We had the good fortune of connecting with Juliana Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juliana, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
I believe many outsiders view the beauty industry as a fun job where you get to go into the salon to play around with your friends hair or polish their nails and call it a day. While being in this industry is a lot of fun, there is so much more that goes into it than what many see. At the start of my nail career, I felt many people saw me as “just” a nail tech. I would have clients that would ask if I did anything else for work or ask if I was going to school for anything. I began to feel like I wasn’t being taken seriously at work, and questionEd if I had chosen the right career, and if doing nails would be “enough”. Nails were what I went to school to specialize in, and after some time in the industry, I realized that it would be more than enough. Many see the work that goes into each client at the salon, but behind the scenes, there is so much more that goes into perfecting our craft. Even after a full day at the salon, I know many technicians go home and continue to immerse themselves into the nail world. From nail conventions, to private classes, to countless hours on Instagram, we are always looking for ways to perfect our work and stay on top of the latest and greatest trends. The education that is out there is never ending, which is why we dedicate so much of our own time and money into what we do. Along with education, comes practice. Figuring out your technique, finding the right products, and having a good set of implements are key. As I mentioned before, this industry is more than just polishing nails. A lot of trial and error is necessary to ensure our work is not just seen as pretty, but also durable until the clients next appointment. This is why finding the right products, such as cuticle remover and nippers, is such an important part of our job. Our clients rely on us to decipher what will work best for their nails, and trust that we put our all into our work. In finding trust in our clients, we get to see them return on a regular basis. Not only does that ensure business, but also allows us to grow a connection with them, turning them from clients, to family, which is my favorite part of my job.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In my years as a nail technician, I learned that there are many different niches to go into. While some techs are talented in nail extensions, others focus natural nails, and some even go into the medical side of this industry. In my case, I have always been very interested in the art of nails. Even before I started beauty school, I always followed nail artists on Instagram, and felt inspired by their work. It seemed impossible to be able to create designs so small and detailed, but I would always try designs on myself or my sisters. It was not easy, especially when I first tried it out and didn’t have the proper brushes or polishes. Through the years, I went from using toothpicks and regular polish to create nail art, to finding detailer brushes and gel paints for a much more flawless finish. Along with the proper tools, I realized a steady hand and patience were also huge part of it. Anytime a client requests nail art, I see it as a challenge— which I am always up for!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend from out of town was visiting the area, I would want to start the day in Little Italy. Breakfast at Morning Glory is a must for anyone who is visiting from out of town! Not only is the food delicious, but the ambience is not like any other brunch spot in San Diego. Our next stop would be Balboa Park, to visit a few of their many museums and gardens. It’s one of my favorite spots to take a walk, catch up, and maybe even have a picnic by the koi pond. To speed things up a little, we would head over to one of my favorite beaches, Mission Beach. A trip to San Diego is not complete without getting some sun by the beach! We would tag along with the other skaters down the board walk and roller skate until it was time for a funnel cake at Belmont Park. To end the day, we’d head over to OB, and find a spot along Sunset Cliffs. San Diego never fails at having breath-taking sunsets, and in my opinion, the cliffs are a prime spot for an incredible view.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been very lucky to have friends and family who have supported me through my journey as a nail technician. From my parents who helped me get through beauty school, to my sisters who have always been willing to let me use their nails to practice on, to the teams I have worked closely with who have helped me get where I am in my career today. I’m grateful to have gotten my start with Spa Barona (now Spa Ritual), and feel lucky to continue to grow with them and the talented team at Leo by Liv3. I am so thankful for the support from each and every one of you!
“Photos by Amber Thrane”