Shashona Sullivan’s Nail Journey


My Journey into Beauty

I have always had an interest in art and design, but nail extensions were a new thing to me. I became interested in them when I was 21, I saw my colleague at work with beautiful long nails and she referred me to a nail bar to get them done for the first time. It was later on that year I found out about Gel Polish and was intrigued.

I always painted my own nails from I was young and did my own designs, but then airbrushing techniques became a huge rage in those days. I was so excited every two weeks to choose a new style when I had my infills.

It was in 2014 at the age of 32 when I decided to have a change of career from working in the office as an administrator and finance assistant to wanting to do something else I enjoyed...nails and beauty.

I was a single mum of a young son, so going to college would have been a bit difficult at the time and cost me a fortune. So I looked online for a distance learning course and came across a course run by 'Essential Nails'. There was a charge but I could not complain as it was much cheaper than doing the college course.

I was even able to pay it in instalments, so was well chuffed.

Not long after I received my study package in the post with my nail trainer and DVD instructions. I watched it over and over and practised and practised. It was so interesting, and the techniques used were very detailed and very professional. I was not trained at the time to use an e-file but was taught how to use a hand file to shape and blend the acrylic nails. To this day I still actually prefer blending with a file rather than using an electric drill (which I later went on to learn). Clients love the finished results of the file as it looks so natural and takes me the same amount of time as using an e-file.

I then became pregnant again, so did not finish the course until 2016 but no way was I pressured. I completed the theory which was sent off and then all my assessment nails and sent it off to be marked. I gained a Credit which I was so happy about.

I got my insurance and started working as a mobile nail technician for a couple of years. Building up a nice clientele and gained more confidence and skills along the way. From owning just a few colours and equipment, I soon managed to have a whole room worth of kit to do nails. Working mobile became a lot more hard work having to drag all my equipment along with me. Also with having a little one, so I started working from home instead in a little space I had in the kitchen.

I decided to then do another course in beauty, and then I became qualified as a Swedish body massage therapist. I think I got addicted to doing courses as I was doing three at once at one point!

As my children got older, I managed to get a job at a nail bar where I worked for 6 months just to gain some experience working in a fast-paced nail salon. I later attended a couple more beauty academies to upgrade my qualifications to VTCT level and in September 2020, I took the leap to rent a room at Oriel Lodge, Oriel Road in Cheltenham where I now run a very successful beauty room.

I work part-time around my children and only do the hours that suit me. I offer nail extensions, gel nails, facials, lash & brow shape and tint, body massage, Indian head massage, hot stones, and aromatherapy. I have also recently completed my teacher training and am offering fully accredited courses at my beauty room turned school which I am very excited about.

I really love my job and love that I have a good balance of work and family time.

Looking back now, I have to remember how my journey started into the world of beauty, and I have to give a lot of thanks to Essential Nails for the very informative and professional course I first studied. I really did honestly enjoy the course and found so much of it more informative than when I did my level 3 in nails and that's the truth. I would recommend their courses to anyone wanting to become a nail technician as the skills I learned with them I continue to use today.

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