now. Hi MOM!!! *(waves)*

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Will you expand to other items and/or accessories?

Toye Adedipe: Definitely! Men's products are on the way! MAJOR!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You can also add any additional information that you think the readers will want to know...

Toye Adedipe: In celebration to the New Shop, The Circa shop! All Beauty Schooled readers get an additional 15% off all purchases with this discount code: Beauty, Enjoy you guys!!! Toye*

Thanks Toye for the scoop and the reader's discount. Be sure to visit and follow Toye's Twitter and Blog!

Ciao for now!

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Queen of Talons - London's Top Manicurist Sophy Robson

It’s amazing how what you put into the universe responds in kind whether that be positive or negative so guard your thoughts people! Earlier this year when I decided to enroll in a nail technology program, I started doing research on manicurists and what made the top manicurist… well, so special. In my research I of course came across state side manicurists Deborah Lippmann, Jin Soon, Lisa Logan and Ji Baek, and then... a name I hadn't heard before Sophy Robson the UK's "it" nail girl, the one Mr. Tom Ford calls on for his shoots. The more I learned about Sophy the more blown away I became… In fact Ms. Robson is on my vision board, I love her work ethic especially how she allows her talent to speak for itself as opposed to boasting about her her celebrity roster (which happens to include some Royals) -- who knew just a few short months later that I’d be interviewing her! Her love and passion for what she does is undeniable... Get to know this week’s Image Maker Sophy Robson, you’ll be glad you did!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Sophy Robson: Nearly 10 years already!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a manicurist?

Sophy Robson: I started by doing my own nails in a French manicure style – there were not many places you could get your nails done in London, at the time so you had to do it yourself. I became obsessed with doing it perfectly.

As soon as I enrolled on a "nail enhancement" course at my local college, I started to get offers of work. It was just starting to get popular here so there was never a conscious decision - it just happened! Oh I had just become a single parent so I needed to earn a living!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and manicurist specifically?

Sophy Robson: I don’t know about America, but I felt there was quite snobbery towards the profession when I started. In actual fact the starting pay for a trained nail technician was way higher than a beautician, make up or hair artist. I feel a lot more respected for what I do now than in the early days. I still find some PR companies that are sending polishes out to take up artists who can’t even do nails, which is a bit silly. Things are improving all the time though.
I started my blog as I wanted to show the quality of my work close up, and show it was not retouched. Often, the detail is lost in the photos you see in magazines due to the lighting or lack of sharpness of the image. I was amazed by the International interest and support I began receiving and it has now opened up so many doors, it has been the best thing I could have done. I wanted to show that there is real thought and skill behind it, for all those that thought I "just paint nails for a living"!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?

Sophy Robson: I think as nails have become more popular, I have moved beyond just doing a perfect manicure(whether real or fake) or pedicure, to being as creative as I can with it and trying to bring different nail styles to the fore and making nail art stylish and chic.

When I first did extensions on shoots the people I was working with were amazed by how quick and real looking the results were.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You were a big presence at all the Fashion Weeks, how does a manicurist make the transition from the salon to editorial work and backstage at Fashion Weeks?

Sophy Robson: The first thing I would suggest is to read all the best current fashion magazines so you can see what kind of nails you will be required to do. You should keep up with all the current trends and new technologies in nails and that means investing TIME and money in yourself. There are no excuses - if you want to do it that bad, you should make it your priority to invest in the best.

It is really hard to break into the fashion industry as it is extremely cliquey and to begin with you will have to work for free to prove yourself, but I believe if you want it badly enough it will happen for you. The opportunities are out there. Working as an assistant is a good way to start working with the right people and to get access to seeing how the fashion world works. By checking editorial credits, you can research who works in the field near you and try contacting their agency to offer your services. You need to throw all your conventional ideas and rules out the window as fashion is a law unto itself.

The problem is working as an assistant is not paid and neither is some editorial work so you will need to build up a clientele to support yourself financially. Unfortunately working in a salon is not easy as you will not be able to get time off for fashion work at short notice, so a lot of schedule juggling is required. When I think back to my early days, the first step I took was to collect photos and tear sheets from model clients (commercial not fashion) put them in an album and took it to agencies to show them how good I was. I have always said you can be amazing at what you do but if you keep it to yourself how is anyone going to know! This is what is so good about the internet, you can put yourself out there and people will come to you if they are interested.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you?

