The Journey of a Successful Session Manicurist – Interview with Tinu Bello
Whenever investing your time and efforts into anything new, it’s usually because we have already visualised the potential scale of opportunity that can come from it. The same goes for applying to your dream job or registering with an agency in hopes of landing a job that’s perfect for you.
Our aim at Nail Spec is to highlight the array of opportunities that can arise from registering with our nail industry focused Recruitment Consultancy, and what better way to convince you than to get an interview with one of our registered Nail Professionals who once embarked upon this journey and has gone on to experience those great things she once envisioned, within a career in nails?
Allow me to introduce one of the very first Manicurists to register with Nail Spec back in 2011 when it all began, Tinu Bello of ColourRiotNails from West London. Admittedly, I asked her some of my own burning questions and have shared with you her positive experience within the nail industry, a few of her favourite nail products and some useful industry tips and advice…
When did you realise you wanted to become a Manicurist?
Believe it or not, I really wanted to be an ice-skater! I know, very different to what I’m doing now but this was when I was at the age of six or seven. To be honest my inspiration came from watching my mum who was a hairdresser at the time. She would do her clients hair then paint their nails afterwards. I also have some fun memories of my sister trying to do a French manicure on her nails using Tipp-ex! So it all started from here I guess.
I grew up wanting to be a part of the beauty industry and decided skating was no longer for me but funny enough, I always thought I was going to be a hairdresser like my mum.
There was one pivotal moment I remember spotting an image in Vogue magazine for Chanel and instantly noticing the models nails, they were amazing! I thought to myself ‘someone must have done those nails, so why cant I?’ This began my real drive towards wanting a career in doing nails outside of the salon walls.
What steps did you take to begin a career in nails?
I went to beauty school and gained Level 2 and 3 qualifications in Beauty Therapy, then went on to achieve a VCTC in Nail Technology. I worked in multiple salons after completing my education and so that was that, but I knew in order to get into session work I needed to try something different. I looked for agencies that would help me to engage in both salon based work as well as events such as London Fashion Week but this was so difficult to find.
What lead you to register with Nail Spec?
I came across Nail Spec in a Google search and to be honest I thought they only dealt with salon work but to my pleasant surprise found that they also offered opportunities to work on fashion shows, editorial photo shoots and beauty events. This was everything I had been looking for! Plus the team was super friendly and keen to support me, this helped a lot.
What doors do you feel Nail Spec opened for you?
After successfully registering with Nail Spec, they introduced me to work pretty quickly. I had done salon work, a few fashion shows and press events before they opened the door to me working at London Fashion Week. I had done my first fashion week through them and I absolutely loved it! Nail Spec helped me to reach my goals and exposed me to opportunities that led me to grow in confidence. I met some really amazing people and began to shape my future career.
I have since gone on to do many fashion week shows and have also taken the title of Lead Nail Technician for the last two season shows of Christopher Kane.
What have you gone on to achieve for yourself?
I started my own brand/ business called ColourRiotNails, which provides beauty treatments at events and is known for its colourful nail art creations and pop up nail bar. Our list of clients include H&M, Simply Be, Butter London, Orly and Katie Rowland.
I am now also represented by a well know creative agency who secure high profile jobs for me and support me in building my personal profile as a session manicurist. Through them, I have been able to work on editorial jobs for magazines such as Tatler, InStyle and Schon and with celebrities Cara Delevigne, Olga Kurylenko and Jamie Bochert.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
To date, I would say my highlight was doing the nails of Kerry Washington. She was an amazing, down to earn woman and it was an honour to not just meet her but to do her nails! Another was working at New York Fashion Week, something I’ve always wanted to do.
How would you describe your style as a Manicurist?
Oh that’s a hard one! Being nicknamed in the industry as ‘the colour queen’ I would say I pay great attention to colour. I love applying colour and I think my style as a manicurist reflects this. If I do your nails I will always convince you to go with a brighter colour.
What are your three favourite products for nails and why?
Seche Vite Top Coat because its quick drying, extremely shiney and perfect for preventing smudges on nail art. The second would be Orly Bonder Base Coat, as it helps to smooth nails, preparing the base for a flawless polish. Lastly, Butter London Holiday Handbag Cuticle Oil- it smells amazing and does a superb job at nourishing cuticles.
If there was one tool from your nail kit you could not do without, what would it be?
It would have to be a Striping Brush. It is essential to draw straight lines and is especially good with geometric nail art.
Who inspires you?
Well how much time have you got? There are just so many that inspire me in the nail industry! So, I would start with Ian Arnold and Lena white for their business ethics and creations. Then I would say, Katie Jane Hughes, Sophy Robson, and Jenny Longworth for their creativity, dedication and passion for the industry, and my mum, sister and boyfriend for their continuous support. Especially my mum, because she instilled in me this creativity that I have so much of, and she taught me how to use it to earn a living.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I have so much planned but I’d rather keep a lid on it for now… But what I will say is keep a look out for the expansion of ColourRiotNails in the near future.
What word of advice can you share with aspiring Session Manicurists?
It’s important to keep at it, to become a great session manicurist I feel you need to be a perfectionist and you need to tap into your creative side. It’s easy to paint nails but it’s an art to paint nails perfectly!
Always have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and utilise every avenue of opportunity available to you such as Nail Spec, who can support you in finding the work that’s right for you. Also build yourself a strong portfolio and use social media to assist you in getting your name out there. Network and reach out to fellow session manicurists for tips.
Well, there you have it, an exclusive insight into the journey of a successful session manicurist. But don’t let the inspiration stop here! Follow Tinu’s future ventures first hand on Twitter @tinubellonails and Instagram @tinubellomanicurist.
We want to thank Tinu for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her story with us and to you for reading. Please feel free to share your comments below…