Susan Lanigan's Story
Not unlike many little girls, I had an affinity for beauty. Certainly close to driving my Mother to madness, I cut all my Barbie’s hair, ‘did’ their make up, and painted their nails. With fair certainty, I figured I knew all the tricks to make a woman look even more stunning than she already was.
Hair was important to me and I began having mine ‘streaked’ (as they called it) in the early 80’s. Then came nails. Always a fascination, I’d watch my nail tech create stunning pink and whites. I adorned these for many, many years.
It’s funny thinking about it now, we wouldn’t have dreamed having anything else on our nails but pink and whites. Even when we wanted polish; they still went over the pink and whites!
In 2002, I found myself relocating back to BC after having been in Saskatchewan for 4 years. Newly divorced, and with three children, I’d had the luxury of being a stay at home Mum. Now that the three children were all in school, I thought, “What am I going to do to best support myself and still be available to the children?”
I was fortunate at that time to have a bit of money tucked away and I pondered on what to do so I could either stay at home, or be close to home.
When I found my New Nail Tech in town, she encouraged me to look into training as a Nail Tech myself. There were several choices to ponder, but I decided on a certified trade school that was then called Spa One Naturally. My education was exceptional. Even after I had graduated, the support I received was ongoing.
While I didn’t become a full time Nail Tech, I always had a small handful of clients and worked primarily as a mobile tech, or from my home. This worked perfectly for my family.
The industry had just become deregulated just as I obtained my education, and I saw such a decline in the standards of the industry. The Non Standardized Salons (NSS) popped up everywhere. It seemed that many of the clientele didn’t have the good sense to question the practices, only the prices.
Sitting on the sidelines, practicing the high standards taught in school, I became passionate about preaching ‘the basics’ of nail technology. Health, sanitization, proper nail preparation, and style and structure.
I continued to take ongoing education to further my knowledge. The internet exploded with a plethora of good (and not so good) sources of information and education for teaching practices.
In 2009, my Nail Tech Educator took her school and developed an online school. This blew my mind! Had I not been so fortunate to have the time and resources when I did, I’d have never been able to become a Nail Tech. Now, with online education, it opens up the possibilities to so many who may not have the time, means or location for good quality education. The thing about the school she created, is that it was the only online school that was a registered trade school. THAT was worth taking notice of.
In 2011, Cheryl approached me and asked if I would join her team. With a discerning eye and calming voice, I spent hours pouring over student assignments that came in the mail. Creating short videos on each assignment, bringing attention to the strengths and areas of improvement of their work. Sometimes just a phone call, and additional video, or a Skype session is just what it takes when a student is struggling, and is all they need to feel like they were right in the classroom. I feel good about helping teach the foundational skills in nail technology. I remain with the school today as the Director of Student Assessments.
My passion for nails is unending. I still and will always attend as many educational sessions as I can, as we are forever evolving and changing in the industry. The movement of bringing back standards and Health and Safety guidelines is paramount as we teach men and women the foundations in nail technology.
My ‘handful’ of clients has grown substantially and I’ve also become a certified Eyelash Technician. What can I say? I love my client’s reactions after we finish a set of sculpted nails, or given her a pair of stunning lash extensions!