Sophy Robson: What I love about my life is there is no typical day anymore! I am normally working on photo shoots at least 3 days a week. Sometimes they start at 8am or even earlier for commercials, but usually at 9 or 10 on a good day...As long as I have my coffee in the morning I am good to go! My daughter leaves at 730 so we normally have breakfast together. I will either be at a studio or on a location (such as hotels or unusual houses) so I normally have a car to pick me up as I don't drive to work anymore.

Sometimes it is one model and very straightforward, other days there could be up to 6 models and I have to do extensions on everyone. Everyday is different in terms of what the client wants and what the job entails. I also work for other brands such as Chanel and Sisley when they have product launches, which involves demonstrating on the beauty press. I really love that work as well as it allows me to expound my intimate knowledge to a captive audience, and they always really enjoy the experience which gives you amazing job satisfaction.

I also go to my salon The Sophy Robson Nailcare Clinic to meet my own clients or I will have private bookings with some of my elite clientele at their house or wherever they are staying. As well as all that I still have to answer many administrative emails a day, and upload my blog with new posts as I have a loyal following now which is so great. I seem to be doing more and more press interviews which also takes up time.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming beauty pro wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Sophy Robson: I think if you are really good at what you do, celebrities will come to you as word gets around. I would say focus on your abilities and your quality of service as that is way more important in the long term, than chasing after celebrities. Be careful because some celebrities may not appreciate you mouthing off to the media and trying to gain off their glory and that will always be short lived.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you provide any mentoring or training for new manicurists?

Sophy Robson: I do get a few people writing to me or whatever but I haven really found anyone with the right mental attitude to the industry and this is something you can not teach. I am looking for passion, motivation, dedication and ability. It has taken 10 years to get to this point and I did not have anyone to mentor me. I am trying to explain through my interviews the processes of how to make it work for you. They can come try out as an assistant.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! So what’s next for you? Are there any projects in the works that you can share with the readers? What about nail trends for the coming year?

Sophy Robson: The media is fixated with nails at the moment, which is great. I hope this will continue. When I first discovered the nail industry, I felt my ideas were so different from what everyone else was doing. For example my first fixation was making the most natural looking nail extensions when everyone else was into the white tip look. I found there was quite a demand for it and at first I used tips and cut out the well area to make the smile line deeper. I learned this technique from a master technician called Tom Holcomb, and it went against what everyone else was doing at the time and others were openly skeptical about the "strength" being lost, which turned out to be nonsense. At the time it was the norm to "blend" tips into the natural nail which was not only time consuming, but had increased risk of filing into natural nail and didn’t look real enough for me when finished.

Then I learned how to sculpt nails with another expert Leighton Denny, but I achieved the more natural effect by mixing white and clear powder before it was common practice to have "customized" white. I am always thinking outside the box and always knew I was in a different world from the the past year I have become slightly obsessed with modernizing the "nude nail" look as I was so bored of the sheer pink nails. So mannequin effect nails are becoming more and more acceptable, whereas before it was seen as weird looking. Nail designs and embellishments are becoming more and more popular as it loves from The Hood to the High Street.

I also think a longer more pointed shape will become much more common than the still popular squoval shape.

As my name becomes more recognized and my following grows larger, I concentrate on building the Sophy Robson brand so it becomes a commercially viable, International entity.

Thank you so much Sophy for an incredibly insightful and in-depth interview, we are definitely looking forward to what happens next with the Sophy Robson brand.

To learn more about Sophy Robson check out her blog and be sure to follow her twitter.

Ciao for now… Class is dismissed!

{Photo credits: Tom Ford Campaign by Mert & Marcus, Hand shot in UK Vogue by Mark Mattock, Japanese Vogue by Solve Sondsbo}

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The Artist Summit Day I Keynote: A Career In Makeup

For both nights of The Artist Summit a group of the featured artist got together to give a Keynote. It was pretty awesome to hear each of them tell their stories of how they got their start in the industry and some of the challenges they've faced. Here's a portion of the Keynote from that night... somehow though I only seemed to get Johnny Lavoy... hmmm LOL enjoy! (sorry the heat kept kicking on so in some areas it's difficult to hear.)

Ciao... Class is dismissed!

