Thursday, 24 November 2011
Interview with Sam Biddle
A Global ambassador and Educator, Sam Biddle is well and truly standing strong at the helm of the Nail Art Industry. Not only has her incredible work graced 5 front covers, over here and the US, this beauty jet-setter has generously shared her ample skills with aspiring nail technicians the world over. This Summer also saw her vast talents showcased in a gallery setting via the much applauded Nailphilia exhibition. While finding out more about her successful career, our Stylebible Interviewer Sophie Eggleton wanted to ensure all our readers were up to date on the latest trends for talons....
You are based in Dorset, how does your location affect your work. Have you not been tempted to move to the big smoke?
Living in Dorset is fantastic, I love the peace of the country but it does mean a lot of hours on the train traveling. We live on the main rail line to London so it is just a 2 hour commute, and it gives me an opportunity to work. Would I move? It is funny you should say this, as my husband keeps bringing the subject up. Yes I would move to the big smoke but only to a Mews in Kensington.
You started in the industry in 2000. What was it about nails over any other area of beauty or artistic release?
The fact that they are so small, the detailed work and perfection required suited my inner OCD! I also liked the fact I could sit anywhere with a few items and be creative.
How long did you work as a mobile technician before it got to the point where you were in the position you could open the salon and academy?
I was mobile for about 1 year, and then rented space in two salons. It was 4 years after I qualified before I opened my own salon.
What have been the highs and lows about setting up a business, what tips would you give to others?
When you’re setting up a business you need 100% commitment and passion. You have to maintain a positive ‘can do’ attitude, because you will be faced with some major ups and downs. Be prepared, educate yourself regularly, and set up a good marketing campaign for your business over the coming 12 months and stick to it. You will live, eat and breathe your business, not to mention dream about it, but patience means you will reap the rewards you’re working towards. Another great tip to remember is that any failure is ultimately a success, let nothing hold you back because you cannot fail.
Would you say it is necessary to be a sociable person to do the work you do?
I think this is true; you need to enjoy people and be ready to listen. You become a therapist when you’re sat holding someone’s hands during a treatment. You hear all sorts and of course you build relationships with these clients.
Do you have any nerves when talking to large crowds when educating?
Yes! I always say yes whenever I am asked and ignore any anxieties about talking at a seminar, then the moments before, my stomach starts to churn. I generally have a moment about 5 mins in when my brain asks me in a load voice ‘what are you doing here’, once I pass this moment I can continue without a problem and rather enjoy it. However in a classroom I never have a problem.
Would you say you have always been a driven and ambitious person?
Yes I have always been driven, I have made sure I do well in anything I set out to do. I am motivated to do well and achieve the best possible results in a creative way.
Were you always artistic/creative. Do you have hobbies that use your artistic tendencies too?
I did art A levels at school and then opened my own pottery business, and always made my own Christmas gifts from homemade aromatherapy shampoos to truffles and sloe gin. I’m not sure how much my family enjoyed these gifts, but I loved making them.
Sometimes creative people finding business/maths a bit difficult. How do you cope with the business side of your career?
I do enjoy business, especially the marketing side and anything which involves copy writing. However, correct maths and accounting produces a faint film of sweat on my brow. This is the only time I procrastinate - when I have to deal with the figures. I now use a great program from Kash flow which helps keep my involvement in the book keeping to a minimum. I also love technology and use it to help my business.
Your work has taken you across the globe. Which destinations lap it up the most or have the biggest nail scene ( or furthest ahead in techniques)?
I would say the USA, they seem to be the first with all the new developments. A close second is Russia, their creativity and use of these new developments leads the way in the artistic market. There is an attention to detail which is admirable.
Through your company ‘Be Inspired’ you help other technicians develop their craft. Do you not worry that you will end up helping to create fierce rivals in the industry ?
I hope they do become rivals in the industry, as this will make sure I never become complacent. Always remember I was there first, I taught them and showed them another way to work outside the box. Regardless of who gets the recognition for the job, ultimately I win because it means I have done my job properly. My motto is to give everything I have in order to help others grow. This can only mean I am open to growth too.
In 2004,your world was rocked by news that you had Cancer. What affects did this have on the way you decided to live your life after your recovery?
I didn’t instantly give cancer the respect it was due and tried to carry on regardless, this meant my recovery was long and drawn out. It is a cliché to say this but if I am honest, it is one of the best things that has happened to me. Mindful of the delicacy of life I now don’t take things so seriously and can appreciate other people and their outlook on life. I remind myself daily of the things I am grateful for and actively look for opportunities to grow spiritually and mentally. Cancer was a wake-up call but by no means am I fully recovered. I still find it hard around others in the same situation as it is a reminder of the pain and emotional strength it took. This is something I am working on.
What are the best products on the market should one want to experiment with nail art at home?
This year nail art became the must-have accessory for women everywhere!
