Nail School Update: Intro / Alpha Phase Complete!

I’ve come to realize that I’m a terrible blogger when it comes to school!  I think my updates will be less frequent than I had originally planned, but at a minimum I’m going to cover the three phases of the program.  I haven’t taken many pictures because we really don’t do much nail art, and we haven’t started sculpting yet.  The pictures below were taken this past Thursday when my mom came in for a mani and pedi.  :)

The first phase called Intro/Alpha was seven weeks long and involved mostly non-clinic hours (77), and only a few clinic hours (21.5).  We spent the first five weeks in the classroom covering most of the textbook.  Our project for this phase was a book report where we had to find a book about sales and write about 13 different sales techniques that could be used in the nail salon environment.  It only had to be one page typed, so it was super easy.  I wrote two pages because it was almost impossible to fit that much info on just one page.

We practiced manicures, Shellac manicures and pedicures on live models in week 4 and then tested out at the end of week 5.  The test out consisted of a written test that covered all of the chapters that we learned so far, and we had to perform a manicure and pedicure on a live model which we were scored on as well.  Everyone in the class passed, which meant that we got to start working on the floor and taking clients in week 6.

Applying Shellac on my mom

Applying Shellac on my mom

I was so nervous about working on clients, but I’ve been doing it for 3 weeks now and it gets a little easier each time.  Luckily, my very first client was a 14-year-old girl that was getting her very first manicure, so she had no idea whether I was doing it right or not!  LOL  Of course I did my best, but it took the pressure off knowing that she wasn’t judging my performance.  She was completely thrilled with her first manicure experience, which I was relieved about.

I still prefer doing Shellac manicures over regular ones since it’s what I know best and am most comfortable with.  We use Zoya nail polish for our regular manis and I dislike working with it because it gets thick really fast.  Brand new bottles are easy to apply, but after a few uses they are goopy and difficult to use.  Ugh!

I was absolutely dreading doing pedicures on people, but it’s not quite as bad as I had imagined.  I enjoy doing the massage part of a pedi.  It’s really hard on your body to sit in that position for an hour at a time though!  Major props to people that do it all the time for a living, because my body aches after doing just one usually.  Feet are still a little icky to me, especially soggy feet that have been soaking a while.  I’m dealing with it.  LOL

Doing a pedicure for my mom

Doing a pedicure for my mom

On the days when we work on the floor we either take appointments, help out in the mani and pedi rooms, or we play on our fake hands in the classroom if there’s nothing to be done.  Usually Thursday nights are slow, but I’ve been asking my family & friends to make appointments on that day to keep me busy.  Saturdays are an absolute zoo and we work all day long.  The past two Saturdays I’ve done two manis and two pedis, which is a lot for a beginner.  And because my first name starts with A, I am first in the rotation when clients call to book so I’m busy all the time.  The girls that have names further down the alphabet are hardly getting any clients, which doesn’t seem like a fair system at all.  They really need to find a way to rotate the schedule better.

I passed the Intro/Alpha stage with an overall score of 98%!  Woot!  The second phase is the Beta/Gamma Phase, which began last week.  In this 7 week phase we’ll spend most of our time on the floor working with clients and only one evening a week in the classroom.  Our project consists of creating a resume with a cover letter, thank you letter, job application form and we have to answer potential interview questions and come up with our own questions for a potential employer.  We’ll be learning artificial nail services including tips, wraps, and acrylics, and we’ll do mock state board test outs.

I’m looking forward to learning acrylics, but we don’t perform acrylic services on clients so I’ll only be working on my fake hand.  I’ll be in seek of some volunteers who will allow me to experiment on them.  :)

Also now that I’ve been working with products there are a whole slew of new things on my wishlist!  LOL  I really really want to buy a towel warmer because the hot towel treatments are amazing… but do I really need that in my home just for me?  Probably not.  I also want every Aveda product imaginable.  I bought a few of them already, but I’m holding off because I believe we earn a commission that we can spend on products when we upsell to clients.



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9 Responses

  1. Connie says:

    Andrea, EXCELLENT job on the Intro stage!!! I know it takes time getting these blog updates out. Just wanted to let you know we appreciate reading about your experiences. Good luck in Beta/Gamma!

  2. shannon says:

    Keep it up girl. It’s hard work but worth it. Everyone thinks it’s an easy industry to get into, but not so much if you are serious. Keep having fun too. You’ve got this!

