Courtesy of Celina Rydén
Founder of Moonflair Nails and My Nail Academy, Light Elegance ambassador and nail tech Celina Rydén, who is based in Stockholm, Sweden, delves into her experiences as a nail tech, educator and business owner.
- What inspired you to join the professional nail industry?
“In 2005, when I was just fresh out of Swedish high school, I started to work at a café where I became friends with a girl who had really beautiful gel nail extensions. This was something I had never seen before, and she told me that she had been modeling for a nail school that was located just five minutes from where I lived.
“She helped me get in contact with the school, I got my nails done by a student and I completely fell in love with the whole thing—everything from the tools to the products, techniques and the overall vibe. I decided then and there to become a nail tech.
“Back then, it was not very common to wear nail extensions, so I knew nothing about nails or the nail industry. I just knew that it would match my needs for being creative, so I pretty much jumped head first, not knowing anything about the professional nail industry.”
- As a female leader/professional, what are some obstacles you experienced, and how did you overcome them? Have you confronted gender-related roadblocks in your career?
“I cannot say I have noticed anything negative when it comes to me being a nail tech versus men in this industry or men in general; sadly, though, I have had a lot of bad experiences when it comes to other women and the competitive atmosphere.
“Over the years, I have just learned to accept that the hate is unavoidable when you are being a public figure. It was hard in the beginning, and I always questioned what I had done to deserve all the hate, but now I see that it has nothing to do with me—it is just a way for people to express their insecurities, and you cannot please everyone. Now I just block it out and focus on my businesses and the amazing people who support me.”
- How can women support other women in this industry?
“Just be aware of how you express yourself to others. Speak positively about your female industry colleagues, and remember that the better someone else is doing, it is elevating the entire industry and will benefit you as well. If people start to charge more, then we can slowly raise the prices all together. So, do not bash someone for charging more just because you wish you could do that, too. Thank that person, and follow her lead!”
- Tell me about another woman who has inspired you.
“I have to say Lezlie McConnell (co-owner and co-founder of Light Elegance). I have always admired her, both as a person but also as a businesswoman. She took me into the LE family around nine years ago, and she, together with Jim McConnell, has more or less become my American parents. I love to listen to her business advice and always take it to heart. She has done so much for both me and the industry, and I just love the passion she has for her business.”
- What is one thing you know now you wish you would have known when you started in this business?
“Not to blindly trust people. I have always been very naïve and thought that everybody wants to see others succeed. Sadly, it is not like that, but I am at the same time so grateful for all those people who have taught me to be more careful and stand up for myself. There is no education that will teach you that; it is all about life experience and building up your gut feeling about people."
- What other key learnings and practices do you wish you to share with other professionals?
“Do not forget about yourself. It is so easy to get lost in serving others and put yourself last, but you cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself. There is a reason why the flight attendant tells you to put your own mask on first before helping others.
“It is not cool to skip lunch, skip taking breaks to breathe and stretch or not shut your work phone off after working hours. It is necessary for you to be able to perform and to last a long time in this industry. Schedule self-care during the week (like taking a bath, going for a walk, reading a book, etc.), and do not reschedule just because a client asks you to ‘fit her in.’ The new cool is to put yourself first!”
Nail Tech Teachings
- After receiving your nail tech/beauty license, have you received other certifications? If so, what?
“I have taken a couple of different nail art courses and competition-style courses, but that is about it. I would really like to do more, though! When you end up being the teacher, it is easy to get stuck on ‘that side’ and stop being the student. But, I definitely want to change that!”
- Where do you find education, and how do you continue growing your skills and business?
“Because my work now is 99% about the business side of the nail industry with running two businesses, I tend to look to other types of education like marketing, product photography, graphic design, etc. I have taken a lot of really good online courses in 2021, so I would highly recommend to just go out and search online as we are still a bit restricted when it comes to in-person courses.
"If you are looking for nail education online, then I have gathered all my most popular courses at mynailacademy.com.”
- What obstacles have you faced [as a nail tech], and how did you overcome them?
“See [the first part of the] previous answer. A lot has been to work on myself and not care so much about what others think. This is something a lot of nail techs struggle with as we generally have a very creative type of personality and then everything we do comes straight out from our hearts and souls. You want to protect your heart, but at the same time, not suffocate your passion. It can be a complicated balance to master, but you can only learn by exposing yourself to those scary situations.”
- What tips do you have for aspiring and budding nail techs?
“If you are looking to get licensed, make sure to do thorough research before signing up to your nail school. Talk to people who you admire and look up to, and see if they have any suggestions on specific schools or teachers.
“Other from that: Be kind, have fun, support your fellow industry colleagues, always continue to learn new things/techniques, be aware of your expenses and surround yourself with positive people who support you!”