Pro Spotlight: Raven Hennington-Billberry
There's no denying we're a bit obsessed with our community of professional nail techs - the women and men who have been loyal OPI enthusiasts throughout each collection, color system, and crazy shade name we come up with. We recently chatted with someone who has been working closely with us since September 2015 and . Get to know the incredible Raven Hennington-Billberry by reading her interview below and be sure to follow her on Instagram @nailsbyraven.
Tell us who you are.
Raven Hennington-Billberry aka @nailsbyraven. Mom, Wife, Nail Junkie Extraordinaire ;)
How did you get into nails?
My mom had her license and did nails at our house when I was a kid growing up in Texas, and the seed was planted then. I've been pretty obsessed with nails since I was 7 or 8, and was a regular in nail salons every 2 to 3 weeks from the age of 15 until now. I've always wanted to do something in beauty.
Where do you usually get your nail art inspiration from?
Everywhere..I like line work, because it looks so clean. So stuff like architecture, or a pattern on clothes, Instagram, Pinterest. I follow a bunch of nail artists from all over the world.
When did you decide to become a licensed nail tech?
In 2011. I was visiting my brother in Texas and he referred me to a salon that was a couple of doors down from his restaurant. I went in to have my nails done, and had an epiphany while I was there that I needed to get into beauty and have my own salon one day. My brother passed suddenly 2 months after. We were extremely close, and one of the things that helped me deal with his death was knowing that when he left here, he was happy, and doing something he loved. It was then that I decided I was going to give this nail thing a try. I talked to my husband, he was supportive, I talked to my boss, she let me keep my salary and adjust my schedule around school, found a school, and started in January 2012. I started January 17th, which was my sister's birthday, and finished on May 1st which was my stepdad's birthday. I graduated May 1st and took and passed my state boards on May 23rd.
When did you decide to become an OPI Pro?
It kind of just happened. I met Sara Chavez and her husband Gabriel at an event where we were all volunteering, and we exchanged info. Sara contacted me almost a year later to see if I was available to help with a PR event. I was, it went well, and I kept getting asked to do more events, house calls for VIP's and eventually photo shoots.
How did you become so successful in the nail space?
I always tell people it's my steady hand, and my trusty clean up brush! LOL!! I have a mean case of OCD, so I try to pay very close attention to detail. I think my personality helps too. :-) I'm pretty relatable. I've lived a lot of different places, I've traveled a little bit, I try to stay abreast of current events. People tend to enjoy spending time in my chair. I also have been told that I have a gentle touch, and that it's appreciated.
How do you think social media has contributed to your success?
Social media is a great set of platforms to reach so many different people all over the world! It has enabled me to create relationships with people that I probably wouldn't have known had it not been for Facebook, or Instagram. Along that same grain, my Instagram page enables me to be recognized and approached for a wide variety of opportunities. I've had quite a few different salons reach out to me about employment opportunities because they saw and liked my work on Instagram. I've also gained quite a few clients from my Instagram page.
Tell us about your job with OPI.
I've been working with OPI since September 2015. I started out working at PR events, and that turned into me doing VIP house calls for Samantha Harris from Entertainment Tonight, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. Now, I do quite a few photo and video shoots with the OPI marketing team. As of late, I've also become a featured blogger for the professional blog.
Tell us about your relationship with OPI.
I LOVE OPI!! I look forward to each event and photo shoot, as I never know what to expect. It's always an adventure! I've also formed friendships with some of the OPI staff and some of the models.
Why do you love using/working with OPI?
It's a very widely known and recognized product, their colors are so pretty, and OPI just makes great products.
What are some of your go to products?
Bond Aid is one of my favorite prep products. I make it a point to use it with every pedicure. My clients Pedi's always last 2 to 3 weeks with no chipping. I also love the new Artist Series Design Gels. They are pretty awesome for nail art. And of course, the new Strengthening Gel Basecoat is great!
Are you a lacquer, Infinite Shine, or GelColor girl?
OPI lacquer all day for pedicures, and OPI GelColor for manicures!
Can you tell us what you like about each of the products?
The Prowide brush is a great applicator, not too small, not too big. The shades are to die for! I go for either nudes, bright colors, or glitter, and OPI offers great selections of all of those. I love the GelColor because all of the colors are very true. You only need 2 coats and it wears very well! Most of my clients get 3 weeks of wear out of their gel manicures.
What do you see being the future of nails? What is the next big trend?
I can see more people going back to natural nails, less acrylic, and I can see more nail bars taking over the little neighborhood nail salons. As far as nail art, the sky is the limit. The chrome and metallic nails are super hot right now, so I am guessing someone will come out with some sort of super shiny mirror finish top coat to compliment the metal look.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I get to make other women feel pretty, (AND GET PAID TO DO IT #WINNING) and I get to meet so many different folks from all over the world. Every day that I go to work is a new adventure. I get to be creative and free. I'm truly blessed and grateful for this journey that I've been on these last 4 years, and I'm even more excited for what's still to come!