Excellence. Passion. Dedication to the industry. These are just some of the qualities that are embodied by recipients of the Tom Holcomb Inspiration Award. NAILPRO Competitions director Jewell Cunningham established the award in 2013 to honor the late great nail industry icon, innovator and competitor Tom Holcomb, who passed away in 2012. “Tom taught us perfection and how to accomplish it,” explains NAILPRO Competitions head judge Carla Collier.
When it comes to finding just the right person to carry on Holcomb’s legacy, it can be a grueling process. “Carla and I make a list of people our industry admires,” says Cunningham. “Then we see who has made an impact on other techs, is amazingly skilled and has a good reputation.” Ultimately, they look for someone who embodies Holcomb’s spirit and inspires people to want to do and be better.
This year, that shining star is Karin Strom, nail artist, educator and international competitor from Gothenburg, Sweden. Strom’s passion for nails is contagious, inspiring everyone around her, from students to her own daughter Jessica. (Check out the pair’s work on the upcoming May cover of NAILPRO!) Being honored with this award was a poignant moment for the artist. “I knew Tom; we met several times and had a lot of fun at competitions and classes all over the world,” Strom says. “Receiving this prize means the world to me—more than any other trophy I’ve won during my competition career.”