Helena Marimon is the resident nail technician and assistant creative director at The GelBottle Inc. We chatted to her about her career, how she began working for a brand and what changes she’s seen in the last seven years.
H comes from a small town in Spain - about 2 hours along the coast from Barcelona. After studying beauty here for 2 years , she made the decision to move to the city, alone, and studied make up and hair styling for a year and a half.
When she finished the course Helena made the trip back home to pass a driving test and settle with her family but it wasn’t quite right… her sister had moved to Brighton in the UK 2 years prior and it was her that convinced Helena to make the move: “she told me to move there as I would love it and it would improve my English, and so I just went ahead and did it!”
Helena moved to Brighton in January 2015 and because fate works in wonderful ways, the street that she lived on happened to also have a nail salon. Hint, it was called: “Daisy’s”.
At this point H was living in Brighton, 1003 miles from home and she wanted a job doing nails. So she left her CV and… they called her back the next day.
The simplicity of the story so far, doesn’t mean the rest wasn’t hard work - Daisy’s salon was really busy and Helena was thrown in at the deep end, she’d moved to a new country, started a new job and was working full time at one of the busiest central-city salons. 7 years later her passion for nails, creativity and quality products sees her in a top job as the main content creator and product tester for The GelBottle Inc. - a brand born from the salon she walked into clutching a CV all those years before.
We chatted with Helena to find out more about the path her career has taken:
Hi Helena thanks for joining us!
Can you sum up what you do in just one sentence?
H: Hi! So I create visual content for the TGB website and social media pages and I help to create the collections themselves!
How did you first get into the industry?
H: I’ve always been passionate about the beauty industry in general, but makeup and nails were definitely where I felt I could be more creative. I’m a creative soul so I knew I had to do a job which would allow me to express this - I went to college and studied for two years in beauty.
At the end of college, it was clear for me that nails were my primary interest, so when I moved to Brighton I sought a job as a nail technician and ended up working for Daisy at her salon!
How many years have you been a nail tech now?
H: I’ve been a working nail tech for 7 years.
So you’ve been doing nails a long time! How would you say the industry has changed in this time?
H: At the beginning of my career and especially in Castellon de la Plana (Helena’s home town), nail art and gel extensions weren’t such a huge thing so experimenting with my creativity was much harder!
A classic manicure or French was pretty much the standard and there was a lot less to keep up with.
Nowadays, and especially in Brighton, we have all these different shapes and designs, and customer requests allow you to be much more creative which I love - but it does mean that your skillset demands more range.
There’s also the introduction of social media… so many customers use Instagram, for example, to save ‘inspo’ and often they bring in designs simply assuming you have the skill and product to offer that. I definitely feel that because of this nail technicians are under HUGE pressure to predict trends and offer such a wide variety of designs, treatments and products compared to when I first started in the industry.
Do you have any tips for our readers on what they can do to adapt to these changes?
H: Stay current!
Do your best to keep up to date with training as trends and techniques change really quickly. Although it may seem costly to invest in this, by positioning yourself at the forefront of industry you’ll reel customers in. Everyone wants to be a trendsetter, so let your clients buy into this by preparing yourself to best advise them on what to expect for the season ahead- even if that’s totally not your clientele, almost everyone buys into it! It really doesn’t matter whether your client is 18 or 80, everyone wants to be an IT girl… she just might not know it yet!
And of course, we have to ask you - what is your favourite TGB product?!
H: Definitely GelPot! I love that stuff! It’s just so easy to work with and it’s super strong. I work in an office, full time, trying and testing new colours, designs, creating videos, shooting campaign images. Basically, my nails go through a lot! I always have GelPot on as it protects my natural nails with all the filing, soaking and work they go through, plus it stays put whilst I try out different colours. Sometimes I try multiple different colours in one day, so protecting my nails and having something strong is really important, plus it comes in different colours and they’re all super pretty.
What advise would you give to a nail tech just starting off in the industry?
H: Invest! A good education is a base for your career and it’s really important to get it right. You wouldn’t build a house on substandard foundations so why build a career on one?
Also, I know this is cliché but it’s the absolute truth: practice makes perfect - take your time, don’t rush, clients will appreciate the results and you will also feel satisfied if you are proud of your work - the difference is in the detail!
That minute you take to check the end result and make sure you’re happy is key. This will ensure you get returning customers and it will be the reason you’re chosen instead of someone else… so never just wave someone out the door after the final cure.
What advise would you give to someone to increase business when they have a quiet period?
H: Keep doing the best you can, we are lucky - people ALWAYS want their nails done.
With that in mind keep your standards high, stick to the trends and ensure the treatments are high quality.
If you do this you shouldn’t have major problems with clientele. Of course, there will be quieter times but you can utilise this to grow your business; I would suggest using it to come up with new designs/techniques and to keep improving your skills as this will be an investment for your business.
Social media is key, ensure you are posting all your best work on there regularly, staying current and making sure people know you are there.
Also, it’s important to remember that being quiet can be good! Nothing is more valuable than time and every so often it’s important to remember that you exist too. Use quiet periods to do things you enjoy outside of work, see an old friend, go on a walk, watch a film - whatever it takes to reconnect with yourself; because once you’ve restored yourself, you’ll be a much more motivated, engaged and concentrated technician.
What’s your favourite part of being a nail technician and why?
H: I love the transformation process. It’s really satisfying creating the sharpest shape and getting the perfect polish application. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to my job, so i love the little things right down to getting rid of the cuticles to the final sweep of top coat.
Also, I love playing around with colours and new products to create new designs for nail art.
What advise would you give to your 18-year-old self?
H: Embrace your passion, you are making the right decision. Be more confident and believe in yourself!