Shannon is well known throughout the beauty industry for her unique and undeniably perfectly created acrylic nails, which her clients proudly display. Now with her new business ‘Faking It’, Shannon is taking her popular style to a whole new level.
> What originally sparked your interest in Nail Artistry?
Basically, I needed a change of career. I wasn’t happy in welfare and was offered a job where I used to get my nails done and despite being ‘arty’, I didn’t pick it up straight away. It took me three months before I started doing half decent nails, and I was practicing in the salon every day. But once I got the hang of it, everything just fell into place. Not long after I started at the salon in Orange, my boss and another girl I worked with went to a tradeshow in New York looking for something ‘new’ and ‘different’. They figured that the world is a big place and there are more to nails than just pink and white (french).
This is where they discovered EZFlow. They came back with the most amazing nails I had ever seen – coloured acrylic, clear nails, and designs. My boss was so excited I thought she would burst, she couldn’t wait to get it into my hands to see what I could do with it. This is where my passion for nails started, it was like creating mini works or art. Seeing what I could do instigated the idea for the nail olympics. So having only done nails for ten months, I went to Las Vegas to compete in the International Nail Olympics.
> Tell us about the International Nail Olympics. How did you get to compete in (not to mention win) such a prestigious event?
The Nail Olympics was an amazing experience. Anyone from anywhere in the world can compete. And just like the “Olympics”, there are different areas to compete in, from sculptures and tips to overlays and mixed media art, airbrushing, gel and fibreglass.
I went in the mixed media section which involved completing a full set of nails in two hours using a minimum of three different mediums.
So during the presentations for the nail Olympics I met a girl from England who paid me to do a set of nails for her. It was while I was doing her nails that they announced me as the winner of my section. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling that I had at that moment. What made the moment even better was that everyone at the EZFlow conference was there, as well as the owners and educational trainers, and they all stood and cheered.
I was then approached by a constant stream of people wanting their nails done, magazines taking photos and then one of the owners of EZFlow asking me to demonstrate on their stand, right next to Tom. Holy cow, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.
In between competing, I also attended a conference with EZFlow where by I became an educator for the company.
After completing my practical exam, the owners of EZFlow informed the whole class that my designs were exactly like what Tom Holcomb creates. At this moment my head exploded for two reasons. Firstly, Tom Holcomb is ‘the bomb.’ At the time, Tom was not only the artistic educator for EZFlow, but he was also six time International World Champ. Everyone looks up to someone and Tom is my idol. So to be told that my work is of the same standard as his was unbelievable.
Secondly, I was in a room with fifty other nail techs from all over the world, all of which had been doing nails a lot longer than me.
I feel like my status changed in that instant.
> Have you had any major nail disasters?
Gee… haven’t we all? My worst happened just after I started doing nails. My boss had me prepping her client for her, which meant removing all the acrylic. We didn’t have an electric file so we did it all by hand and this particular client had “the nails from hell” – they were sooo long. Anyway, whilst filing them down, my file caught the underside of her nail and ripped her nail off, mmm… lots of blood. I thought that was the end of my nail career. Not only did my boss have to fix a bleeding nail bed (totally against the rules), but the client told my boss she didn’t want me anywhere near her nails ever again. Hmm, can’t imagine why?
> Some of the nails you’ve created are almost mini artworks in themselves. Tell us about some of your best nails.
Apart from the nails I did for the comps, bridal nails can be some of the most fun. Instead of doing the flower designs directly onto the nail, I pre-make the flowers, like roses and lillies, so they sit on the nail. Just like cake decorating on a smaller scale. They look amazing but they’re not for everyone.
> What prompted you to start your own business? And why the name ‘Faking It’?
There were a few reasons. Every day I get feedback from clients about all the nail bars popping up in shopping centres and their lack of personal service and quality. So I figured that if people can open salons that make you feel like you’re in a production line, then why can’t we open salons where the most important person is the client.
I have had clients travel all over the world and come back saying that they can’t get the same quality of service that we offer, anywhere else.
Another reason I opened ‘Faking It’ was because I became so busy I had to close my books. I am only one person and can only do so many nails. I hated turning clients away, so I came to realise that I needed to train staff to do exactly what I do so they could take on more clients.
The reason for the name ‘Faking It’, is because at the end of the day, that’s what we do – fake nails.
> What services does Faking It offer?
At the moment just acrylic nails. We want to stick with the ‘Faking It’ name and image, so who knows what other services we’ll offer. There are a few ideas in the pipeline, but nothing concrete yet.
> Are you planning to expand Faking It in the future?
Absolutely. Eventually ‘Faking It’ salons will be everywhere. We want our clients to be able to travel or move and get the same quality wherever they go.
> What are your plans for teaching students nail artistry?
Because of the direction we are taking with the salons, we will be taking on girls or guys to train and work in our salons. We’re going to have lots of salons to fill with staff, so if you think you’ve got what it takes, send me a resume and photos of your work.
> Thanks for your time. You can contact Shannon at Faking It on (02) 6583 6681, or drop in to the salon at 7/66 Clarence St, Port Macquarie.