Even though we’re still managing life during a pandemic, it does feel like we’re rounding a corner somewhere. Restaurants, group fitness, and personal care services have finally reopened after long closures and life is starting to actually feel “normal.” One thing about those (multiple) lockdowns was the fact that so many folks took the time to switch gears and find new passions, like baking, cooking, decorating, and so much more. One Toronto gal who pivoted during the pandemic is content creator Rebecca Ramsdale.
If you’re at all in the know in the Toronto street style/content creator scene, then you’ve very likely come across Rebecca’s IG before. Her unique style, fearless vibe, and all-around cool girl energy are palpable even through just scrolling her feed. If you follow Rebecca, then you’ve probably noticed her love for nail art and design. She would take inspiration from high fashion runway shows and would even go the extra mile to plan out her nail art, nail by nail, in Photoshop. However, during COVID, when nail studios were closed, Rebecca took that time to teach herself the ins and outs of the nail game, as well as launch a press-on nail business and eventually open her own nail studio, Rebecca Paints Nails.
Rebecca’s manicures and nail art have been shared by the likes of Hype Bae Beauty, Refinery29 UK, in print in S Magazine, and more. I had a chance to meet with Rebecca, and get a kickass mani of my own, and yes, the hype is very real. I’m no stranger to gel manicures and while some lift after a few weeks, this one stayed strong and near perfect for 4 whole weeks.
My flaming hot mani done by Rebecca!
Keep reading to take a peek inside her studio and find out what the journey of launching Rebecca Paints Nails has been like!
Blair Stutz: Huge congrats on opening your very own nail studio!! How did Rebecca Paints Nails come to be?
Rebecca Ramsdale: Thank you so much! Rebecca Paints Nails truly came from my love of nail art. I used to spend 8 to 10 hours designing these wild nail art sets inspired by runway shows that I would take into a salon to get painted. Doing that brought me so much joy that when everything closed down because of Covid-19, I figured I would have a go at painting my own designs. I quickly learned that painting nails was something I was so passionate about and wanted to continue to do, so I started creating hand-painted press-on nails.
I knew that especially during Covid-19, there were so many other nail art lovers like myself who were missing getting their nails done, and this could be an amazing way to reach people all over the world. I continued to just offer press on nails for months until the lockdown for personal care services lifted in Toronto, and I could welcome some of my wonderful local clients into my studio.
BS: What types of services do you offer?
RR: I offer a variety of soft gel manicure services (think shellac), and specialize in nail art. I like to work with each client to determine their needs, and decide whether a classic gel manicure, a BIAB or Builder in a Bottle manicure (best suited for clients looking to grow their natural nails, or for those with weaker nails), or a Gel X manicure (full cover nail extensions in a variety of lengths and shapes) will work best for that client to achieve their nail goals.
BS: How did you learn the ins and outs of not only nail art but also nail care and prep?
RR: I learned everything I know by seeking out videos and information online. There is an abundance of knowledge available for those who are eager to learn, from YouTube videos to other nail artists offering workshops, you are able to find answers to almost everything you have questions about. I also consider myself very lucky that Riko (@riko_nail_art), the artist that used to do my nails, is more than happy to answer any questions I may have.
BS: What advice would you give to someone who might want to open their own independent nail studio?
RR: If someone were to be interested in opening their own nail studio, I’d say if possible, start by doing it part-time. If you are able to keep your other job and do nails on the side to start, this will take a lot of stress off your plate. It takes a lot of time and work to build up your clientele, so knowing you still have an income that will pay your bills if you don’t have a lot of people booking in off the start is big. This will also allow you to use the extra money coming in from doing nails to build up your nail kit. Nail supplies can be quite expensive, so it can be better to purchase them all gradually. Also, practice! Any downtime you have, practice on yourself, on your family, on tips, just work on new techniques and share them on your social media so everyone can see what you can offer!
BS: Do you have a favourite type of nail art that you love doing on clients?
RR: I don’t have a specific favourite type of nail art, but I love when clients are wanting to think outside of the traditional nail art box. I love using lots of colour and glitter and adding 3D elements so each client feels as though they’re leaving with unique little pieces of art on their nails.
BS: What are your tips for someone wanting to grow out their natural nails enough for fierce nail art?
RR: Nail art is for all nails, no matter the length or shape! I absolutely love painting art on short nails, I think it looks amazing, and too many people feel that their nails are too short for art which is totally not true. However, if growing out your nails is your goal, I’d recommend a BIAB mani. BIAB or Builder in a Bottle adds strength and structure to the nails and is extremely chip and break-resistant. It’s basically like a little superpower for your nails. We can use it as a base for nail art, but also is available in a variety of soft colours and looks great on its own!
(Story by Contributing Editor, Blair Stutz)