We are spotlighting the winners of Nailpro’s 30 Under 30 competition for 2023, featuring 30 nail artists under 30 years of age.
Get to know 24-year-old nail tech Emma Laverton (@failtefae)!
Nailpro (NP): What is a fun fact about you?
Emma Laverton (EL): My birthday is on Halloween!
NP: How did you get your start as a nail tech?
EL: I used to sell handmade jewelry on Etsy, so I had a UV gel lamp for UV resin work. I bought some cheap gel polishes (very unsafe looking back!) from Amazon thinking I could make use of the gel lamp I already had. I started doing my mum's nails and my own, and we both got lots of compliments and asked where we had them done. I had no intentions of becoming a nail tech originally, but I thought I'd better get some training if I was going to do nails for people aside from me and my mom. I then found Glitterbels Training Academy, and the rest is history!
NP: What do you love about your job?
EL: I love the creativity. There's ALWAYS some new trend to learn, so I'll never get to a point where I feel like I have nothing left to learn or there's no designs left to try. The only limit to nails is your imagination!
NP: Where do you find inspiration?
EL: I find inspiration from lots of places. I keep a list in the notes app of my phone of nail ideas or themes I want to do. Pinterest and Instagram are probably the most helpful sources of inspiration if I'm really stuck for an idea though.
NP: What is a piece of advice you would give other nail technicians who are just getting started?
EL: You are human. Nobody comes out of the womb knowing everything, so be kind to yourself when you are just starting to learn. I'm one of the admins for The Glitterbels Training Academy support group on Facebook, and the amount of new nail techs that post beating themselves up about their latest set or some even saying they wouldn't be able to do nails before they've even picked up a brush! We all start somewhere, and every set is a learning opportunity.
NP: What is your favorite nail trend right now?
EL: I don't really tend to follow trends in all honesty. The one trend I did get on board with though was the 3D encapsulated rose effect that seemed to be all over Tiktok for a while. It took me ages to figure out how to do it! I was up all night experimenting with builder gels and acrylics trying to get it right.
NP: What is your favorite service to offer?
EL: I don't tend to do many clients due to my disabilities. I have CFS/ME and POTS, which really affect my energy levels to a point even having a shower is exhausting, so you can imagine what a day of clients would do to me. Of the few clients I do take, I love the ones that come in, give me a short design brief and say "do whatever you want!" I always end up needing several days to recuperate from an appointment like that, but it's worth it.
NP: What is one of your proudest achievements as a nail tech?
EL: As of literally today as I'm answering this, I got my first gold medal at Nailympia! Last year I got two silver medals at Nailympia London in division one, and I was astonished. To think this year I got gold in division two is just mindblowing to me!
NP: What do you love about the nail community/industry?
EL: I absolutely love how nobody in the industry seems to gatekeep. If you ask a nail tech how they did a certain design, they'll tell you with a smile 99.9% of the time. We all just want to see each other flourish, and there doesn't seem to be any nastiness – at least none I've seen! I had heard from hairdressers and other beauty specialists that the beauty industry can be a bit catty, but I haven't really experienced that in the nail industry. Everyone is so lovely!
NP: What are your top goals as a nail tech?
EL: I do have to keep my goals a little more modest than others in the industry due to my health unfortunately. Something I would love to do eventually (and health permitting) is start a YouTube channel for nail techs and become a sort of nail influencer like Vivxue or Ballpit Addict. I think I would maybe cope a bit better with a more independent path like that rather than in a salon taking clients and having to stress about canceling on clients when my health gets bad. Having said that, I try not to plan so much now and just let the chips fall where they may. I'll see where the wind takes me.