Teacher? Learner? or both?

Life in the Beauty Industry is forever evolving. It could be on a personal level where we learn nails then maybe skin care, and in the end we are fully licensed offering all the above plus hair care. It could be on a product level where brands are constantly introducing new products, new brands arrive or it may even be brand re-packaging. Whatever the situation is, it is a constant learning experience.

My husband and I were watching jeopardy the other night. I’m touched by his participation in helping me discover new topics to discuss.

One of the questions of the night included this statement. “who dares to teach must never cease to learn”. A quote by John Cotton, Library & Museum  Director. A statement my husband suggested would be a good one for my blog. He isn’t wrong!

The statement reminded me of how difficult it was in the days of no internet, no google search. How as a Nail Technician/Salon owner, there was never anything offered to us in the form of education. We were self taught. We had very slim pickings of products available to us AND…..the idea of promoting products to our clients wasn’t even a discussion because, we had no products to promote.

For me personally my knowledge came from working with Mfg’s, traveling the USA working trade shows, meeting with Distributors, working with sales reps and introducing products to Salons. We simply learned from each other.

I must give credit where credit is due. It was 2008 when I met Footlogix®, which changed everything for me. Not only did they bring “new” foot care products into the Industry, they brought a plethora of information, causing a plethora of questions. However, it was information which was easily recognized and accepted by Canada, yet a bit foreign to us here in the United States. It was that realization which brought me fully into foot care, learning as much as I can in an effort to bring it to us Technicians here in the USA.

I’ve been told, the USA is a difficult market to build. Maybe it’s because we have so much trade which leaves us many options. Or, maybe we just didn’t understand how foot care could go from being an hour to sit and relax while someone rubbed our feet and prettied our toenails to the extreme we are witnessing today in dealing with diabetics, Oncology care clients, geriatrics etc.

Personally, I felt Nail Technicians were (are) a breed of their own. We have had to learn on our own for so long.  We didn’t need someone to come in and tell us how to do it. My opening statement when presenting to the sales teams of Distributors began like this….“Hi, my name is CJ….I’m your worse nightmare. I’m a nail technician”. It was difficult for us to listen to anyone….we already had all the answers. We had a brick wall I front of us.

Then, as time moved on and I learned more, I became the teacher. Now, I was speaking to one of my own. I knew the anger from being ignored. I knew the feeling of low self worth along side the feeling of humiliation because “Nail Tech’s” were not important. I knew the Business from Salon ownership to Nail Technician and I also knew, there had to be a way to share all this new founded information.

Once the internet was introduced and then eventually social media, it became so much easier to reach the masses. It also became so much more difficult to teach because along with the masses came the naysayers, introduction of new brands and many many Technicians getting into their own forms of Education.

Safe to say, the Nail Technician is no longer ignored. My question however, is how do you decide where to learn from? What do you look for when seeking education? We know we can search google and watch utube videos. In fact, we can search and search until we find exactly what we are looking for. Don’t like the answer?…keep searching.

I’m a firm believer, we can never stop learning. The one thing about technology, it eliminates human contact. For me, I feel it more in the lack of phone calls during the day. It is far and few between when I am actually speaking with a person. Much of my communication is through email, text, DM-ing.

When talking with others, we learn. Constant learning is the only way I feel, I can be of benefit to our Industry. I learn from others, I research, I read. I am constantly checking facts to assure what I translate in my teachings is not only informative….it is accurate. I teach on it when I know it and I am not afraid to say “I don’t know”.

There are many great educators in our field of nails/feet.  All of us want to teach for different reasons. Make money, help others grow, stay active, become viral. Whatever the reason, the teacher must also be the student.

If you are an educator, do you do everything you can do to continue learning? If you are a Technician looking for education…do your research and know where you are learning from. Be sure your visions align and whomever you choose, whatever class you choose, is just the beginning of what should be a forever relationship.

Cj Murray, President


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