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Artist Summit Chicago Videos - Portfolio and Web Focus with Michael DeVellis and Crystal Wright

It's been a few weeks since the Artist Summit in Chicago but as promised here is a series of videos that I shot with my small Canon Powershot camera. This paticuar seminar Portfolio and Website Focus was headed by Michael DeVellis, the founder of The Powder Group (he's gonna kill me for posting the video) and Crystal Wright, author and motivational speaker.

I could have taken notes and posted them but I thought the video would be a lot more interesting. My apologies there's like 8 or so video, my arm kept getting tired. Enjoy and please by all means leave your feed back!

Ciao... Class is dismissed!

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Everything's BIG in Texas - Professinal Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist Bridgett H.

This week's Image Maker is an ┼▒ber talented hairstylist and makeup artist out of Dallas, you'll definitely want to get to know Bridgett H.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Bridgett H: I have been in the industry 15 years. I've been a hair stylist for 15 years and doing make up for 4 years.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to be a hair stylist?

Bridgett H: It's funny I am such a tomboy the only times I would play with my dolls is to do there hair. I knew then that's what I wanted to do. As soon as I graduated from high school I went straight to beauty school.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Other than a cosmetology school have you had any additional training or education that you believe has helped you to stand out amongst the sea of other hair stylist?

Bridgett H: Yes, I have trained with Toni & Guy very nice class. Also with Patric Bradley I have done extensive training with him for the last 2 years he is awesome. Wella , Mizani, Lorel, Dudley I have done a lot I've been around a long time. My goal is to go to Europe and do some training.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You’re also an incredible makeup artist, why did you decide to add makeup to your offerings?

Bridgett H: I had a regular 9-5 and it didn't work at all! So after that I decided I need something with the same flexibility as being a stylist and it went from there.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you do any additional training for that?

Bridgett H: I trained at Elan's Make Up Academy, Danessa Myrics. Trucco, Mac, Toni & Guy, Last Looks, Dinar I've invested a lot into my profession I read a lot and I go to plenty of seminars and trainings.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?

Bridgett H: They would say I am out the box I don't like normal or what ever everyone else is doing. Plus I am very business oriented, and straight to the point.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You’re a salon owner? When did you open your salon?

Bridgett H: It just kinda happen I had been in a suite for 10 years and I was looking for something more private and I found a professional building with office spaces and turned it into a studio salon.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You’re also key makeup artist for Boom Town Productions what does that entail?

Bridgett H: Of course make up, hair some times depending on the video and the leads and budget. It might sound crazy I also do casting, production assisting and what ever else they need me to do. I've been with them for a long time before the big video's we work together its like family.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You know my next question is where on earth do you find the time and what’s a typical working day like for you? Is there such thing as a typical day?

Bridgett H: Wow God gives me all the energy and my boys motivate me and when there is down time I catch up on my rest. It really depends on what I have to do video, hair or photo shoot it just depends and I plan around my sons. Being my own boss gives me that flexibility to do what I do I am truly blessed. There's not a typical day but I always have a plan.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry makeup artists and hair stylists specifically?

Bridgett H: The biggest thing is that some people feel there shoots will be successful without one or the other. When actually you need both to make the project they are working on complete.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming makeup and hairstylists wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Bridgett H: You would need to perfect your craft get the best training available invest in yourself!! Put a portfolio together keep business cards a website etc... I met Mr. Boomtown and put one of my comp cards in his hand when I was leaving a beauty supply. I didn't know who he was. However, the next week I was in Houston working. Also on my free time I am collaborating with a photographer, stylist and model to keep my book updated and I submit my work to different magazines. Also surround yourself around people that are doing what you are wanting to do. Plus its nothing wrong with doing a job for free, assisting or interning. I learned a lot from different make up artist and hair stylist doing that.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! So what’s next for you? Any projects in the works that you can share with the readers?

Bridgett H: What’s next for me I am training with a company to become an educator. I'm getting my book together to be signed with an agency out side of Texas. Just to keeping on track with my goals working hard.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you hire assistants, provide mentoring for young stylists or offer any workshops or training?

Bridgett H: Yes I do apprenticeships. I also teach make up classes and on the video sets I am always looking for up and coming mua's to intern.

Thank you Bridgett for that awesome interview!

For more information on interning or Bridgett's workshops visit her websites: Hair, Makeup and be sure to check her twitter.

Ciao for now... Class is dismissed!

