To Top

Conversations with Robin Yancey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Yancey.

Hi Robin, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I graduated from college in 2012 from Long Beach State with a degree in radio broadcasting but found myself working as a full-time teller at Citibank. I always had my nails done to look presentable for work, but through many failed appointments and injuries at nail salons around my house, I decided to do my nails myself.

Fortunately, I have always been artistic so I began experimenting with different nail art styles. I got so much recognition from my co-workers and clients of the bank for my nail skills that I investigated the potential for making good money doing nails. I quickly realized that I had stumbled across an under-rated gold mine- nail technology could lead me to magazine shoots, being on staff for ad campaigns, and even being a personal manicurist for celebrities. I was sold on all the possibilities outside of just staying inside a nail salon, so I immediately began researching nail schools. I eventually enrolled in Marinello Schools of Beauty in Reseda, Ca in Oct. 2013, where I met one of my best friends and business partner, Taylor DeVeaux. I graduated and received my nail technology license in March 2014 and have been constantly working to sharpen my craft and be the best nail artist I can be. I specialize in natural nail health and gel services, including gel art, hard gel overlays on natural nails, and gel extensions.

Throughout my journey in this industry, I have also reignited a passion from my childhood: healing crystals. I now infuse them in different products that I make such as cuticle oil, body sprays, candles, and keychains. One of my other passions is teaching, so aside from mentoring and holding one-on-one classes, I have also self-published a nail art coffee table book that chronicles the journey of life through the lens of nail service. It’s titled Nail Junkie: Addicted to Tiny Canvases and I use my own photography of nails to demonstrate each stage in the creative journey.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s been such a bumpy road, I can’t even express that enough! There’s been so many times where I was getting so much negative feedback from clients that I almost quit doing nails altogether. But what kept me going (and still does) is the thought that everyone had to start somewhere, and if anything is worth having, then it’s worth fighting for through the good times and the crappy ones too.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a sucker for trap music, graffiti art, abstract art, and healing crystals, so they get injected in all my work in some capacity. Because I strive for everyone to have healthy, beautiful natural nails, I’m always looking for ways to improve my clients’ nails and educating others on how to do the same for their clients. I’m most proud of my friends and family who have been clients since I got my license in 2014 and have helped me grow into the artist I am today. They keep challenging and inspiring me to be the best I can be with no exceptions. I like to think that my deep sense of competition with myself is what sets me apart from other artists because I hate to lose and I hate to be mediocre.

How do you think about luck?
In a weird way, I kinda don’t subscribe to the thought of bad luck. There’s “luck” then there’s lessons. In both my life and my nail business, I’ve had my share of good luck, mainly from being in the right place at the right time like doing nails for celebrity red carpet events (BET Awards) and conventions (ComplexCon) simply because I knew the event organizer. But I’ve had my share of lessons as well. I’ve worked in salons where the manager had zero respect for the other manicurists- even though they were a manicurist themselves. I’ve worked events where there was no clear organization or pay structure and I had to chase down event coordinators to make sure I got paid. I’ve been burned by magazines and blogs who used my work for editorials but never gave me credit. But I use those as lessons for how I should move the next time I’m presented with a similar opportunity. Those situations may suck in the moment, but as long as I use those experiences as lessons, I don’t dwell on them too long and I don’t build resentment.


  • Nail Junkie: Addicted to Tiny Canvases, $35
  • Nail Junkie: Addicted to Tiny Canvases, $35
  • Crystal Love Custom Press-On Nail Sets, $50Crystal Love Candles, $12.50
  • Gel Manicure Product List E-Book, $5
  • Acrylic Fullset Product List E-Book, $5

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Robin Yancey

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in