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I need some advice ...and pointers I guess. I have really only been doing gel overlays & gel polish; not sculpted nails. I’m a stylist with plenty of hair clients but I enjoy a change of pace & want nice nails of my own so learned the gel overlay. I have a client who is my primary ‘guinea pig’ ...she has decent nails, not flimsy like mine ...but maybe a bit brittle & inflexible. The overlay has been very good on her. But then she broke a nail I figured it would be good if I learned to sculpt a bit so I can do a repair. So I built her a nail ( 2 weeks ago now) ... did okay with it – she thought it was perfect. Of course it was not, I have a lot to learn about sculpting.
She is leaving for a trip in 18 days now. I promised her she would have nice nails for her trip when we first started the overlays (about 7 weeks ago now) & it was going great ...she says many of her nails are now breaking (none of them were real long maybe 1/8 inch past free edge but maybe not even that ...we have been keeping them very modest but nice, neat) ...and the sculpted nail broke too. Now, I have not mastered the apex area yet – like I said – this is all new to me. I had no idea she would break so many nails so close to her trip and then expect me to do a full set of sculpted nails for her ...but this is what she is asking me. She figures I need the practice (which I do). ... Pro Bono of course she has been my practice client (and still is right now). And I did promise her that her nails would be nice for her trip. She says she hasn’t done anything to cause them to break – I reminded her that gel doesn’t make her nails into nails of steel. She does have about half her nails that are still good but she wants to cut them all down & have me build them all from ground level ...I’m so stressed over this. I have not seen her in the 2 weeks since I did the 1 sculpted nail. I asked her not to cut anything yet ...but I am thinking she did. She thinks they will better nails if she cuts her own right off so she has a completely sculpted nail with no natural free edge unserneath.(she'll leave me enough for the nail form). I think it just means more work for me. She is wearing me out in more ways than one.
It took me almost half an hour to sculpt 1 nail ...not to mention all the product it will take me to do these nails for her. It would never occur to her to offer me $10 for my supplies. I just want to continue with the overlay – we have almost 3 weeks, her nails could be decent again by then. I think she is really taking advantage of me & also expecting a lot more than I am capable of right now. I explained how much time this would take & all the product it would use ...and that I don’t have the skills yet to guarantee a great set of sculpted nails for her trip ...she has ‘faith’ in me. What’s worse than a client from hell? A client from hell that you do for free!Dodgy
I would just tell her that you are going to do overlays for her this time until she is back from her vacation. I can only imagine that you do the sculptured nails and she will break them, then she will make a fuss about her nails breaking while she is on vacation.
I agree Melissa.. The breakage could be from not properly rebalancing the enhancement.and or heart not being used to the length.. Be firm and tell her she's getting overlays for her trip!
I just had a bad experience with a "free practice" client and I'm already over giving away my services for free, lol. I gave a free Shellac mani to a friend yesterday but that was a Thank You for dinner. I've complained for so long since getting out of nail school that I had no one to practice on, now I'm complaining about the people I do practice on. I'm not saying the OP is complaining but I know I am, LOL! You just have to be firm with these people.
Nice nails don't have to be long. I'd recommend doing overlays, NO extensions. Inform her of what you're willing to do for the price she's paying. If she insists on immediate gratification (length), suggest another salon. And don't make promises about things you cannot control, like your client's behavior lol
(06-24-2013, 04:44 PM)PrecisionNails Wrote: [ -> ].... And don't make promises about things you cannot control, like your client's behavior lol

lesson learned there!
I agree with everyone here, Overlays only. Maybe you need a new arrangement on anything over what your willing to do now. For example maybe you can ask her if she can contribute to the cost of supplies? After all if she is paying for her nails, she may not want to have special things done and may not ask much over what you are doing on her now. I personally would not do anyone's nails for free for an extended period. I would at least ask them to pay 50% of what I normally charge, but with no extra stuff for free. I actually did a friends nails for free for a few months while she was out of work and after she got a job. We agreed she would start paying; she conveniently would forget her money. So I gently fired her and there were no hard feelings. I just suggested we stop doing nails on her, until she could get on her feet. That was the end of it. We are still friends. She has since moved away. It's not fair that anyone take advantage of you, even if it were your idea to do her nails. Don't get stuck there, as you get better continually asses what will work for you. You sound like a very kind person.
thanks ladies ...I appreciate the input! I think she & I will have a heart to heart and set some ground rules now ... live and learn!
I'm sorry, but the last thing you need in a practice clients is 1) someone who stresses you out, and 2) doesn't follow your instructions precisely. If someone is getting free nails while you practice then the trade-off should be that they follow your home care guidelines, which includes NOT cutting her own nails. I said someone instead of "she" because it's probably too late with this one and she very likely needs to be "fired" from her position.
so yes she did cut her nails ... I did tell her I was not doing sculpted extensions on her before her trip - I will continue with the overlay and that is what she is getting. If & when I am ready to continue with sculpting - it will be my decision and not forced upon me by my practice client. After her trip - her 'position' will be 'terminated', anything more will be paid. I was kind - I explained that I feel I have mastered the overlays quite well and no longer need to 'practice' it for free ...I told her I was in no rush to build sculptureds right now (and when I'm ready, I will not use her & I will ask for the cost of materials and lay down better ground rules)
Sounds like a great strategy
I appreciate all the insites! thanks everyone
I'm going to play the devil's advocate here. So do you want to learn to do extensions, or not? If you do, I would suggest a good class, and take every opportunity to practice. Maybe you can do a set on yourself. You ladies have no idea what an advantage it is that you can wear your work Blush

