Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Lezina.
Julia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been always into beauty since I was a kid as my mom raised me to take care of myself as a woman. When I was 21, I won a Green Card in a lottery and at 22 moved to the USA from Kiev, Ukraine with no family and was working at a restaurant. At some point, I decided that I need to figure out what I’m gonna do from thereon. Knowing how much I enjoyed everything beauty-related my boyfriend suggested to try cosmetology school, which I did without any hesitation. I enjoyed every aspect of cosmetology school: hair, skin and nails. When it came to Nail chapter I got excited as I knew the basics of manicuring. I started getting my nails done when I was about six years old. Me and my mom went to the same manicurist for years, I stopped going to her when I was 19 as she retired. She taught me basic nail care and helped me stop biting my nails when I was a teenager.
In cosmetology school, we were required to practice on each other doing services. When I started doing manicures on girls at school, a lot of them were very surprised the way I did it, and I’m not talking about anything out of ordinary, I’m talking about basic filing, soaking and careful trimming of cuticles. Lots of girls were saying “OMG, this is the best manicure I’ve ever had, and I’m not bleeding!!!”. The word spread around the school fast and teachers started wondering what was so special about my manicure. Next thing I know, I was doing the teacher’s nails and they were very impressed, one of them said: “You’re really good at this, you should stick to it”. And here I am four years later, working with three other amazing girls at our own little Studio called Face & Soul in Thousand Oaks.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has been rough starting a totally new path: mentally, physically and financially. I quit the restaurant a few months after getting my license and started working at a full-service salon as a nail tech. It was very difficult as I was doing commission and had no clientele yet. The paycheck was very low, I had to use credit cards for supporting myself and buying products. With my boyfriend’s support and many months of burnouts, I made it thru and started getting busier and busier as the word about me was spreading around. I was able to go on rent after about a year and a half of hustling, working 9 am to 8 pm, with no lunch breaks. Eventually, me and two other girls from my salon, as we were close since cosmetology school decided it was time to move forward. That’s when we opened our little Studio.
My advice is don’t give up if you really love what you want to do, keep working towards it, yes, it gets hard to the point you want to cry in your car for half an hour, but it does get better if you really try and push yourself. You do need a good support system by your side and I’m thankful for my girls who’s been through all of this mess with me, and my boyfriend who watched me come home and break down in tears. Just keep pushing and you will get there, set boundaries and stay true to yourself.
Follow your dream, it might take a detour and it’s fine, just never give it up. Work hard, take chances and opportunities. What was meant to be, will happen when the time is right.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Nails By Julia story. Tell us more about the business.
So as I mentioned I’m a nail technician and my specialty is natural nails. I only work with natural nails and gel polish. I love real nails, short or long doesn’t matter, I think any nails can and deserve to be pretty. At the begging of my journey, people told me I should do acrylics so that I can make more money, but that is not what I’m about. My clients call me Nail Witch for my witchy nature and ability to help them grow their natural nails. I teach them about nail care and nail health explaining how nails grow and all of the related information.
I’m most proud of my clients who stopped picking their skin, biting their nails and managed to grow them out long and healthy.
I spend two hrs with each client making sure their cuticles, nail shape and length are perfect, making sure the polish is even and shiny, that there’s no dips and wave in coats. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I make sure to explain what to do and not to do to keep their nails looking good until their next visit in about 3-4 weeks.
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Follow other people that inspire you in your field or just in general. Make new friends and connections, it will help down the road. If there are conventions you’re interested in, go and talk to people, businesses and etc.
I’ve met a lot of interesting people through Instagram and I’ve met nail techs in real life at beauty conventions.
Don’t be scared to talk about your business or mention it in a conversation, have business cards ready to be able to connect with people.
Take any opportunity.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nailsby_julial/