When I talk to nail techs and students about competing I hear the same things time and time again. 'I'm just not good enough to compete' or 'I'm just not ready yet' come the replies. I tell them the same thing I'm about to tell you - no one will ever feel 100% ready. I certainly didn't feel 100% ready when I entered my first competition or any of the others after!
Waiting until you feel ready will mean you miss out on everything competitions have to offer. Industry competitions like the Scratch Stars Awards offer valuable experience and feedback that are key to improving your skills.
There's nothing wrong with not feeling 100% ready, knowing what you need to improve will stop you from becoming complacent and will give you the drive to reach your goals. If you're not confident in your filing or form fitting then you know to work on that particular area, becoming complacent will stop you from recognising those areas that need focus.
Everyone, every single person in this industry, whether they are a salon tech, an influencer, nail artist or competition judge has an area that needs improvement. No one is perfect because perfection is impossible to achieve.
This lack of a need for perfectionism is what drew me to the Scratch Stars Awards first as a competitor and now as a judge and sponsor of the L&P Category. It isn't about being perfect, instead it's about awarding the nail technicians who perform to an expert standard daily. A competition that looks at great nails, great customer care and someone with industry awareness.
If your customers are going away happy after receiving amazing service and experience, then that is what makes you a Scratch Star. This is why the atmosphere over the course of the competition day and judging process is relaxed, to reflect the everyday environment technicians work in.
You might not feel ready, but that's because no one does and as cliche as it sounds, if you don't give it a go then you'll never know. Just completing the entry form will show you how much you've learnt in the last year and it always makes me feel great to see it written down like that.
In fact, something that might make the application seem a little less scary is to start next years application now and update it as your progress and learn new things. Think of it as a guide to what you want to achieve going forward as a nail technician.
If you are going to enter (and you should) the first rule I will give you is this, focus on yourself. There is nothing to be gained looking at social media and comparing yourself to others, or worrying about who you're competing against. We all have strengths and weaknesses and that isn't always apparent when looking at other peoples work, we all share our best work, but rarely do we let others to see our failures.
Competitions don't have to be about the best looking sets, you may be able to create great nails, but you also have to have personality to be a nail tech. You have to demonstrate excellent client care and show that you have the knowledge to provide a quality and safe service. Someone might score highly on technique but poorly on customer service, you need to be able to do all this, and much more on competition day without cracking under the pressure. The mix of criteria as well as the fact that not everyone can perform under the pressure means it really can be anyone's trophy on the day, so why not go for it? Get the tools for the perfect competition nails here.
(Scratch Stars Awards 2018)
Even when the results are announced focus on yourself, it doesn't matter where you placed. What is important is what you learnt from this experience. Whether you're on the shortlist or not you should take pride in the fact that you entered and use the feedback to learn from the mistakes made. You now know what to do differently next time, where to focus your training and what changes you need to make. You can also see where you are doing well, or even discover a talent you didn't know you had.
The best thing that can happen to anyone at any competition is that they have their eyes opened to improvements they may have not have been aware of, for them to take that feedback, make changes and come back not only as a better nail technician, but also with a more successful salon, as the more you grow as a technician the more your salon benefits from your skills.
If you want even more reasons to enter then you can check out my blog over at Scratch - 6 Reasons Why Nail Competitions Can Help Your Salon Work.
What better way to motivate ourselves to improve our businesses and as individuals than entering a competition? It gives you measurable goals and the advice on how to reach them, every time you enter you're showing yourself the progress you've made. So why not give one a try? You might end up surprising yourself.
I've coached hundreds of techs enter, place and win nail competitions. If you'd like to learn more or sign up to our competition mentoring and coaching, click here.
Love Katie B x