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Daily Inspiration: Meet Emi Kudo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emi Kudo.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started my career as a freelance manicurist in 2003 when my child turned one year old. My life with a baby with no family support was too challenging to work in a salon. So, I decided to start a house call service in my neighborhood, starting with spreading 300 homemade fliers to charge only $50 for a mani pedi combo.

I had a good sense of customer service that I learnt from my family business also, I was discreet and a good rule follower, so eventually luxury nail spas in Hollywood started to hire me for their high profile events and clients outside of their shops.

In 2004, I met my first celebrity client, Angelina Jolie, in 2005 and I met Janet Jackson, both of whom still have been my loyal clients ever since. By working with them, I was able to go to the set of photoshoots and films, then I met my 3rd big client – American Vogue’s legendary fashion editor Tonne Goodman. Because of Tonne’s loyalty, I made it on the list of Vogue’s approval manicurists and started to meet more celebrities, their publicists, famous photographers, high profile fashion editors… practically all the people who lead me from the next big project to another.

When I built a great looking portfolio, I was able to sign with a Hollywood, high-profile agency.

I have done more than 200 prestigious American magazine covers with A-list Hollywood celebrities and supermodels. I also worked with a few major Disney movie character’s nails. My business grew to more than six figures a year in 2021.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My biggest struggle was working as a single parent with no other family around.

I could not afford a nanny, and little kids like my son got sick all the time, so he had to leave daycare often. Plus, my work happens often last minute and for many hours. To be able to be available, I made a list of baby sitters and called around when I got a job. Luckily everyone was very kind and my son loved most of them. I eventually moved to an area that had 24 hours home daycare and that daycare family became our secondary family. I had to drive a lot of work in Hollywood, but it helped me to keep my son to stay on the same routine as possible.

My second struggle was speaking English as a second language. I didn’t have a talent for learning language, so I still have thick accent. To minimize this disadvantage, I payed attention to everything else. I made sure that I dressed nicely and tried to have a good manners like 5-star hotel employees do. I was also respectful and responsible to the people who hired me and who worked with me. I kept my kit clean and organized and never stopped improving them. All of those things spoke to the people who were in hiring positions or power positions who can make important decisions.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am an on set/ celebrity manicurist. Work on film and photo shoots.

I am known as a manicurist to stars.

Being a part of numerous American & worldwide high-profile creative projects.

I am proud of building trustful and loyal relationships with world-famous clients and be able to raise my child with my career as an immigrant single parent.

What’s next?
Planning to support other artists. Sending my message through product and project.

Coaching single parents or starving artists to be financial independent and stable.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Janet Jakcosn with me Angelina Jolie with me Kristin Bell with me Freida Pinto with me Julia Louise Dreyfuse with me and her other team for herons of Emmy winning day.

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