Nailpro 30 Under 30 Winner Spotlight: Thien Nguyen

Nailpro 30 Under 30 Thien Nguyen
Nailpro 30 Under 30 Thien Nguyen
Courtesy of @NBT_Studios

30 Under 30 Spotlight: Thien Nguyen 

Thien Nguyen (@NBT_Studios) is a Spokane, Washington-based nail tech and owner of NBT Studios. 

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?

Thien Nguyen (TN): My name is Thien Nguyen – pronounced (Tin Win). I’ve never had the luxury of having a simple name, so I’ve had to learn to make polite corrections my whole life. I was born in Vietnam but raised in the United States. I am bilingual and currently own and operate a nail studio in Spokane, Washington. At an early age, art has always come natural to me. I realized it was a gift and that I needed to hone it. For my electives as a young teen, I always chose art classes which allowed me to express my creative freedom. My junior year in college I noticed I wasn’t using my talent of drawing. My mother mentioned I would make a great nail technician. At first, I laughed, but then I took a leap and attended cosmetology school while in college. I realized how much I enjoyed expressing my creative side and instantly fell in love with the process of doing acrylic nails. My mother was right, I never knew where to apply my talents, and I am happy to finally say that it belongs in the nail industry. 
Thien Nguyen is one of Nailpro 's 30 Under 30 for 2022.Thien Nguyen is one of Nailpro 's 30 Under 30 for 2022.

NP: What is the toughest part about your job as a nail technician/nail artist/salon owner?

TN: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance. If anyone knows me, they would know I have every hour of the day planned, and I am very disciplined in training myself to stick to it.

NP: What do you love about your job?

TN: I love the people! Every client’s needs are unique, and every set is a different experience. I truly love building relationships in a therapeutic environment. Serving others my entire life allows me to overcome personal and professional challenges, which is a key aspect in my job.

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

TN: I find inspiration in my desire to become all I can be. The following phrase has always been imprinted in my mind, “Do what your 30-year-old self would want you to do.” To elaborate, this phrase means that each and every decision you make shapes and molds your future, either for better or worse, and the decision is entirely up to you.

NP: What is a piece of advice you would give other nail technicians who are just getting started?

TN: Be a sponge. Don’t take criticism personally because those criticizing you care. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t say anything.

NP: What is a tip you have about any technique, service, business, etc.?

TN: Technique: Experiment. You should pretend to put on a white lab coat and turn into a mad scientist. This industry is actually knowing what chemicals beautifully blend and work together if you truly think about it. Service: Treat your clients like they are family and never rush yourself. Everyone has their own pace, and I’ve seen many nail techs lose quality from rushing to beat the clock to fit more clients in. Don’t do that. Business: Be different. Zoom your scope outward and observe your work. How is it different from others? I specialize in hand-painted art and the creativity is limitless. 

NP: What is your favorite nail trend right now?

TN: Anime. I used to draw so much anime when I was younger, from Yu-Gi-Oh to Pokémon to old PlayStation game characters.  

NP: What is your favorite service to offer? 
Nail art by Thien NguyenNail art by Thien Nguyen

TN: Acrylics. It has become such a favorite that when I branched out on my own, I only offered this service while somehow becoming booked out for months.

NP: Who is your role model? 

TN: My role models are my parents. I am very cheerful, incomparably high in energy and really enjoy deep conversations. I got that from my mother. My father used to work about 70 hours per week to provide for the family financially and is the root of where I get my work ethic from. They migrated our family to America, which is so bold, and provided an opportunity for me to become the best form of myself, and I have nobody to thank but them.

NP: What is one of your proudest achievements as a nail tech?

TN: Owning my own business with employees. 

NP: What do you love about the nail community/industry?

TN: The community: I love how supportive everyone in the nail community is of each other. I love how everyone is willing to share and pass on their knowledge. It’s an ever learning industry, and I am so happy to be a part of it. The industry: How fast it changes and how frequent new products are released, creating a never-ending limit on creativity.

NP: What are your top goals as a nail tech?

TN: My top goal as a nail tech is to create the same opportunity I had for others. With a little bit of talent and a whole lot of grit and determination, I want to build a team I can trust, lead and inspire.

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