So a few weeks ago I did the 4 1/2 hour drive up to Manchester for a 2 day visit to Pro Beauty North!
I wasn’t disappointed. I decided to spend 2 days there this time as after attending a day of seminars back in February at Pro Beauty London, it gave me no time for actual exploring or shopping which this time I was determined to do.
Now, the more I go to Trade Shows the more I understand how to get the most out of them. My first ever one, I went as if I was just shopping in town. Big mistake – as Julia Roberts would say in Pretty Woman! Mingle, watch demo’s, ask questions & my biggest piece of advice… Attend the seminars!
Seminars Day 1
So for Day 1, I had 3 seminars booked. I would have attended all of them but I’d actually seen 2 of the speakers back in February and their subjects looked similar.
First off was Gemma Lambert with her Autumn/Winter trends demonstration.
I can not wait to try it as it was such an easy technique that was used, and as Gemma said great for nails that aren’t in perfect condition or Acrylic/Gel application that perhaps wasn’t perfect. It is such a forgiving design.
Her next design was a foiled butterfly. Again foils are making another come back in the industry along with minx… No longer are we looking to cover the whole nail, but using it to create detail and the wow! factor.
I had a little time after Gemma’s seminar to do a little exploring, so first on my list was Magpie Glitters. They had a great offer of 10 for £30 with vat free. Unfortunately the stand ended up absolutely packed & has I like time to mull over colours, textures etc that wasn’t the right moment to do it, so I decided to head over to the Scratch magazine stand to renew my subscription. The great thing about doing it at the trade show is the incredible goodie bag you get! Always a bonus 😀
It was here I ended up spending an hour watching Gemma in action. The great thing was she wasn’t only showcasing new products they had out but also trouble shooting with people. One technician specifically asked about acrylic smile lines, so I picked the perfect moment to stop by and pick up tips while she demonstrated it for us.
I then offered myself up for a demo of the new acrylic secrets range. It’s a gorgeous range of pre-mixed coloured acrylics, glitters & powders. I mentioned that I must be the only person walking around with blue spotty nails amongst a sea of Chrome but as Gemma pointed out its good to be different & it gave her great inspiration for the design she created on me…
Next up was seminar number 2. Now I don’t normally like to say bad things about an industry I love but I was sorely disappointed with the speaker. The original one wasn’t able to make it so a last minute replacement was bought in to speak to us about running a successful business.
It really wasn’t what I was expecting to hear at all and by the end of it half of the room had walked out. There was no adaptability to the business model that worked for her, mainly because she came from a small village with minimal competition. The fact she admitted they all refer clients to each other when they become booked up, made it sound more like the client didn’t have a great amount of choice in the salons around them rather then because they had an edge over the competition, that was the impression I was given… I stayed only because I had a great seat for the next seminar and didn’t want to lose it… I would have asked for my money back, but I actually got a special offer with that one so just put it down to experience…
I had a much more inspiring time in my next seminar and that was with Nail GaGa.
Again Chrome was at the forefront, but we all kinda agreed we were sick of it & did it for clients rather then ourselves now, we were much more interested in what other nail art products were out there, and that was the moment I was so glad I booked a seminar with a nail brand I hadn’t heard of till that moment!
Nail GaGa sell an amazing range of pigments, gel paints, glitters, acrylic & Hard Gel! And we got an amazing demonstration in the first 3!
Now I am a Magpie Glitter fan, their bottles are gorgeous to look at and some of their colours just astonishing! But watching Natalie from Nail GaGa work on my nail with nothing more then base coat & glitter to complete the completely opaque colour on my nail had me converted! Then when the Gel Paint went on top I was hooked!
Nail GaGa is exactly the kind of seminars I’m interested in booking & would pay for! Stands get so busy that you can barely see the demonstration & they tend to showcase new releases. This seminar was almost a broad view in everything they sell as next up we got to see their pigments in action. Someone else got the privilege of that demonstration but we were all surprised to learn it was 3 for £10 on the pigments!!
All of us straight after that seminar headed straight to the Nail GaGa stand. The great thing was because it was almost the end of the day, it was practically empty & we basically got personal shopper experience! Amazing!! It’s a brand I’m most definitely going to purchase from in the future, on top of the purchases I made that day.
So after day one it was a walk back to my hotel. The more I visit Manchester the more I fall in love with it. It’s so cosmopolitan but still feels like it remains true to its history. Cobbled streets, stunning old architecture and it never feels as busy or fast paced as London, just a relaxed, chilled buzz. My favourite kind of atmosphere! I was absolutely thrilled to find out my hotel was 5 mins from Manchester Cathedral!
