Jamie Pyles trains with celebrity Fashion Manicurist Athena Elliott
Nail Technician Jamie Pyles tell us a little about her days in training with celebrity Fashion Manicurist Athena Elliott.
Stylez4Women.com: Jamie tell our readers a little about yourself?:
Since childhood, I have loved to create…throwing myself into every art form possible. From stained glass, to quilting and mixed media, I truly love learning it all. When it comes to my life, I can honestly say that boredom will never be an option!
Stylez4Women.com: What made you decide to become a Nail Technician?:
For the past 20 years I have been a Dental Assistant, working with my hands and caring for my patients, both something I enjoy. But after work, I always found myself using my time and energy to tap into my creative side. I longed for a way to marry my creative spirit with my gift for making others comfortable…even when they were scared out of their wits. The idea of becoming a Nail Technician has been with me for many years, but it just wasn’t feasible to stop working and go to school when I first wanted to do so. Although dreams fade, they never completely disappear. Time always makes a way for us to do what is in our hearts when we are ready and willing to become proactive in our efforts to make whatever changes we deem appropriate for ourselves possible.
Stylez4Women.com: You got a chance to work with celebrity Fashion Manicurist, Athena Elliott and train under her. What was that like?:
Wow, this experience was so awesome I don’t know quite where to begin. Working and training with Athena was the career opportunity of a lifetime. To be able to sit alongside a 31 year veteran and glean information like a sponge…was nothing less than priceless! Seeing the mechanics of Salon life while still in school, was a gift I will always cherish. Like anything we do for the first time, it was intimidating and I had to pull myself up by my boot straps, and just dive in! The very first day we each had a schedule… yes, that’s right, I had my very own clients! I watched Athena do one Shellac manicure and one pedicure, and then it was sink or swim! Talk about intimidating. Having Guru Athena right next to me and PAYING clients, who came to MinxHouston for the best was an exhilarating experience! I was definitely sweating.J But, I figured if I can assist in oral surgery with a steady hand, I can do this. So I took the “now or never” approach and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I’m a swimmer! The knowledge and confidence gained from our time together will stay with me throughout my career!
Stylez4women.com: Did you learn how to apply Minx appliqués during your time with Athena? Which design is your favorite?: Yes, I learned Minx from the MinxMaster.J We were so busy during the day that we had to stay after work and recruit her assistant to be my model. Athena patiently demonstrated the application process on two toes, and then I did the rest. It’s not easy trimming the Minx to fit precisely, and positioning it just so, but I persevered and prevailed. And the finished result was lovely! Practice, practice, practice for sure! I was so grateful that she choose a print, (Kimmie Kyees Gotcha) to use for my first time instead of a solid…every imperfection would have shown. My favorite Minx line is Naja’s. I love the transparent lace in black and sheer lace in pink. I can’t wait to become a Minx stylist and perfect my technique!
Stylez4women.com: What advice would you give to other nail techs who want to train with someone with the expertise of Athena? What steps should they take to expand their chances of making this happen?:
I would say, simply reach out. Don’t be afraid, the worst thing that can happen is they say no. If you’ve been following someone and like their ideals and work, go for it! Offer to pay them for training or work for free. If you want to be the best you have to surround yourself with the best and be willing to invest in yourself…whether the investment cost is money or time.
Stylez4Women.com: Talking about being passionate about what you do…I heard you drove to Houston, which is nearly 500 miles and 9 hours away from where you live to train with Athena. What would you say was the best part of this experience?
I’m pretty much an all or nothing kind of person. When Athena posted on Facebook her group dilemma, I ran the idea by my husband. He said, “I see that determined look, go for it babe, so go for it!” I am so very blessed and thankful to have his support. The best part of this experience, is that both of us had a need and with faith, reached out and were able to help each other by creating a win-win for both of us!
Stylz4Women.com: Did you get a chance to rock those HOT new Glitzy Lips? Tell us a little about Athena’s Glitzy Lips product. Did you also learn how to apply them?
Yes, I did get to see the Glitzy Lips in action! I was able to attend a meeting with Athena and her marketing company, where I witnessed the packaging-design process. I never knew how much work and effort goes into every detail. She’s introducing a wonderful new way to purchase and use Glitzy Lips. As for applying it, yes we used it on top of Shellac to create gorgeous one of a kind nails!
Stylez4Women.com: When will you be done with school and what are your plans after finishing school?
I will be finished with school in December of this year; and at this time, I plan to find a salon that will enable me to expand on my nail design skills and grow to new levels of excellence as a nail tech. After that, I plan to become an educator some day and give back!
Stylez4Women.com: Would you recommend this career path to other people? Why?
Definitely! If you are artistic and service-oriented then go for it! Follow your dreams.
Stylez4Women.com: What advice would you give to young women/men for succeeding in the industry?
Well, I’m just beginning my journey on this interesting and exciting career path. But, from my experiences so far, I have to say don’t be afraid to reach out, and get lots of education. Attend the shows and surround yourself with like-minded people!
Stylez4women.com: As you learn new techniques for during nails, what’s your favorite technique so far?
So far, I love everything gel and anything shiny!
Stylez4women.come: Can you tell us what your experience in nail school is like? What was new and different to you?
Everything is new to me; and I am still amazed at how different the schools are. I had three very different choices in schools. The prices varied from $2,500 - $10,600 and the curriculums were all different. I ended up picking the one in the middle. It isn’t the flashiest, but it has a solid program and is very busy with clients. So I get lots of practice…which is very important. The least expensive program consisted of me in a corner with a book for 600 hours, with no clients, ever! That just seemed like one raw soul-sucking idea to me.J The most expensive program, was located in a beautiful building with a great teacher, but I just couldn’t justify the expense. Cost doesn’t always determine quality nor does it ensure success. This is where good old common-sense has to come into play!
Stylez4Women.com: How many hours of training do you need in your state to become a nail tech?
My state requires 600 hours.
Stylez4women.com: Jamie, is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the challenges associated with becoming a successful nail tech?
My journey is just beginning, so I know many challenges still lay ahead for me. So far, the biggest challenge has been getting over my fear…the fear of trying something new, being respected in my new profession, and the fear of the unknown. Fear hasn’t ever stopped me for long, so it’s simply a matter of my constantly telling fear…not today or ever. Today is a gift, and mine for the taking, what will I make of it? The answer: I will make the best of each day and be thankful for the opportunity. I’m not yet where I want to be…but I am well on my way and loving every moment of this new chapter in my life!
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