  3. Missy S says:

    Keep up the great work you are doing!!! Working with the public is never an easy job. Good luck in your next phase!!

  4. Amy says:

    Well done! x

  5. Johnetta Harris says:

    Hi Andrea! I recently came across your blog and I’m completely obsessed with gel and gel nail art because of it. Your post and videos are so informative. I have a nice little wish list going myself. Hehehe. I just realized you are local to me! I’m in Twinsburg!! So if you need practice hands let me know!!! :)

  6. Carrie Anne says:

    Hi Andrea! I can’t give you a hard time on your lack of updates since I failed to reply to you last time, and I meant to reply to this post oh… days ago. I could say it’s because I’m taking a painting class, but that’s just an excuse ;)

    When do you take clients? I’m sort of tempted to come on out there and meet you via a manicure/pedicure. Plus I’ve never seen the school.

    I can already see why some students would go to your school even though they went to mine. To be honest, if there were a way to do just certain parts I’d take classes (products, pedicures in the thrones, Aveda procedures).

    So far it sounds like some of my management class has been implemented into your Alpha and Beta/Gamma phases. Everything about resumes, interviewing, learning product lines, salon math, budgeting, and most of insurance was in my management class at the very end. My projects (resume, portfolio, product line knowledge, etc) were all for that section too. It was _intense_. It was 100 class hours, and since I went full-time the entire management class, with projects, was done in two and a half weeks. Right before Christmas. I actually left right after school on the 21st and drove to Massachusetts with my partner to see my parents. I finished school right after I got back between Christmas and New Years. Wow I got completely off track, but it seemed like the story would be incomplete if I had left that out.

    Our school offered basic water manicures or “oil” manicures (warming lotion in a little warmer actually) with regular polish, up-charge for french or paraffin dip. And basic pedicures, up-charge for french, no paraffin, while sitting in a seated hair dryer chair with their feet in a black dish bucket. I won’t lie, our equipment was … basic. Our provided materials were inexpensive school use brands not salon use brands. We didn’t offer gel polish or nail enhancements. Our teacher demoed lots of different kinds of gels to us including gel polishes, but the actual curricula stops there. We didn’t get any gel anything in our student kit, and our acrylic kit was insufficient if you actually practiced before your test. Two of us had a strong interest in gels and got our own things that we brought into class. For whatever reason we didn’t get a lot of clients so one of the things we spent extra time on was gel polish and hard gel enhancements. We ended up with a lot of no client time, and I spent my no client time sculpting with L&P or hard gel. That’s uncommon and most classes spend all their clinical hours on clients.

    From start to finish school took less than three months. I spent all of my free time studying, practicing, or sleeping. I’m impatient and that school was a lot cheaper. Those were the reasons for my choice. If Brown-Aveda had a full-time program I would have preferred that. I almost did it, but impatient won out, hah!

    So to sum up: if those students were full-time from my school and went to yours I can see so many reasons why it makes a huge difference for them. If they were part-time they had different teachers, and I think they only took clients on Saturday so their experience was different in those ways.

    Also, do you retail Zoya polishes there and do you have those velvet matte ones?

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Carrie Anne! Thanks for responding. We take clients on Thursday evenings and all day Saturday right now. Our third 7-week phase covers the management course so we will be in the classroom Weds and Thurs evenings and on the floor on Saturdays. We don’t have much down time on our clinic days to play. We just learned acrylic sculpting this past week and I really want to practice. I did it in my house last night and it still smells awful. LOL

      Aveda’s essential manis and pedis include some extras including exfoliation and hydrating masques with the hot towel treatment. We upsell paraffin for hands and feet, French, Vinylux, and Shellac. We sell Zoya polishes for $10/bottle, and we do have some of the matte ones.

      We don’t perform any nail enhancements on clients and we only get the State Board acrylic set in our kit. They provide CND acrylic products in school for practice. We don’t learn gel enhancements at all, which is a bummer since I really wanted to learn both.

      Come on out sometime! :)

  7. Carrie Anne says:

    The odorless acrylic is pretty bad, but the first time you get real liquid up near your nose you’ll just about die. I kept the window open right next to where I was practicing even though it was pretty cold. One of the problems is that the vapors are heavy so they linger. That’s why I like gel so much! I use Young Nails Synergy gels. I took off my nails to try out IBX, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to last without putting them back on. I miss them.