Caitlin Iley

Nail Tech Talk: Meet Katie Dutra, gel nail artist, educator & content creator

By Callie Iley | 02 March 2024 | Feature, Tech Talk

Nail Tech Talk Katie Dutra Header

A passionate educator determined to use her experiences to benefit other nail pros, Katie Dutra shares her career story and reveals her hopes for the future of the nail industry…

Katie Dutra

Katie Dutra

With intentions of becoming a hair stylist, Katie Dutra enrolled in a full cosmetology course in 2011. However, her plans changed when she got to the nails section of the curriculum.

“I’ve always been artistic and I fell in love with nails instantly. I graduated with a full cosmetology licence, but I chose nails as my speciality,” she remembers.

Katie Dutra Nails Green And Tortie

Katie went on to work in a few salons, before deciding to leave the industry in 2014. “I was frustrated with my skills and struggling due to a lack of education. I had a hard time building a clientele and couldn’t make it work.

“I gave it another shot in 2016: this time working for myself. I dedicated time every day to learning and began to refine my skills. Over time, I built up a full clientele which now has a long wait list, and I use my experiences to help other techs excel in their careers.”

Katie Dutra Nails Floral Spring Tips

Based in Portland, Oregon, Katie works exclusively with natural nails, offering structured builder gel manicures and nail art to clients.

“My signature nail style is definitely hand-painted nail art designs. I love creating bold abstract looks and floral designs, and using plenty of bright colours,” she shares. “I get a lot of my inspiration from wallpaper, pottery, jewellery and make-up on Pinterest, as well as checking out what other nail artists are creating and thinking about how I can put my own twist on it.”

Katie Dutra Nails Neon Pink Black And White Mix And Match

“I love being able to express my creativity every day, and it’s amazing that I am able to support myself with my art.”

Katie Dutra Nails Blue Glitter

Katie cites her Structured Manicure online class as the biggest accomplishment of her career, and in the future looks forward to creating further online courses to help other nail artists, widening the topics covered. “It was difficult for me to push past feelings of inadequacy when creating my online class, but I made it through and it has helped so many people.

“Next on my list is helping nail technicians master nail photo and videos, to make content creation easier,” Katie reveals.

Katie Dutra Nails Pastel Mix And Match

Moving forward, Katie looks forward to a beauty industry that embraces and celebrates everything that nails has to offer, and a nail industry that knows it’s worth.

“I hope that the nail community as a collective will come to see our value in the beauty industry. This means charging enough for services and seeing the joy we bring to people’s lives,” she says.

Katie Dutra Nails Dreamy Opal

Check out Katie Dutra on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube