BY Amy Macgregor     PHOTO BY Scott Stacer

How did you get into the professional nail business?
I got into the nail industry professionally after I lost the tip of a finger in an accident. The top quarter inch of my middle finger was gone, and the nail started growing in crooked. I started buying kits from the store to try and make it look straight, and eventually, I got really good at it. So good, in fact, that my friends started asking me to do their nails. One day I was doing my nails at home and my boyfriend comes in and says, "You're doing your nails with one of those kits again? With all the money you waste on those, we could just send you to nail school." Ding! A light went on! That was almost 13 years ago.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I've been an artist ever since I was a kid. I'm kind of a contradiction in a way, I look all soft and pretty and I have a huge tattoo, and I love to listen to really heavy music. I also belly dance with a local troop in Walla Walla, Washington. I've been performing with them at local events for about 8 years now.

That inspires you to come up with different designs of nail art?
I'm inspired by absolutely everything. I have a really good friend who's a great tattoo artist, so I take techniques used in tattoo art and use those in my designs. I also am inspired by clothing textures, and even carpet in hotel rooms - literally everything.

Could you imagine yourself in any other industry?
I absolutely love the nail industry. I wanted to be an art teacher when I was younger but couldn't afford the schooling for that, so I became a nurse's aide instead. But I didn't get to feed my creativity, so I became a nail technician and started getting some of that back. I still got to deal with people on a different level.

How has Gelish changed the landscape of the professional nail industry?
Gelish has completely revolutionized the nail industry. Danny creating Gelish made it possible for nail technicians to bring those women back into the salon to increase their income. The ability to use LED technology to cure the product alone shaved at least a good 10 to 15 minutes off of curing times. Allowing technicians to get more people in during the day creates more revenue for their business.

How does the team of Harmony educators push themselves to be the very best?
The team of Harmony educators really push themselves to be the best. We feed off each other's creativity - it's a great energy.

How do you find your job fulfilling?
As far as feeling fulfilled as an educator, it's that ability to share my passion and knowledge with someone else and see them recreate what I was teaching them. I love to see others be so excited about the new technique or nail art design they learned and know that it's going to make them a better technician in the salon for it.

Why is it so important to you to continue your nail education?
If you don't continue to learn new techniques and keep up with product innovations then you'll go stale and stagnant. I aspire to inspire others to find their passions and run with them.

My name is Sandy Borges Combs, and I am the West Coast Regional Manager of Education for Hand & Nail Harmony.