Shashona Sullivan’s Nail Journey

 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 of 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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