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 Lisa Kim (@nailsbylisak). She is a 26-year-old nail tech at Nails by Lisa K in Melbourne, Australia.
Nailpro (NP): What is a fun fact about you?
Lisa Kim (LK): I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu and powerlifting. Oh, I also can’t drink hot coffee – cold brew all the way in any weather.
NP: How did you get your start as a nail tech?
LK: I worked as a table games dealer at Crown Casino for three years before deciding finally to follow my true passion: art. I did a nail course and right away quit my job (without even having any clients or a desk to do nails on). I took out a loan from the bank to start my set up and practiced doing my friend’s nails in my bedroom for months before even having clients. I never did well in Uni – I would always jump from one degree to another because I never found one that interested me. I was depressed, unmotivated and didn’t know what to do with my life. I felt unfulfilled in what I was doing. I took a big risk, with nothing to fall back on, and told myself I HAD to make this thing work. Hours and endless nights of research and learning how to do nails and specifically nail art, I nearly gave up 3 times the last 2.5 years as I was getting discouraged because ‘no one liked my style of nail art.’ I’m glad I didn’t or else I wouldn’t be where I am today. I feel extremely blessed and grateful to have the opportunities I have now.
NP: What do you love about your job?
LK: I love the smiles and excitement on my client’s faces at the end when I show them the final results – the feeling is indescribable, to be able to do what I love as well as putting a smile on my client’s face. Rather than calling my clients “clients,” I refer to them as friends because that’s what they are! I love seeing them every month and catching up on their life, as well as spilling the tea, haha!
NP: Where do you find inspiration?
LK: I find most of my inspirations from avant-garde runway pieces as well as modern art. I find most of my inspirations from avant-garde runway pieces as well as modern art. Majority of my work is heavily influenced by Alexander McQueen – You can see his dark and edgy style in my nails – as I draw inspiration from his exquisite and unique fashion pieces. My days off include going to the museum and keeping up to date with pop-culture to integrate those elements into my nail art design.
NP: What is a piece of advice you would give other nail technicians who are just getting started?
LK: Do you! Don’t worry about what the next person is doing. The time you spend caring what others think and comparing yourself to them is time you could’ve spent improving yourself and your craft! Do what you want to do, stay in your lane and stay focused. Be passionate with whatever you’re doing, and that will translate in your brand and craft.
NP: What is your favorite nail trend right now?
LK: My favorite nail trend right now is 3D nails. I love the textural element and the depth it gives to a set of nails! I love anything weird, funky and out of the ordinary – the weirder, the better!
NP: What is your favorite service to offer?
LK: I love offering ‘FREESTYLE SETS’ – This is a service a client books when they don’t know what they want to get done and would like me to have full creative control. I basically just paint whatever comes to my mind. I love having creative freedom as it’s mentally stimulating for me, and seeing the clients’ love the results afterwards is so rewarding!
NP: What is one of your proudest achievements as a nail tech?
LK: Being mentioned in Harper’s Bazaar (2021) one year into my journey as a nail artist!
NP: What do you love about the nail community/industry?
LK: I love how uplifting the community is and how supportive we are of each other. There is room for everyone on the table – no need to compete, just all love and positive vibes here.
NP: What are your top goals as a nail tech?
LK: To further expand my niche of nail art style I have built and branded over the past 2.5 years. I love to show more people my nail art style and let them know that there is no such thing as ‘too much.’ I want more people to experiment with different designs out of their comfort zone because as Nicki Minaj said, ‘Why be simple… when you can be stunning.’