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Beauty Is As Beauty Does - Makeup Artist Kelley Epps-Woods

Some people just have "that" thing... it's in the way they walk, the way the talk... with Kelley I recognized it in her love of beauty and what she does... Get to know Kelley Epps-Woods you'll see it too!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Kelley Epps-Woods: I have been working in the industry for 12 years, and have been doing makeup for 8 years.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?

Kelley Epps-Woods: I knew I wanted to become a makeup artist one day when I was in church. It was the summer after I graduated from college and a revelation came upon me, and I remember whispering to my mother as it hit me, 'I'm going to be a makeup artist'. That's the day that changed my life.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you receive any formal education prior to launching your career?

Kelley Epps-Woods: I had not received any formal training upon launching my career. However, the years prior to me doing makeup I worked for a local magazine photo studio, as a receptionist and was always exposed to makeup. My life prior to college consisted of sneakers, and sweats so makeup was not the first thing on my mind.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Okay, so that was a "transition"... What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and makeup artists specifically?

Kelley Epps-Woods: I think the misconception about the industry and makeup artist is that it comes easy. Because you have makeup brushes, and makeup does not necessarily make you a makeup artist, or professional artist. It takes years of doing faces, knowledge, and learning your craft in order to establish yourself in the world of makeup artistry. It takes very hard work and dedication.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When was your first big break, and what was it?

Kelley Epps-Woods: I would say my first big break was when I got a call from an old coworker, and he asked if I still did makeup. At the time, I hadn't even started doing makeup, but he assumed I did.. I said, 'uhhh yeah'..He said, "I have someone that is doing a pageant and needs their face done". I said okay, great. Needless to say, the client paid me to do her makeup for her. Now this was a big deal because who would have thought I would get paid, on a first gig.

With a swarm of people around backstage, not only did I do her face, but countless others paid me just to do their face. That was the night I knew would be just the beginning to great things to come.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Nice! It's amazing how things come together when you're on your "path". Kelley, you do many other things but your primary focus is Bridal Makeup Artistry, is that correct? If so, Why bridal?

Kelley Epps-Woods: Yes, I do focus a lot of my artistry on Brides. There's something about the special relationship between the Bride and the Artist. It's a complete trust that the bride has for her artist on one of the most important days of her life. I love capturing and bringing out the natural beauty in the Bride. My specialty for brides are their eyes. The perfect blend of colors and the sultry flair of lashes are what I love. Eyes, are the one thing that leads her down the aisle, and the first thing that the Groom looks into.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You also write can, you tell us more about that?

Kelley Epps-Woods: My natural love for all things makeup and beauty led me to start my blog The Makeup Loft. It first started with talking about my favorite products that I use whether on my clients, or in general. I then started receiving tons of questions, and feedback regarding the products, and or about makeup artistry. I started devoting my post to those questions alone. For my writing, over a year ago I was asked to be a Beauty Writer for a online magazine, Second City Style, where I did daily beauty articles, news and illustrations that reached thousands of women. Within a couple of months, I was asked to be the Beauty Editor, and would over see all of the functions for beauty for the magazine. So with that, I am always involved and stimulated in all arena's with beauty, and I love it.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you and how do you manage to keep things organized?

Kelley Epps-Woods: A typical working day for me will start early morning, with a client booking or wedding. Sometimes its several gigs a day or just one. I tend to do most of my administrative working, invoices, call backs, etc. in the evenings.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming makeup artist wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Kelley Epps-Woods: Some want to work with celebrities instantly. However, most times it takes some years of work before you get your first celebrity. Learning about the business, networking and hands on makeup, is essential in gaining your clientele. Becoming a successful working makeup artist does not come overnight, and takes years and years of work . I always say, to be successful in this business you have to be a student of the business.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! I love that! "Be a student of the business..." Kelley, what would you say is the most important lesson you have learned or the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received that helped your career?

Kelley Epps-Woods: The most important piece of advice I have received that has helped me, was to never give up. So many times, when I first started and was seeking knowledge, and may have become frustrated, were the times that I questioned if this was for me. However, following my heart, and what I believed and others believed, I kept going. And it's times like that, that I can appreciate where I am now, and it has made me a better artist.

Thank you Kelley for such an incredible interview, be sure to check out Kelley's website to learn more about what she does and follow her blog and Twitter for inside product and fashion week backstage scoops.

Ciao for now...Class is Dismissed!

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