One year ago today, I officially retired as a Nail Technician. I feel as if I have gone through the “5 Stages of Grief”. I had worked as a full time "manicurist" since 1982. There were times when I would become burned out, discouraged and quit working in a salon or close my salon, but I would always find my way back. It was my passion! I would become more knowledgeable, learn the latest products and techniques. I would define natural nail techniques successfully, through trial and error, for almost any natural nail type or type of client. I would grow my business acumen and start a new salon, bigger and better than the last, even write a book on natural nail care. But a year ago, things really changed. Sever allergies, specifically contact dermatitis, and growing problems with arthritis took me away from the service side of the nail industry.
At the beginning of the end of my service career, I struggled with Denial. I had been developing the contact dermatitis for years. I did my best not to touch acrylic monomers or gel products that would create the skin reactions, but the effects gradually grew worse. My skin now peels off in sheets and my skin cracks, even bleeds, when I come into contact with the smallest amount of the acrylates on the exterior of a gel polish bottle. And since I’m getting older, my arthritis was building. It hurt just to hold people’s fingers or toes as I worked on them. It doesn’t sound like much, holding someone’s finger or toe, but this was constant and repetitious. Imagine pinching your forefinger and your thumb together to hold a moving object still or turning it from side to side for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for over 30 years. It took a toll on my joints.
I couldn’t believe that I would possibly have to give up doing nails, just because of some silly skin conditions and joint pain. I got Angry (the second stage). I was not about to let these little problems stop me! I started to Bargain with myself (third stage), that I would wear gloves; I took (and still take) anti-inflammatory drugs; I used creams, ointments, and anything else that might minimize my reactions and my pain. It just got worse. I still had my side business, Bella10 Nail & Skin Care, but I had to give it up the “hands on” service side of my business. It became obvious, I needed to “retire” from nails.
Needing steady regular income, one of my client/friends was nice enough to offer me an office job that I felt quite qualified for. As a new employee, I decided to focus on her business. I had to put my Bella10 Nail & Skin Care business on hold for what I deemed as “a little while”. I focused, I learned, I struggled for 9 months… until my boss/friend had to let me go. There are no hard feelings towards my friend and their business, it was a great experience. I started to realize, as I was coming to an end of my office job, that I had been in a steady emotional decline for the last 9 months, over having to “retire” from the nail service industry. I missed my client/friends, the comfort level of being an expert in my field, being able to provide my clients and new customers with great advice and products. I was officially in a state of Depression. The worst part was, all my prior hard work on my Bella10 Nail & Skin Care business had suffered as well.
Since I left my friend’s business, I have been home. My partner has been helping me, supporting me, and I have been helping him, taking care of him. I felt that I wanted to try to focus on Bella10 products (and this blog) again, but he motivation wasn’t quite there. I tinkered around with some formulas that could be of benefit for natural nail care. I had one formula fail, I created two others which require adjustments to the formula and I have another that I believe was an amazing success. My success with my CutiOil Balm and a conversation with one of my favorite beauty bloggers (who can’t get enough of my Bella10 products) have inspired me and given me he motivation to build Bella10 Nail & Skin Care again! Can this be my Acceptance phase? It’s been a year since I “retired” from the nail service industry. Do I dare to concentrate on natural nail care and nurture my Bella10 Nail & Skin Care product line? Why not? I honestly believe in natural nail care whenever possible and I don’t actually have anything to loose right now. I have friends and relatives who emotionally support me, I’ve built friendships with Bella10, trust in my brand, now I get to start my nail career over again but with a different focus.
I still feel the loss of all my old client/friends from when I did nails. I generally miss our regular visits at the salon, seeing their wonderful faces and just being in their presence. I still try to keep in touch with many of them, in person or on Facebook. They really don’t stray far from my mind since they are the ones who inspired me! They inspired me to create one of the best natural nail care product lines. Over 30 years of providing nail services, learning about nails and skin, discovering what does and doesn’t work, WERE NOT IN VAIN. I originally created Bella10 for my clients and my friends, the next chapter of my life is to share Bella10 with the world!