Successful Graduate – Kirsten Watkiss
My name is Kirsten Watkiss, I am 30 years old. I was born in England, but have since lived and worked in Cyprus and now New Zealand.
I first trained with Essential nails in 2008, when I saw EN advertising their courses in the Armed Forces Discounts brochure, I had just gotten married and left the Royal Air Force, so I was looking for a new career, one that would have the flexibility if I decided to start a family with my new husband.
It turned out that 2008 wasn’t my time to start my nail journey, as life quickly lead me in a different direction with a divorce and a medical career. For five years I worked with the elderly, worked in RAF medical centers (like a GP) where I met the man who would become my second husband and then went on to study nursing at university. In 2012 I married my second husband and we moved to Cyprus where I took a customer service job that gave me the expendable income to treat myself to having my nails done.
Kerry Benson was THE nail tech at the base I was living at in Cyprus and this is where I met her. Over the course of several months, Kerry became a friend and mentor, she encouraged me to refresh my training so that I could take over her client list as she was due to move back to the UK. In October 2013 I launched Little Wing Nails, the first set I did was for a friend in exchange for some of her famous millionaire shortbread! A few months later Kerry left for England and gradually my client list began to grow, by February 2014 I was able to leave my job and work from my home studio full time. It was at this point that I really began to reinvest in myself and LittleWing, I bought more EN courses to widen my skill set, I invested in products, tools and equipment and LittleWing grew to the point where I was fully booked for at least two weeks in advance.
In August 2015 I moved back to the UK, to open a large high street salon in Lincoln, Lincolnshire. We offered a huge range of treatments from nails to skin care, various classes and so much more. I was recruited by a brand as an educator and was in the process of launching that, however conflict between myself and the other director lead to my decision to leave my salon and the UK in August 2016.
I chose to come to New Zealand as my mother lives here, I initially came for a long break, but decided that I liked it and would like to stay longer, I was JUST young enough to apply for a working holiday visa, once that was granted I set about re-branding and re-launching LittleWing Luxury Nail Design which now has 700 followers with near 800 sets of nails made within the last 3.5 years.
I have again been recruited as an Educator and will soon be launching an additional new Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a website with a twist on the way online content is delivered and students access support. I am also entering New Zealand’s national nail competition later in the year with the hope of scooping the Grand Champion title. I hope to combine British tenacity with Kiwi humbleness to continue along the path of being a positive influence on the nail tech world, maybe one day, that will be global, I will always remember that this journey began with Essential Nails.