Caitlin Iley

NAIL TECH TALK: Meet Kylea Wherry, Scratch Stars L&P Tech of the Year 20/21

By Callie Iley | 21 August 2021 | Feature, Tech Talk

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Scratch chats to Kylea Wherry about her journey into the nail industry and her delight at winning the Scratch Stars Award for L&P Tech of the Year 20/21…

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I started my career in nails in January 2012. It wasn’t a profession I’d dreamed of, just one I thought could fit around my other very new job – being a mum.

I qualified with Essential Nails, and five years later I started to see acrylic design sets appear more – and I feel this is where my passion really grew. I couldn’t get enough of it; reading, watching and practicing new skills every day.

I started posting in Facebook groups and promoting for some wonderful companies, but the force of Instagram is where it all snowballed. My social status grew and grew, I suddenly became a very ‘cool’ mum who had more followers than my child’s beloved Aston Villa could fit in their grounds.

I trained with more artists that I truly admire and went on to pass my AET, and started offering workshops, with students flying in from Europe and travelling the length of the UK to learn from me.

I live very remotely so help with childcare is very, very difficult, so ‘mum’ has always and will always, be my first job. I’ve worked from my kitchen from the beginning and I’m pretty proud of this, I feel it reflects many of us in the industry juggling home and work life – working from home does not reflect your professionalism or abilities; you have to find the correct balance for you and your family, be it mobile, salon or home based, its only a hub that holds you.

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Lockdown made me look at my business from a new angle. Boris restricted our industry for one of the longest, so I decided to expand my online shop. It was good home schooling exercises too – what does four bottles of glitter, one brush and a metal file equal?

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My Scratch Stars Awards journey

I’d always wanted to compete, but would always put excuses in front of me and I didn’t feel good enough to even think about entering alongside such amazing techs. I’ve since been told about imposter’s syndrome, which now makes everything very clear, with any success I’d receive over the years I’d always just say ‘I was lucky’, ‘I fluked it’, ‘it wont happen again’, so now I must adapt an ‘I can’ approach to life.

Entering Scratch Stars was online initially. I felt safe at not putting myself out there completely, thinking I probably wouldn’t even make the final five… But I did.

Entering was very easy, I sat down one evening and typed and uploaded all I needed, with a nice glass of wine for courage to press the send button.

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When the time came for the Scratch Stars Party, I was so excited! The social aspect was lovely. I was just so happy to see, laugh and dance the night away.

When my name was called as winner, I felt so emotional – I was unable to actually give a speech, but I think my tears spoke volumes. Honestly just to be in a category with competition royalty was amazing. I openly told friends and family ‘I’m the underdog, it’s just lovely to be considered’ – it gave me that courage and belief that ‘I can’.

“My name being called out in my first ever competition is my biggest career high ever!”

I was told it would happen, and I think I caught a competition bug. I’d like to enter and learn more and more about this side of our industry.

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My trophy sits on my little shelf by my desk, I look at it all the time and still can’t believe its mine.

Before I left for London my boys said, ‘win or lose, we will take you out for dinner’ so a few days later we got dressed up and went out to celebrate my win. The good thing about winning meant I didn’t have to pay!

Check out Scratch’s live on Instagram with Kylea on Friday 27 August.

Follow Kylea on Instagram, here.