When I was first certified as a nail technician two years ago, it never occurred to me that it would eventually lead to a cruise to the Mexican Rivera. As a relative newbie to the business, I've been exposed to a variety of classes and discussions with respect to sanitization and disinfection, not to mention various methods of application, technique and nail art. But I was curious when I first learned about the Nail Those Profits at Sea Cruise hosted by Vicki Peters. The more I read and learned about it, the more determined I was to do it. It seemed to be the best of both words: a great education and more—an actual vacation! When considering eight days in the Mexican Rivera versus eight days in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in the middle of winter with sub-zero temperatures, well, it was a "no-brainer!"
We shared a ship with industry leaders such as Dr. Kenneth Gerenraich (Dr. G.), Dalonnie Preato (more affectionately know as Loni), distributor for Akzentz Jessica Hoel, Young Nails distributor for Las Vegas Lina Hernandez, Christine Turner, editor of Swedish nail magazine Naglar Anette Classen and, of course, Vicki Peters! We spent the mornings at sea as a group and had the afternoons free to lie in the sun, explore activities on the ship and get ready for dinner. While we were in our ports of call—Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa and Manzanillo—we were free to go into the town and explore the local atmosphere. I found this to be a nice balance between nail tech education and vacation activities. One day I would be listening to Dr. G. talk about the ins and outs of sanitation, and the next I was walking in the surf of Ixtapa with a glass of wine!
Life on board the ship was one of comfort and luxury; I’ve never felt so pampered and looked after. And the food was wonderful and diverse. The first night we watched the sunset over the ocean, and the first morning we sat on the balcony watching the colors of the sunrise while sipping fresh coffee.
The education and discussion topics were diverse. Peters spoke about her plans for the Professional Nail Technicians Association (PNA), which would provide the industry with standards for education on manicures, pedicures, artificial nail enhancements and sanitization, while remaining non-product specific. Dr. G very eloquently discussed the need for sanitization and disinfection with respect to foot care and effectively cleaning pedicure chairs with jet piping in particular. There was a presentation about nail disorders that showed a number of disturbing photos with some particularly diseased nails. And there was even a lecture about the various methods in which you can increase your earning potential through initiative, sales, professionalism and education.
The trip also featured many demonstrations, starting with an LCN technique that used two different colors on a small sponge to do an effortless two color fade. Next we saw the complete collection of Young Nails acrylic, color powders and glitters, plus the gel line complete with color gels, and how to use them--the possibilities are endless! The underlying emotion with all of these demonstrations can be summed up in one word: passion. Each and every educator showed an enviable passion for what they were doing. It was infectious.
The cruise not only had tons of education but there was even a competition onboard! It was pretty historic too—not only was it a competition at sea but it was also the first ever stiletto competition (at least that I know of!). All of the competitors had one hour to do one artistic stiletto nail. We were free to use any medium and any amount of color, "bling" or designs. Speaking from rather limited experience, I can honestly say it was the most comfortable competition I have ever engaged in. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and, while I didn't place, I was happy to be considered in the company of such wonderful talent. Before dinner on the last night, there was an award ceremony for the winners. Congrats to all!
Even with all of the nails, products and education swirling around me, my most memorable moment was when I found myself holding a baby crocodile! We went to a crocodile sanctuary in Ixtapa; a man brought out a baby crocodile and plunked him into my arms! I was startled to say the least, and will never forget that moment in my life!
At the end of the trip, we all walked away with a bag of goodies: some from Dr. G, including his antimicrobial hand lotion that can be used in place of hand sanitizers; a basic kit containing foot soak, massage cream and callus softener from Footlogix; the most recent edition of Naglar magazine, which included information on competitions in Europe and contained several pictures of nail art; as well as nail files and nail art products from other sponsors, such as NSI, Star Nail and Vicki Peters. In short, we needed to make some room in our suitcases!
Not only did I leave away with products, but I also learned a ton, gained competition experience and, most importantly, made some new nail technician friends that I will cherish along with priceless vacation memories.
Written by Bethanne O'Neil