Caitlin Iley

NAIL TECH TALK: Kerrie Louise of Nzuri Nails & Training Academy

By Callie Iley | 22 January 2022 | Feature, Tech Talk

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Scratch chats to Kerrie Louise of Nzuri Nails & Training Academy about the importance of investing in training and finding your inspiration…

I love being a part of a client’s nail transformation journey. Going from a simple starting point to achieving their ultimate nail goals. I love helping them to feel amazing about themselves and their nails. For me, it’s seeing how nails can completely change someone’s mood and confidence, whether it’s by growing strong, longer nails, or having a full set of designs. The smiles and joy that each new set brings and having clients who can’t wait to show off their nails makes me feel on top of the world is incredible, I wouldn’t change that for anything!

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It was my love for art and helping others, which inspired me to start my career in nails in 2016. I’ve been drawing since childhood and needed to find a more creative outlet as I used to spend so much time in my own thoughts. Nails brings such a level of calm for me, with the added bonus of giving clients a positive, feel-good feeling at the same time. My business name Nzuri means beautiful in the language of Swahili, is all about giving people beautiful nails and the confidence to feel amazing. When you’re confident, you feel like you can achieve anything.

“The thing about nails is the level of creativity is endless – you can literally have a little piece of yourself, your style and personality on each set of nails, going as cute or completely crazy as you like.”

I specialise in freehand painted designs, particularly the more detailed, bold, and artsy nails using both acrylic and gel. I love the colourful, statement and maximalist designs including themed, character nails and lettering. Although, I also enjoy giving that perfected nail look, with ultra clean manicures and cuticle work. Most of my of nail inspiration comes from my everyday ventures, such as buildings, scenery, nature, TV shows, and fashion. I also love adding my own individual twist to designs I’ve seen online in the nail world.

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My clients know that they can bring the almost any designs to me, and I’m always ready to get my nail art products out and create a new design. I think when you’re first starting out especially with nails and art, it’s so easy to find other nail designs to replicate, but it’s always a good thing to having your own take on nail art to find your own style; this is what helps you develop more of a niche and keep clients coming back for the work that you do. As well as this, it’s super important to be clear with clients about which designs can are realistic within salon timings, as nail art has become so much more advanced over the years. Some of those complex designs can take hours, just for designs.

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As a nail tech and educator, I spend a good amount of time learning as much as I spend doing nails and teaching. I love reading different nail resources from Doug Schoon, Marian Newman and Scratch Magazine, to stay up to date with different elements of the nail industry.

“Being aware of the latest with trends relating to nail services and legislation is essential as a nail professional, as there is so much more to nails than just creating them.”

I also make sure I dedicate time in supporting my clients with their nail care, by offering advice, and the best recommendations before and after treatments to help with their long-term nail goals. Sometimes this can be discussing nail growth goals, planning a jazzy nail design, or researching and sourcing new nail products. I often get sent nail photos throughout the day from clients with their next nail design inspiration, which I usually start preparing their nail design in advanced, ready for when they come in for their appointment.

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The most exciting thing about the nail industry is the amount of support shown by other nail techs, especially at different stages within their nail career. In the most recent years, there has been so much togetherness, encouragement and support of up-and-coming nail techs which gives a positive feeling to be a part of the wider nail community. It’s also amazing to see more natural nail specialists in the industry and salons specialising in natural nail care. While I do offer acrylic, builder gel and Aprés Gel-X nails, I also offer specific natural nail growth treatments including IBX services for clients wanting to grow their nails. I think the advancement of new nail products in the industry offers clients more choice when they visit the salon, as they no longer need to have just acrylics or gel polish, they can have nail services completely tailored to suit their individual needs.

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I really can say that every part of my nail journey has been an absolute highlight, I’ve loved every moment. I previously completed a week long nail skills bootcamp with the amazing Kirsty Meakin in March 2018, learning new nail skills and nail art technique. This was a jaw-dropping experience after being inspired by her work for such a long time. In addition to this, opening my nail salon and training academy was a great achievement, particularly after spending two years doing nails as mobile technician, before moving to a salon renting a table for 6 months, then eventually finding my own location. The salon focuses on one-to-one personalised treatments in a safe, relaxing salon space – I love that clients’ can come to the salon and have my full attention, enjoy a mini-pamper session, then leave feeling super glam and fabulous!

“Looking back at my nail journey, I realise how important it is to set yourself goals to achieve while investing in your skills, to make progress and give the best service to clients.”

I love to inspire and motivate others, so to give back to the nail community is so important to me. I intend to help and support aspiring nail professionals to move into and progress in the industry and have plans to grow the salon and training academy, offering more vocational qualifications and salon-based apprenticeships to allow more people to find their own creative streak and be part of such an amazing industry.

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For aspiring nail techs, my main advice would be research and invest in the best training to further your progress and devote time to practice your skills. It can often take months and even years to fully perfect and feel confident in your abilities; besides, experience is everything.

“You never really stop learning even years after you qualify.”

When it comes to nail art especially the more bespoke style designs, take the time to find your own creativity and style, then learn and develop your own artistic flair without focusing too much on the work of other nail techs. Find what inspires you, and what gives you that creative spark. Most of all, remember that your nail journey will be completely different to another – just do your best, embrace and enjoy your growth process, and never ever give up.


Follow Kerrie on Instagram and Facebook.