I'm not criticizing your decision. It's just that I can sense in your post that you want to do this. You just got scared. But it's when you leave your comfort zone that you truly grow and can reach your full potential!

Just food for thought Smile
+1 to what Jesse said - I was responding previously strictly to the issue of deadheading your practice garden, not on giving up on sculpting length!
You know, I really do want to learn to sculpt ...but it's too much pressure to do a full set for a vacation bound 'client' when I know I am not 'ready' & under these circumstances
...learning is what I intend to do but not under the pressure of a client. I think feeling so stressed over it would be the fastest way to just say 'forget the whole idea' and quit .I do practice on myself when I get the chance ...usually I can find about 2 hours a week. My idea of doing sculptures on the practice client is working couple nails in a sitting - not the whole set: it would be too overwhelming for me. Then the next day or so, do a couple more nails. I do have a salon to keep up and other clients to see - I can't spend a whole day one 'free' client - and right now it would probably take me 4 -5 hours to try a whole setBig Grin
When I work on myself with overlays, I'm now trying to concentrate on building the apex, instead of just applying like polish ...there are no classes near me but can probably find something with a 3 - 4 hour drive. I also kinda know a couple techs in my area - I worked with years ago - and am hoping one of them might be able to take an hour to send with me (of course I will pay for their time)
I just wasn't prepared for this practice client to decide to cut all her nails down and then expect sculptured. If it was a matter of building 2 or 3 for her because she broke a couple (which she did) ...I'd gladly give it a go ...but then deliberately cutting them all just really made me feel pressured & taken advantage of. In fact I did build one nail for her 2 weeks ago which she broke 10 days in I know my structure is far from perfect. I am watching videos at home at night - and if anyone has a link to share or can recommend a good DVD please share!
You all really inspire me ...working alone I sometimes lack it.
I appreciate the gentle nudge Jesse - you are very perceptive! I just wanted to explain why this client has soured me ...I'm thinking I need a new practice client & do have someone in mind.

Thanks! Heart
I'm not a woman lol. I need a new picture Smile
(06-27-2013, 06:58 AM)loribe Wrote: [ -> ]In fact I did build one nail for her 2 weeks ago which she broke 10 days in I know my structure is far from perfect.

See now I would not say your structure is far from perfect.. it lasted 10 days.. she has no respect for your abilities and was pressuring you.. she didn't listen to you when you asked she not cut her nails.. lord knows what she was doing when it broke... - who says its your fault 10 days later?? you need to stop beating yourself up here!!

I have clients who will try to come in and blame me or my products, when I am using and doing the exact same thing on others (as well as them previously) with no problems. This is just a knee jerk thing people sometimes do in order to get you to do something extra for them. I just ignore it - and Debbi is right, you are not responsible for what clients do with their nails when they are away from you, even if you are learning.

Definitely only practice on someone who will not stress you out, although it might be hard to find someone who will let you do two nails at a time with a couple days between each. Your set up and clean up time will be expanded greatly as well with that format... but to each her own.
lol ...then you are TOO cute Jesse!

(06-27-2013, 03:59 PM)CandiceAE Wrote: [ -> ]...Definitely only practice on someone who will not stress you out, although it might be hard to find someone who will let you do two nails at a time with a couple days between each. Your set up and clean up time will be expanded greatly as well with that format... but to each her own.

I am thinking maybe come in on a day off so I won't worry about walkins ...I can keep my door shut and my sign off ...I did 2 nails on myself today. 1st nail (thumb) took me 30 minutes using a non-self leveling gel. 2nd nail (index) took me 18 minutes using a self leveling ...not including polish ...actually feeling positive right now. Jesse's little kick in butt got me moving!Tongue