Courtesy of Erica Nieuwenhuis
CEO of Bio Sculpture Canada Inc. and Iris Body and Beauty Inc. Erica Nieuwenhuis shares her experience as a nail tech and CEO with a Ph.D. in molecular genetics.
- What inspired you to join the professional nail industry?
“The professional nail industry was a perfect fit for my personality! I love being around people and enjoy helping clients feel their best. I am passionate about educating clients regarding ethical products, and I delight in creatively adapting fashion trends to nail treatments.”
- When and how did you get started in your career?
“My first taste of the professional nail industry came in 1996 when I had to opportunity to train with Bio Sculpture International and earned my qualification in nail technology.”
- 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 have mostly been confronted by raised eyebrows and a sense of confusion when discussing my varied educational and work experience background. There really are not many nail technicians with a Ph.D. in molecular genetics! People should not be put in ‘boxes,’ period, but society continually attempts to do so. We are haunted by antiquated ideas that people are left brain or right brain, can be artists or scientists. We can be anything we want to be! Not caring about where society views your ‘place’ as a person, or a woman, or a nail tech, or a scientist was freeing.”
- How can women support other women in this industry?
“As the world closed in early 2020, we immediately redirected our efforts and created the ProClinic Skills Seminar Series as a virtual classroom where nail technicians could come together to learn from experienced educators and from each other. ProClinics quickly became a very popular hangout with a global following and invited guest speakers from around the world. I only realized the full impact of this community we created once I started receiving messages from attendees talking about how registering for a session gave them a reason to get up and show up, how much they value learning and fine-tuning their skill set all while living through very uncertain times. We are now in our third year of hosting free ProClinics open to professionals in the nail industry from around the globe. It started as a small initiative and grew into an amazing, supportive, international community, and along the way, there were plenty of examples of women supporting women in the most extraordinary ways.”
- Tell me about another woman who has inspired you.
“This is a tough question! Who I am today has been shaped by inspiration I have drawn from many strong women and the influence they have had in my life. From a growth mindset perspective, I strive to constantly find inspiration from those around me—my mom who is the epitome of intelligence, kindness and grace; female business leaders whose guidance has been indispensable; friends who have battled through illness and adversity with calm focus. Inspiration is all around us if you are open to receive it!”
- What is one thing you know now you wish you would have known when you started in this business?
“The importance of taking breaks to revive creativity and to energize. We are not meant to work 24/7/365!”
- What other key learnings and practices do you wish you to share with other professionals?
“You must do what you love, and love what you do. Identify what makes you happy, set goals, work hard, play hard, but most importantly, take excellent care of yourself. Dedicate a few minutes each day to do something that makes you happy. These words by Herman Cain are so true: “‘Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.’”