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Life and Work with Raquel Paz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raquel Paz.

Raquel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
So, my nail journey started when I was 11 years old, I got my 1st acrylic set for my 5th grade “graduation”. I was in love! I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So, from ages 11-16, I would regularly go to the nail salon close to where I live in Highland Park, always short square acrylic french tip nails with 3d nail art, of course. It was so cool watching my technicians work their magic, but it was also expensive on my mom and dads wallets, so 1 day when I was 17, I was like I can do this myself! I watch it all the time it’s EASY! I had no clue what I was doing when I went to CVS and bought myself a $20 kiss at home acrylic nail kit. So naturally, I went on YouTube! And went on to put on the ugliest lumpy short french tip square acrylic set of nails and I was like wow! This is awesome! Haha, it was so much fun I was like I want to learn more! I wanted to go to beauty school to learn nails but my mom wasn’t on board with the idea and suggested I should go to the local community college and go to the medical field. I agreed went for 1 year and was not happy. My aunt in Mexico who is a cosmetology teacher then suggested in go and visit and take her classes that she would offer for free at the women’s centers in her town I was so excited! I went for a month and learned how to do acrylic nails the correct way! When I came back, I enrolled at Marinello schools of beauty and took the 10-month cosmetology course. And on July 21, 2013, took my state board test passed it 1st try and already had a job lined up! My 1st nail job was at a small nail shop in DTLA, I learned so much from my coworkers! I’ve since worked at a few salons along the way around LA learning from everyone I’ve had the pleasure working with 🙂 along with social media kept up with the trends and new techniques which are always changing! Now, I’m at Iluminar Nail Spa in DTLA, it’s awesome most amazing bosses and coworkers we all feed off each other’s positive vibes and always learning new ways to do our best it’s so much fun working there! These past 5 years as a nail tech has been so much fun and will continue to be! I still have so much to learn but have come a long way I love what I do.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not a smooth ride. Starting with my family who at first did not support my decision on going through cosmetology school and working at nail salons because they didn’t see a future/a steady income in it because like anything you have to start at the bottom and work yourself and your skills up to a level where you can actually get paid what you deserve.

2nd was a mean manager that I had to deal with at my 1st nail job who would degrade me and make me feel like my skills would never improve ultimately making me very insecure, so much so that I would only agree to do basic manicures and pedicures only because she said my acrylics and gels were so horrible I should never so nails again, haha. Now, I can laugh about it but at that time it was soul-crushing for sure.
My advice to anyone thinking about getting into the beauty industry whether its hair, makeup, nails, etc… don’t let anyone tell you what you are or are not capable of doing or succeeding you are the boss of you, and if you put yourself into a mindset that says I’m going to be the best then you will! And PRACTICE!!! You will mess up a few haircuts, have eyeshadows that aren’t blended perfectly, and have the messy polish of bubbly nails at 1st but its ok! It’s just a part of the process, do not let yourself become discouraged!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with your business – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I did go to cosmetology school which means I learned the basics of hair, skin, and nails but my passion. was always nails, so that’s what I specialized in. Along my journey, I’ve worked with a lot of different products and learned a lot of ways to do nails from acrylic to gels to nail art, etc… my favorite part of the nail process is shaping the nails that’s what I feel like is a make or break for me because if the shape is off the entire set is off. Most proud of being able to make someone’s day! I love the feeling at the end of the service when my client is super excited with the finished product!

I’d say, what sets me apart is my attention to detail which I’ve been told I have my clients who say I’m very thorough during the service.

I take a lot of pride in my work and it’s great that I can do something fun and creative for a living.

Who have you been inspired by?
My aunt Maribell who is the person who taught me how to do nails.

My female Latina bosses from previous salons, I think it’s awesome that we are getting out there changing up the stereotypical nail salon.

And my mom, of course, although at first, she was scared for me to jump into this she’s always had my back no matter what.

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