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Meet Mariko Iwata of MarikoNailArt in Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariko Iwata.

Mariko, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m freelance nail artist based in Downtown L.A., specializing in Japanese nail art.

I was born and raised in Japan — I first started working as a nail artist in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo. Gel nails with intricate designs are very popular in Tokyo. I worked hard to develop my skills to meet the high standards of my customers.

Now, I’m taking clients at my loft in Downtown L.A. I also do house calls for clients all over Los Angeles.

When my nails are beautiful, my day becomes a little bit happier. I think many women feel the same. I hope, I’m helping to make my clients’ days a little bit happier! I am so honored to be chosen by my clients as their personal nail artist!

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?
I’m so happy to finally pursue my passion for a living! After college, I worked at real estate company in Tokyo. I always knew that I wanted to be a nail artist, but I felt pressured to pursue a traditional career in Japan.

Working long hours at the office made me realize how important it is to have a career I truly love. For me, that means expressing creativity and working hard to make other people happy. I’m so grateful to be in Los Angeles meeting so many interesting people and living my life without regret.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the MarikoNailArt story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m a freelance nail artist specializing in natural gel nail art. I love to create unique artistic designs based on anything that inspires my clients (or my recommendation!). I also create simple, elegant designs for understated beauty. I am obsessed with attention to the smallest detail and use only the highest quality gel and tools from Japan.

Clients come to my bright, comfy loft in Downtown L.A. and I also do house calls throughout L.A. County.


  • Gel, 1 color: $50
  • Art: $3 ~ each
  • Extensions: $4 ~ each
  • Chrome nails: +$15
  • The average range for custom gel nail art: ~$90 to $130

Contact Info:

  • Address: 600 S Spring Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014
    (please email me for appointments!)
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @marikonailart

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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