The fashion industry is obsessed with nail art and designers see nails as an integral part of their collections. It is now easy for women to adorn their nails with gems and create works of art on these miniature canvases. The trick is to keep it simple, using the sugar styler is a solution everyone who struggles to get their near perfect lines thin and crisp, it is also a great tool to tidy up around the nail beds and add textured effects to your design. It is very new onto the Market available from Originalsugar.com which offers plenty of other solutions for your nail art needs. Another must have for me is Orly’s matt finish top coat, I can’t tell you how much I love this, it produces some simply wonderful effects on the nails.
At the end of the summer you featured in the amazing Nailphilia exhibition. How does it feel to have your work displayed in a gallery setting?
I loved the whole concept of combining art and nails together, because within each of us there is an artist. I used to say the nails where my mini canvases and to have the industry and the wealth of talent within it, celebrated in this way, was a huge honor.
What would be the next step in cementing Nail Art as an art-form alongside paintings, sculpture etc?
The obvious answer to this would be to include nail art within the painting and sculptures. Right now the fashion industry are doing a great job of bringing nail art to the forefront using it on the catwalk. It is subjective, some people see the nail art for what it is (intricate miniature works of art), but others just see the nails and their limitations. I am saddened as they are missing the point, the nails are just small canvases, either through wearable nail art or the more extreme fantastical designs. A little bit of common sense should be applied when nails adorned with roses, leaves and fairies are displayed; this is obviously not to be worn shopping.
Your Rose design was extremely intricate, how long did they take to create? I’m guessing patience is key!
I have been making roses for a while now so it doesn’t take too long. I think collectively the whole set takes around 8 hours.
You’ve just done a shoot with Erin O’ Connor, can you tell me about the shoot day and what you created?
The shoot was for Because London magazine, and I had the honor of working alongside Kay Montano a fabulous makeup artist. We covered 4 looks with Erin based on some of her favorite spring/summer 2012 makeup looks. I created nails to enhance these looks, from a grungy sponge effect to the ring finger manicure. Erin was a true professional, and a great person to work with. I enjoy doing these type of shoots, with a creative element to it.
How does a design start. Do you get inspired by a photo, film, song.... Do you sketch or create mood boards?
I used to create mood boards all the time, but sometimes it is not possible; if I am creating something for a shoot or a magazine feature then mood boards are important, collating these references together so all parties are on the same page will help with the overall look, I think this is the closest to reading each other’s minds. Most of the time for me now, my designing comes from an inner inspiration. I just ask and an idea pops into my head. I trust these little messages and go with them, especially if I am put on the spot and need to come up with something quick - this method works very well. To start a design more often you need a ‘heading’, a subject, like The Circus for instance. Then you build up your references through images, which should inspire you some more. You then start work, and generally the flow of creativity happens and you can build on this.
Can you tell us what the big nail trends are for S/S?
There are all sorts of emerging nail trends and shapes, which I am delighted to see, but it is leaning back to the classic oval. For next year I think nail artistry will be taken to a new level. It’s all about design, from abstract, checked or striped. The strongest trends are the two tone effect nails, from the luna manicure originally created in the 50’s my a manicurist at MGM studios. In 2012 nails might have a contrasting colour wiped vertically or horizontally across them or introducing an additional twist of applying a matt finish and using the metallic metal effect films from the likes of Minx and Trendy Wraps across the free edge. Texture will become a big part of nail design, flowers and flicks are just not trendy enough. Having a texture or an effect on the nails which could enhance the illusion of length, and create a better shape, will be more desirable.
The water marbling effect harks back to a childhood art project, and isn’t for the faint hearted, perhaps suited more for a Sunday afternoon nail project and not last minute application. This effect produces the most interesting and hypnotic look which can be worn over the whole nail or just on the tips.
Who are your personal style icons?
I love Edie Sedgwick. I recently worked with Erin O’Connor and Caroline Issa and have a phenomenal sense of style.
Who is your favourite designer?
I love Isabel Marant and Vivienne Westwood.
What is on your ipod right now?
Foo fighters, Kasabian, Jessie J & Ed Sheeran.
What is your favourite city overall?
What is your best kept secret in your little black book?
Play the glad game and K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid)
What can’t you travel without?
T Bags, ipad and phone .
What is your favourite hotel?
What is your favourite restaurant?
Jamie Oliver’s Italian .
What has been your most extravagant purchase?
Probably my camera. Its extra special so I’m sure to get great photos when working.
What products can’t you live without?
My Sugar Styler and 508 brush from Ez Flow.
Where is next on your list of places to visit?
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Share and give freely to others and you will grow with them.
What is on your shopping list right now?
A new car
Do you social network?
For sure…. Face book, Twitter, Instagram the lot!
Aims for 2012... more TV perhaps?
TV! Ha, I think I have a face for radio. I love to write and create nail solutions and designs to support magazines. I recently did a couture shoot for Twill magazine and loved it. The nails where awesome, and I loved the freedom I had creating them, I would like some more projects like this.
© Sophie Eggleton. All rights reserved.