I took a trip to one of the biggest International nail competitions in the world – the Nailympics 2010 at Olympia Beauty.
Some of the world’s top manicurists with years of training come here to compete against each other for the number 1 spot.
I managed to catch up with International Nail Guru ‘Sam Biddle’ and also snapped some pictures of UK entrant Vikki Taylor Dodds ‘fantasy’ nails.
So, Sam, how did you get into nails and how long have you been in the industry?
I started in the industry in 1999 some 11 years ago now, and it was quite by accident. I loved doing my own nail art, and used to buy the spangles kits from QVC. I ran out of friends and family with long nails, so I thought I would learn how to create talons to paint. I called up united beauty and they booked me on their beginner’s class. I stuck with united beauty for 2 years before moving over to EzFlow. I used to come to the shows and spend hours at the EzFlow stand.
I have been truly wowed by your designs, especially the stiletto nails. Would you say this is your signature design?
I enjoy doing and especially wearing stiletto nails, but I wouldn’t say they are my signature nails. I think my signature nail is the liquorice allsorts… I was inspired to create them by Antony on my Masters and have become known for them.
(FYI – Antony Buckley is a World Champion in nail art and also teaches nail design classes)
How long does it take you to complete a set of nails?
For clients, between 1.5 - 2 hours, if I am working on some ace design nails then 3 hours.
You must be a great artist. Do you think you can be taught this type of design work whether you’re creative or not?
I do think you can teach design nails, you can re-create pretty much any design as long as your shown the application technique, but what most people find difficult is coming up with something new, or be inspired by things around them. I wouldn’t say I am a great artist, just that I am able translate my inspiration onto a nail, and more importantly have the ability to help others do the same.
I have never seen anything like your designs. Where does your inspiration come from?
Oh my goodness, everywhere and anywhere, from packaging, advertisements, clothing and shoes. Generally I think of a theme ‘ tropical or valentines’ and then I research every think that is synonymous with it. I collect images and fabrics and come up with a design. Other times I just want to try a new technique and just play until all of a sudden I have a nail. To be completely honest most of time I have no clue what the nail will end up looking like.
What brands do you use to do your design work? And which are the best brands to use for aspiring nailista’s?
I love using EzFlow for my acrylic design work, and some of the glitter powders from NF. For gel I enjoy IBD and the colour range it has, but the range from Astonishing is great, especially the cover pinks. I also use the 3D gels from LCN, to be honest I am a bit of a collector…I have the most gorgeous green from CND, and a beautiful yellow from IBD, EzFlow has Cocktail time….you can see where this is going.
Out of all your creations, which are you most proud of?
Oh my goodness that is a hard one, I absolutely love my poppy nails, which are relatively recent, but I am not sure they are my proudest nails, I think this is a hard questions, because I fall in love with whatever I am working on at the moment…it’s like asking me to choose a favourite child. Every set has a little ‘back story’ it’s hard to decide. Right now I’m loving creating images.
So, when can you do my nails? Haha. Do you even do ‘regular’ nails anymore?
I do still do clients, I have girls come from all over the country, generally for special occasions, weddings or holidays, someone travelled 3 hours to have me do their nails, now that is a hard core tech. I have a small selection of clients I still do, they have stayed with me from the early days and actually won’t let me go. I do them every other week on a Wednesday. They now come to my house, although they used to enjoy the benefits of a salon, they have become friends now.
Thank you so much Sam, it was great catching up with you. I still can’t believe some mad fan stole your design board with all your bespoke designs.