Pro Spotlight: Miss Pop
Meet mani extraordinaire @misspopnails. We sat down with her and got the scoop on her start in the professional nail industry, where she draws inspiration from, and tips on becoming a professional nail technician.
OPI: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us! We're excited to share your experience. How did you initially decide to pursue a career in the nail industry?
MP: Since I was a toddler, I have painted my nails every week — and my mom has the nail polish splattered kitchen tiles to show for it. (Sorry, mom!) Nail polish was always part of my beauty ritual and I dabbled in nail art as a tween, but it wasn’t until I got sick and was stuck in bed recovering that it became my only outlet for self-expression. Soon, my passion turned into an obsession and when I could, I enrolled in beauty school just to perfect my technique. But by the time I graduated, I was taking nails more seriously and decided to switch careers and pursue nails full time.
OPI: What is the OPI product you can’t live without?
MP: My O.P.I. rainbow nippers are my absolute fav. The only thing more satisfying than clipping a hangnail is doing it with my colorful nippers! Infinite Shine is a close second. Love me some long-wear lacquer!
OPI: What tools do you typically include in your nail kit?
MP: I travel with two kit bags and they are bursting with every shade of lacquer, lotions, potions, and tricks I can shove in. I travel every day with no less than 300 bottles of nail polish, 50 orange sticks, 50 disposable table towels, 30 nail files in a variety of grits, buffers, brushes, a rainbow of stripers, a dozen press on sets, a handful of pedi slippers and separators, 6 double-ended dotting tools, hand make up for all skin tones, two kinds of remover, two kinds of tape, barbicide, cuticle oil, hand cream, a nail art palette, and, of course, hand sanitizer.
OPI: Do you have an all-time favorite event or photoshoot you created nail looks for?
MP: My favorite look is the next one I’ll create!
OPI: What is the process you go through to create a new nail art look? Where do you find inspiration?
MP: My clients are my muses. I create looks on sets, for runway shows, and red carpets. Most of the time, I am painting minutes after seeing what outfits the model or celebrity will be wearing and I’ll only have 15-30 minutes to give them a mani. I have to think fast, but there is so much inspiration in the fun fashion and even more colorful people I get to collaborate with!
OPI: What were some of the more intricate looks or techniques you found challenging when you were starting out? How did you improve your skills?
MP: I did not go to school for fine art and oh, how I wish I had! I am a self-taught nail artist, so every design is challenging at first. I have learned a lot from watching nail art tutorials on the internet and social media. (Have you seen the dotticure tutorial by @nailartbysig?!) I could watch my colleagues paint nails 24/7! I find the videos so informative and so relaxing. Painting, even via ASMR, is my happy place.
OPI: How has social media played a role in your success and growing your nail career?
MP: I started my whole career— albeit accidentally— on social media. MissPopNails.tumblr.com was born around a decade ago and I shared my nails each and every week on that handle. The best part of social media for me, both then and now, is connecting with nail artists around the globe! I love sharing tips, tricks, and looks. Before I realized my nail art could be a career, I was being approached for collaborations on my handle. After receiving my license, I couldn’t wait to officially open for business!
OPI: What type of content should nail techs post?
MP: Everyone’s handle is a reflection of their own personality. Share what you want to share, but understand why your audience is there. The vast majority of my posts are close up hand shots where you can clearly see the nail art because that’s my chosen form of expression and what my handle name promises. I’m @MissPopNails after all! That being said, I think sharing some of your personal life, inspiration, etc. can be relationship building. Your point of view and who you are as an artist (and don’t forget your adorable pet, if you have one!) are interesting to people who love your work. But there is no obligation to share that stuff if you don’t want to.
OPI: What advice would you give a nail tech that isn’t on social media? How should they get started? Do you like free advertising? Would you like your clients to be inspired to choose more than just a nude?
MP: Show your skills! Show your work! Link them directly to your booking. It does not matter how many followers you have. You will tempt your current clients and attract new clients who are reassured by seeing your skills. Post as often as you like. Being a manicurist is a full-time job, of course, but even if you just post once a week, you will soon have a portfolio to show off. If you are proud of your work, you have nothing to lose. It’s worth noting, your business handle should not be by request only. Allow it to be public.
OPI: What are some best practices when it comes to social media that you keep in mind, given that you are operating your account as a business?
MP: You do you. That’s what social media is all about. We have to keep a professional relationship with our clients, but there is also a personal connection that makes our work so special. That being said, know where to draw the line on your public and professional handle. Don’t post anything you don’t want to talk about. Don’t post anything after two drinks. Keep your clothes on, or your clients might think you are interested in another kind of business. And if you’re going to endorse a product, do a giveaway, or offer a coupon code, screen those brands thoroughly. Make sure you are standing behind something you believe in. You and your work are too valuable to risk for something as frivolous as a post. Now, if you want to use social media for dating and personal purposes, that’s also a great idea! Use another handle.