30 Under 30 Spotlight: Gabbie Leeper
Read our November/December 2022 digital magazine to see the complete list of 30 Under 30 winners.
Nailpro (NP): Tell me a little bit about yourself! How did you get started, and why did you choose to become a nail tech?
NP: What is the toughest part about your job as a nail technician/nail artist/salon owner?
GL: With rapid social media trends, it can be hard to get clientele to be creative. I love when I’m given full creative freedom on a set. Many nail artists get sucked into repeating the same designs for different clients because “inspo” pictures become replicas of other artists’ sets, instead of taking a bit here and there and adding your own spin.
NP: What do you love about your job?
GL: I love sharing my creativity and passion with other nail enthusiasts as I grow as a person and artist overall. I get to express my creativity in nail design, education, photography and graphic design.
NP: Where do you find inspiration?
GL: I find inspiration in my culture, maximalism and other works of art (museum artwork, graffiti, typography, fashion & interiors).
NP: What is a piece of advice you would give other nail technicians who are just getting started?
GL: Doing nails or being a nail technician is more than just doing designs on tiny canvases. Though it looks easy on social media, it requires handwork, meticulousness and integrity. Invest in quality products and continued education to keep your skills sharp! There’s always something to learn in this industry. Celebrate each part of your journey!
NP: What is a tip you have about any technique, service, business, etc.?
GL: When taking clients, know that confidence and customer service are key. Still, ensure you are in control but help your clients help you. From the beginning, set the tone, and ensure proper policies. Cover yourself and your business. Find things that make you at ease while working to the point where your workflow comes naturally.
NP: What is your favorite nail trend right now?
GL: Airbrush art on nails. I hope it’s here to stay since it’s been around for decades. I love that people are stepping out of the box more and being open to switching it up. It’s become more than just your 90’s-00’s machine and techniques. I’ve created some of my favorite sets with airbrushing, and I’m hooked!
NP: What is your favorite service to offer?
NP: Who is your role model?
GL: I wouldn’t say I have a role model. I think there are people I admire, but no one I consider a personal role model. I think my experiences so far in life have caused a huge shift in who I pay attention to and what I consume. If I had to name a person, I’d name myself. I work hard to be self-aware, be positive, have humility, show empathy and professionalism and have integrity. I’m a constant work in progress.
NP: What is one of your proudest achievements as a nail tech?
GL: Being a mentor to other nail techs and enthusiasts has been my greatest accomplishment. It’s great to have designs go viral and have a nice follower count, but trends come and go, and you can’t measure your success by the number of followers on constantly changing social media platforms. It’s when someone shares with me that I’m the reason they started their nail journey or letting me know how I’ve positively impacted their confidence and career that reminds me that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to.
NP: What do you love about the nail community/industry?
GL: I love that the community and industry is made up of a melting pot of creatives that lets their flow of creativity shine. We can all have the same products and manipulate them differently, resulting in unique works of art. We all help bridge the gap between cool and consciousness, and I love that!
NP: What are your top goals as a nail tech?
GL: An ongoing goal of mine is to challenge conformity and resist being like everyone else all the time. We feel we must do things to be successful, like making reels, making 3-5 posts a day, constantly inviting people into our private lives and making everything content. We get sucked into thinking that if our reality isn’t perfect, we must manipulate it to be so across social media platforms. I make it a goal of mine every day to work towards creating my lane and grounding myself in it. I strive to niche down a bit and find what I like. To be true and real to me, aka keeping it Trill/Trilla!