Stephen Njorro Macharia, 29, was bold enough to venture into a female-dominated career and doesn’t regret it. He spoke to Shirley Genga
What do you do for a living?
I am a nail technician.
What does a nail technician do?
A nail technician specialises in looking after client’s fingernails and toenails. My job is to help my clients achieve attractive and healthy nails. As a nail technician, I offer a variety of nail treatments that include manicures, pedicures, nail extensions and nail art applications. I also give advice on nail care and maintenance.?
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Explain some of the above procedures?
A manicure involves cleansing, hand massage, filing, polishing, shaping of nails, cuticle care and the application of polish.?A pedicure is similar to a manicure only that it is done on the toenails. When performing a pedicure, I also massage and clean the lower legs and feet to relax the client and remove rough skin. I also apply nail extension. This is usually done over the whole natural nail or at the tip, depending on a client’s needs. Most common nail extensions come in the form of gel nails or acrylics.
How long have you been a nail technician?
This is my eighth year. I am one of the first men to embrace this profession in Nairobi.
Why did you choose this profession?
When I showed interest in being a nail technician, people thought I was crazy, but I have always been very artistic. I was drawn to nail technology because it is an artistic process. I had a friend who was already in the hair dressing industry and he tried to push me in the same direction, but I have always been curious. So, before I followed him into the hair business, I did some research and found out about nail technology. It was still very new at the time, but I saw potential for growth.
Where did you study?
I studied Beauty at Strands and Skin, Nairobi in 2004, but when you specialise in this kind of work, learning never ends. This is because there are always new developments. To keep abreast with new technology and procedures, I do research on the Internet and attend regular training workshops. I have recently been to South Africa and Dubai for refresher courses on nail technology.
What is your work history?
I worked at Farook Salon and then I moved to Nails and Beyond before I started my own business in 2008.
Starting your own business must have been a risk. Tell us about it…
It was not easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I always knew I would have my own salon some day, so I was willing to take the risk. The first place I rented was a corner in a corridor outside someone’s salon. It was not easy, but I have always been determined and many of my customers followed me to my corridor. It has taken me three years, but my business, Qticles Saloon and Spa at Pension Towers, Nairobi, has now employed 15 people.
As much as nail extensions are common, there have been myths and rumours about them. What is your opinion?
Ensure that the person putting your nail extensions does not use super glue but nail glue from Creative Nail Design or Nail Systems. Also, when removing nail extensions, do not allow your salonist to pluck out the extension directly. The proper method is to dip the nails in acetone and the extensions will come out on their own.
What should you look out for when picking a salon for nail treatments?
Ensure the environment in the salon is professional and inviting. Secondly, make sure the salon is hygienic. Before you sit down to get your nails done, ensure that the salon has sterilising equipment; otherwise there is a high risk of infection.
What are your future plans?
I am looking into dealing with in original cosmetic products because it is in line with what I am doing.
Any new nail procedures coming into market?
I will soon be introducing gelish polish that involves application of nail polish and drying under a patented Ultraviolet Lamp. This ensures the nail polish lasts for three weeks and doesn’t chip, shatter or fade.