I stayed at a Travelodge which was amazing value for money. Ok, so if you like your luxuries it’s probably not the hotel for you & I did have a little freak out when I realised they didn’t have a hairdryer in the room, typical, the one time I don’t bring mine, is the one time I needed it! But a quick run to reception & I found out they provide them on a room by room basis so managed to bag me one, happy days! So I settled in for the night, ready for a full on day the following morning…
Seminars Day 2
I arrived at Manchester Central a little after the doors had opened. Compared to the day before it was empty, which for me was great. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to buy the Magpie Glitters as I’d bought glitters from Nail GaGa instead, so took the opportunity to see if I could get a Cuccio T3 Hard Gel demonstration.
I love Hard Gel, unfortunately it doesn’t love me. I love the look & how the end product feels! Well Cuccio have come up with a product which has soooo much less move ability then traditional hard gel & I also had a voucher to get the trail kit for £10… £25 less then it’s normal going price!
I was so thrilled to learn my demo was with none other then Steven Rhys-Wells! He is so great! As well as talking me through and giving me the most throurough demonstration I’ve ever had he was also a great laugh! Again, he also picked up on my blue nails & drew from them inspiration for his design.
I ended up being so caught up with Steven that I missed the first 10mins of my first seminar which was with OPI Educator and Session Stylist Lee Moore.
I was so looking forward to this seminar as Lee had been my educator for Gel Polish training & I had already had a taster for the things she had been involved in that I was looking forward to hearing more.
I walked in just as Lee was talking about her experience on the catwalks of London Fashion Week. Now, not that I’ve had first hand experience on the fashion catwalks but I know it’s no dreamy, calm affair behind those catwalk curtains & Lee confirmed that. I was intrigued to hear that Nail Techs spend most of their time on floors under tables, usually because after the hairdresser & make-up artist, where do you put the nail tech?…
Lee next told us her stories or magazine shoots then the story I was most looking forward to hearing about… Working on Bond! Yes, James Bond!!
Now, I’m hearing more & more about the main quality of being a Session Stylist is to not get star struck. Well looks like I’m never gonna cut it has a Session Stylist, ok it’s not that I get star struck my main problem is little things amaze & excite me. For example… A recent coach journey I took I was amazed to find there was plug sockets on it!! Yes I got excited over Plug sockets!! I mean it’s a coach, not a house! I’m 33, think I have to excuse myself to always being a child! Lol
Apparently celebrities don’t like being reminded they are just that, the thing is I’m fascinated by people & their journey in life. For instance – and back to Bond for this – Daniel Craig must have went to school with hundreds of people but how is it he ended up on his life path and his fellow students didn’t, what were his choices that led to Bond over everyone else… That’s the bit that fascinates me!
Anyway back to Lee… It was great to hear about how a simple manicure led to being asked as main technician on the film franchise, it does appear the industry works on a who you basis, but as someone who loves getting to meet and know new people I’m already prepared for that.
After the seminar, Lee personally came over to say hello to me, which was so great, I love that I’m slowly making connections in the industry. She had already singled me out when I walked in by saying I was a student of hers & the phenomenonal distance is traveled to get there – Hey, I love Nails what can I say 😀
My next seminar was with Natalie Equi again from Nail GaGa. This time it was about competitions, something I’m really going to push myself for next year. On reflection I’m glad I didn’t enter this year, I think I would have gone in completely blind & totally unprepared. Little tips like a file per nail so you get the same, even consistency then the big tip of finding a trainer, usually a precious winner/judge. I think I may try the Scottish competitions first has Natalie said they were slightly smaller & a good place to start. The fact I have family up there too is always a good reason to visit!
Mobile Nail Technician Metta Francis was next & she really opened my eyes to selective private work. Basically why go through the trouble of charging £20 per client for 6 treatments a day when you could charge £80 per client for 2 treatments a day…
How does Metta do this?… A very selective clientele, who expect a specific home service and go by the motto why should I pay to come to you when I can pay you to come to me. Metta never makes herself instantly available or available to everyone, that means her clients know they are of the elite & can afford something not everyone else can.
I’m lucky I live 10mins from apparently the 5th most expensive place to buy in the word… That means Mettas (specific formula of) clientele are also potentially the same clientele living round the corner from me?… Is this my route to finally making it as a mobile Nail Techician?…
Next was Georgie Smedley from Nail Harmony who provided us a seminar on Gel Polish trouble shooting. I didn’t pick up on loads of tips as I’m an OPI Gel Polish user but it was still a useful one to sit in on, plus we all got given a goody bag!
OMG! I learnt so much! Aside from the fact a recent Instagram update means you can change your page to a business one meaning you get access to all kinds of insights! How cool is that!
She gave us tips on taking pictures, hashtags, people to follow, there was just so much information gained in that 50minutes! I’m so glad I attended.
So that was it, my two days were over… I didn’t hang around too much after that as my journey home was so long. It was an amazing time & I can’t wait to do it all again for Pro Beauty London 2017!k